Director: John Krasinski
Date: May 28, 2021
PG-13 | 1 hour 37 minutes
John Kransinski’s 2018 original horror “A Quiet Place” took the box office by storm, grossing over $300 million worldwide on a modest budget. The movie resonated with audiences as a unique twist on the creature feature. An inevitable sequel was greenlit with Kransinski returning to direct — hoping to create another sensory horror classic.
“A Quiet Place Part II” isn’t able to meet the lofty expectations of its superb predecessor, but serves as a satisfying sequel built for the theater experience.
Picking up immediately after the tragic events of the first movie, the rest of the Abbott family — Evelyn (Kransinski’s wife Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and their newborn baby — are forced to leave their home and venture into the unknown. By using high intensity frequencies, the Abbotts have figured out a way to make creatures that hunt by sound vulnerable.
They encounter the late Lee Abbott’s (John Krasinski) friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy) — who has turned into a curmudgeon and is reluctant to help the Abbotts. The rest of the sequel is in-line with the original and showcases the battles between these characters and the creatures.
After starting the first movie in the middle of this apocalypse, Krasinski (“The Office,” “Away We Go”) opens the sequel with a devastating prologue of the first day. The carefree townspeople make noise and it seems the creatures can start attacking at any moment. In a franchise full of terror, Krasinski builds the world by giving the viewer a moment of peace before the horrifying storm arrives.
However, Krasinski is a patient director. With a deliberately slow pace, he maximizes the tension and dread by subverting the audience’s expectations. The opening sequence is one of the many brilliant action set pieces in this movie.
There are three to four set pieces which are on par with — if not better than — the incredible home invasion in the prequel’s finale. In a stressful scene, Regan explores a deserted train filled with decomposed bodies and skeletons. Krasinski chooses to direct this scene from Regan’s point of view and includes no sound. There’s no clear shot of the creature as it creeps up on her, never ruining the element of surprise.
The climax is equally thrilling as it effortlessly cuts between two different settings at a rapid pace. There are moments that are sure to have viewers on the edge of their seats and show how much Krasinski has grown as a director.
Ironically, it’s the quieter moments outside these sequences that prevent the movie from reaching its true potential. After the prologue, the movie moves at a languid pace — leaning far too deep into the emotional drama. It’s derivative of the original and sucks the energy out of the film.
As director and writer, Krasinski doesn’t expand this dismal world nearly enough. He includes a few new characters and settings, but it isn’t enough to keep the audience engaged during the slow parts of the movie. A wiser decision would’ve been to expand on the origins or purpose of these creatures.
Murphy (“Inception,” “Dunkirk”) and Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond,” “Furious 7”) are nice additions even if the talented Hounsou only has two scenes — one of which is a rough exposition dump. Murphy acts well, especially in the emotional scenes with Simmonds.
The prequel ended with Evelyn reloading her shotgun and, presumably, setting her up as the protagonist of the sequel. Sadly, Blunt’s (“Edge of Tomorrow,” “The Devil Wears Prada”) character takes a backseat for a majority of the movie. She’s great in the action sequences, but the script doesn’t give her a chance to take control of the franchise.
Simmonds (“Wonderstruck,” “A Quiet Place”) delivers the best performance in a complicated role. From start to finish, she’s the emotional core of the movie and holds it together when the movie starts to stray away from the action.
Just like the first movie, this is a film that will make the viewer fear as they chew their popcorn or slurp their ICEE. Krasinski made a wise decision shelving the movie until theaters were ready to open. This film needs to be watched in a dark, silent environment for maximum effectiveness — something that isn’t attainable on a computer screen.
Even though it doesn’t work completely, this sequel is a solid — if sluggish — follow-up to its stellar prequel.
“A Quiet Place Part II,” rated PG-13, is now playing in theaters.