A Quiet Place Part II Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Paramount Pictures UK
Written and directed by John Krasinski
2020, 97 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Released on 3rd June 2021
Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott
John Krasinski as Lee Abbott
Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott
Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott
John Krasinski’s Reaction Face and everybody doing stupid things, all of the time. While friends and colleagues raved about the brilliance of the one-time Office star’s big screen debut, I was left feeling cold. I enjoyed 2018’s A Quiet Place for its tense action sequences, cool hook and Emily Blunt, but it never quite clicked for me the way it did for others. I just couldn’t overlook John Krasinski’s Reaction Face (the reason I never could enjoy The Office either) and everybody doing stupid things, all of the time.
And now Krasinski’s creature feature returns for a second outing, picking up where we left off. Bearded dad Lee (Krasinski) is dead in an act of noble self-sacrifice. Evelyn (Blunt) just had a baby and stepped on a nail, and daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) has learned the key to bringing down the alien plague. With their home in tatters, what remains of the Abbott family ventures out into the wider world. While Evelyn and eldest son Marcus (Noah Jupe) just want to hole up somewhere safe, Regan is determined to bring the fight to the monsters – finding a radio signal to amplify her bug busting ultrasonic frequency.
Along for the ride is another bearded sad dad, Emmett (Cillian Murphy) – who first rescues the family from a bug attack, then accompanies Regan on her mission. In chasing The Last of Us vibes, the film forces Evelyn to stay at home again while a new guy gets to do all the heroic stuff. It’s a shame – the world really could use more post-apocalyptic mom and daughter road movies – but it’s also unfair to criticise a movie for what it isn’t rather than what it is.
What A Quiet Place Part II is, as the ‘Part II’ might suggest, is more of the same. It’s bigger and more bombastic, with more monster attacks and bigger set pieces, but doesn’t really tell us anything new. The wider the scope goes, the less plausible this world feels. A world in which no government or military organisation ever seemed to check whether weaponised sounds might be the key to defeating a species of blind sound-monsters. A world in which everyone walks around wielding great big rifles and shotguns, without a silencer in sight. A world in which Cillian Murphy casually negates the whole barefoot thing by stomping around in a pair of hiking boots the whole time.
Still, many of these plot holes were present – to an extent – in the film’s predecessor, and this sequel sidesteps them in the same way – a talented cast, intensely reacting to horrible situations. Mister Reaction Face himself might be dead (save for the pointless but exciting ‘Day One’ flashback sequence which opens the film), but Krasinski still has a stellar cast in Blunt, Murphy, Simmonds and Djimon Hounsou. In a world in which people don’t really speak to each other, characterisation is sparse (Hounsou is literally credited as ‘Man on Island’) but the set pieces are big and effective. With the action unfolding simultaneously on every front, Krasinski juggles them well, and the film is every bit as tense as the first (even if there’s nothing to match the nail-on-the-staircase gag).
While Krasinski has no problem knocking these sequences out of the park, he does struggle to set them up organically. Instead, characters stumble into peril through their own idiot decisions – walking into obvious traps, locking themselves in furnaces, bumbling into bear traps – with all the subtlety of a Final Destination movie. This sequel has much less of John Krasinski and his big, mugging reaction face, but the plot still relies on his children doing stupid things to move the plot forward.
Fans of A Quiet Place should do just fine with this sequel. It gives young Regan plenty to do, while bringing the ever-brilliant Cillian Murphy into the post-apocalyptic fold. Its set pieces are slickly effective, showcasing the impressive creature designs without showing off too much. There’s still heart there too, even if the film lacks the strong themes of the original; a film about grief and grieving; about a father and his daughter, and that line at the end.
A Quiet Place Part II is more of the same, but also less.
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