‘A Quiet Place Part II’ was among the very first movies to delay its opening due to the COVID pandemic.
Has it been worth the wait you ask? Yes. ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is the best cinema experience of 2021, thus far. It is an odd feeling, being terrified from the events unfolding onscreen, yet laughing uncontrollably as you watch your friends beside you jump from their seats in terror, popcorn flying into the air above. This is a unique cinema experience where moviegoers’ emotions stretch from one extreme to the next.
The audience will sit in complete silence for many long, tense passages of the film. Then, within a blink of an eye, yelps of horror ricochet around the auditorium of the cinema. As theatres start to fill up around the world, ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is the perfect way for movie lovers to fall back in love with the big screen experience.
This film is the sequel to 2018 smash horror thriller, ‘A Quiet Place’. The original follows young parents Lee (John Krasinskis) and Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) trying to raise two children and a newborn baby in a post-apocalyptic hell. The premise is that hostile alien beasts have invaded planet Earth and they now sit firmly at the top of the food chain.
They hunt humans using their supersensitive hearing. Humans can only survive certain death by being silent, with the slightest noise alerting these hideous blind beasts, followed by certain slaughter. In the finale, the Abbott family emerges victorious from its skirmishes with the alien beasts, having found an unusual weapon to defeat them.
The sequel dials back the timeline at the start, giving people an origin story to explain where the otherworldly creatures came from. Then, it picks up directly from the end of the first film. The family now steps out into the wilderness in search of allies, looking unleash their weapon on the world. The parents originally took the fight to the aliens, but now the onus falls upon the children. The siblings’ paths since ‘A Quiet Place’ have diverged, with teen boy Marcus (Noah Jupe) clearly traumatised by previous events and struggling without a father figure. This is in sharp contrast to hearing-impaired daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), who has become tough, courageous and determined to spread the word that the aliens can be defeated.
The sequel also focusses more on how communities are coping with life after the invasion. Upon the family’s travels, they discover an old friend, Emmett (Cillian Murphy). He wants nothing to do with the Abbott family now, stating previous connections existed only in a past life.
This is a world where hope is fading; solitude and self-preservation are all that survivors are concerned about. Emmett is suspicious of all humankind now, stating the world is now a cruel place and that, “The people that are left… they’re not worth saving.” This is not a view shared by Regan, who secretly leaves the family, impulsively setting off alone to try to find these survivors and save humanity.
Writer-director John Krasinskis has not only delivered a solid sequel, but has also laid the groundwork for a whole franchise of future films, spin-off movies and prequels. He has also firmly established himself as a prodigious writer and skilled filmmaker. The film once again has a steady pace, slowly building tension throughout.
The key component he uses here is sound, deftly switching between chaotic explosions and eerie silence. The acting, again, is on point from all the returning characters. The star of the show is Millicent Simmonds, though – an actress who is deaf in real life. She is a commanding presence on screen and without words, displays raw emotion through her physical acting. The casting of Cillian Murphy proved a masterstroke as he is the last person you want to see during the Apocalypse (’28 Days later’).
Despite a few gripes, I cannot help but give this film the ultimate thumbs-up. It was like getting a slice of the best chocolate cake ever and being told that you’ll get another slice in two years. Give me more… now! More importantly, though, this a cinema experience that will restore one’s faith in the power of the big screen in an era where streaming film through your TV or laptop has become the dominant media source.
A must-see, if ever there was one.