A Quiet place 2 – While it never quite recaptures what made the first film work so frighteningly well, A Quiet Place part two nevertheless succeeds in delivering plenty of thrills and chills. Keeping the viewer invested thanks to its focus on character and the moving performances from its returning cast and solid new edition, Killian Murphy. Director John Krasinski plays in a bigger sandbox this time around, enlarging this ravaged world even as he definitely treads the expectations and formula established by so many other post-apocalyptic movies and shows.
The mission of survival, the Abbotts are on here, sees them cross paths with another survivor, Emmett, and whether this man can really be trusted is the source of much of this film’s suspense. Killian Murphy is utterly compelling as Emmett. His scenes with Millicent Simmons Reagan being among the most gripping in the film.
Emmett could have used a bit more development but Murphy nevertheless imbues this deeply damaged man with pathos, intensity, and mystery. Simmons once again delivers an engrossing performance as we see Reagan struggling to fill the void left by her father’s death. She’s the main protagonist here rather than Emily Blunt’s Evelyn who has two particularly standout scenes.
One with Murphy and the other with Noah Duke’s Marcus that showcase what a powerful and understated actress she can be but this is definitely Simmons film and she carries it well. The spine of this movie is similar to the first films, Run, Hide, and Stay Quiet if you know it’s good for you but part two employs a multi-story line approach that occasionally tries one’s patience. While the respective emotional journeys of Reagan and Marcus allow the film to conclude on the notes for those characters, the ending itself still feels abrupt and doesn’t allow for the full catharsis some may have been hoping for given all the stories cross cutting.
To elaborate further would be to risk spoilers which we won’t do. The sequel also reveals the world before the invading creatures wiped out most of humanity. Flashbacks that features some of the movie’s biggest action and visual effect moments that call to mine 2,000 five’s war of the worlds. As skilled as Krasinski is at crafting these suspense set pieces and spillbergian moments of awe and terror, it’s in understanding of characters and performance that make both the original film and the sequel emotionally authentic and relatable.
These characters feel real and thus so too does the other worldly peril they face. By opening up the story to a larger world, a Quiet Place part two delves into the myriad dangerous scenarios of post-apocalyptic life that anyone who has ever seen any film or show set in such an environment will recognize as all too familiar. The movie definitely navigates this well-trod without letting the inherent tropes undermine it. There are only so many ways to zig when the audience expects you to zag in the post-apocalypse sub genre but a Quiet Place part two largely maintains its footing despite occasionally dipping into Been There, done that territory.
On a technical level, a Quiet Place part two is as much a testament to sound design as the original film. The strategic use of noise and silence is just as remarkably employed here as we follow the hearing impaired Reagan through completely silent moments or where Evelyn strategically utilizes noise to misdirect a lurking monster.
Well, it definitely has its share of jump scares, the film is more interested in ratcheting of tension and unease in service of action set pieces rather than for outright horror. A Quiet Place part two then is to the more action-packed aliens what the film is to the more claustrophobic and horrifying alien. In that sense, some may not find part two as scary as its predecessor but still thoroughly enjoyable. While a Quiet Place part two can’t quite top its predecessor and never quite nails the multi-narative cross cutting it employs it’s still a highly exciting and well-acted follow up.
Director John Krasinski and Company brought in the world of a quiet place with a larger cast, bigger action set pieces, and more monster scenes but thankfully, as big as the sequel goes, the film never loses sight of the emotional intimacy between the characters that made the first movie work so well. There are people out there worth saving.