I’m still pretty surprised how much “A Quiet Place” blew up.
It was an excellent film, don’t get me wrong, but I’m amazed that a film marketed on storytelling through sound took off in the mainstream. John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place was a stunningly thrilling horror film, with vicious monsters and impressive performances. So when I first heard a sequel was being made, I was honestly cautious. I’ve been burned many times by terrible sequels to horror films I love, and I was happy with the first one, so I didn’t feel like I needed a sequel. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by A Quiet Place 2, as it’s a thrilling follow-up to the first, building on the characters and the world in a way that makes me excited for more.
A Quiet Place 2 brings us back to the Abbott Family, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), her baby, and her kids, Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds), as they try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by monsters that react to sound. They run into an old family friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who’s been horribly isolated and traumatized since the monsters took over, and Regan becomes inspired to see if others may have survived as well.
John Krasinski, who has a small part in this movie in a flashback, continues to direct the film with tremendous confidence. He’s a visually stunning director who knows how to imbue the simplest of scenes with nail-biting tension. His focus on sound design makes every moment hit hard; the brushing of leaves or the snapping of twigs feels like flying bullets with how they made me jump at times. A Quiet Place 2 actually sees Krasinski exercise greater ambition as he begins to focus more on action and world-building.
I suspect that Krasinski is now taking inspiration from James Cameron, who also made action sequels to horror (or horror Esq) films like Alien and Terminator. Krasinski does a great job in some areas, introducing new ideas to make this world feel more real and lived in. However, other new elements aren’t as explored or introduced as they needed to be, coming off half-baked and only here to move the plot along or force an action scene. He gets it right more times than he doesn’t, and he truly shines when it comes to his character work.
Cillian Murphy is an excellent addition to the cast as he adds an element of absolute desperation and fear. He’s a broken man, who lost himself just as much as the rest of his life, and is the character who experiences the most explicit change in the film. He sells it every time he’s on-screen, as you’re never really sure how much farther he can go before he suddenly snaps. Millicent Simmonds also continues to deliver a strong performance, communicating subtle and, at times, horrifying emotional turmoil physically with her sign language. Emily Blunt and Noah Jupe also give excellent performances, especially in the beginning that are damn-near heartbreaking, but they feel significantly sidelined in the film. It results in the film feeling imbalanced at times, as they feel almost incidental to the plot itself. It’s a symptom of being new to world-building and struggling to balance all the characters. Still, I liked the characters enough that this didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the film.
While the first Quiet Place film worked as a stand-alone film, A Quiet Place 2 feels more like the middle part of a trilogy. The world is bigger, the characters are growing, and while some plot points are fully executed, others feel like seeds that will bloom in the next film. Despite the film’s faults, it’s excited to see how much farther John Krasinski builds this world, and I’m happy to be along for the ride.
A Quiet Place 2 will be released in theaters on May 28th.