Of Sustained Muffled Terrors

A Review of “A Quiet Place Part II”

We didn’t really ask for a sequel. Apparently, neither did John Krasinski, who was content with his 2018 directorial debut being a one-off. Well, obviously, studio wishes prevailed and Krasinski’s sentiments soon pulled a 180. Despite his initial reluctance and original co-writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck abandoning ship, he whipped up a draft in less than a month. Soon, he was back on board as director as well. And despite being one of the first mainstream releases delayed by the onset of the pandemic, it’s finally set to deliver more scares.

Part II begins with a flashback, with the Abbott family still complete and Krasinski briefly reprising his role as patriarch. We see what life in their suburb was like before shutting up spelled the difference between life and death. Enter those audio-sensitive monstrosities and carnage instantly ensues. What follows is a high-octane opening sequence that both sets the pace of this installment and substantiates the atmosphere of dread. After an abrupt cut-away showing the Abbotts on present day, we’re off. And it only gets more riveting.

“Part II” implies “direct continuation” and, lo and behold, it actually works. (Emily Blunt) now leads the pack, and with a newborn baby now in tow, survival has become trickier and danger, more imminent. The family resolves to vacate their old home and search for more survivors. To viewers, this means new characters. Along the way, they reunite with their crusty old friend, Emmett, played with gruff force by Cillian Murphy. After losing his family in the invasion, he first dismisses the Abbotts until he reluctantly becoming their new source of fatherly protection. Unfortunately, not all co-survivors are destined to be allies. Adding chaos later on is a mysterious group of savages led by a creepy Scoot McNairy, which builds up to a hair-raising marina scuffle. This culminates to a more benevolent encounter with a colony of isolated refugees led by an underutilized Djimon Honsou.

But through it all, it’s the Abbott kids who prove to be the most improved players. It’s gratifying to see character development in deaf-mute Regan (Millicent Simmonds) who’s noticeably less obnoxious here and Marcus (Noah Jupe) who cultivates his more protective side. He sustains the worst injury in this movie, though. Take that, Protruding Nail from Part I. The film culminates with both tykes having their heroic moments. It’s a rewarding evolution, which makes both installments feel like one cohesive saga. After all, shouldn’t that be the rationale behind the “Part 1-Part 2” titling scheme? Sure, the hasty ending feels like a blatant set up for a Part 3, but we’re not complaining just yet. At this point, we’re still in for the ride.

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