As cinemas begin to reopen their doors all around the world, writer and director John Krasinski is back to welcome viewers with open arms with the follow-up to his wildly successful 2018 apocalyptic horror flick, A Quiet Place.
Part II picks up right where its predecessor left off. Still reeling from her husband’s death, Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) must fight to ensure the life of her family on her own. Leaving the once-peaceful sanctuary of their isolated farmhouse, Evelyn, Regan (Millicent Simmons), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and the newborn baby, journey through upstate New York in search of a new shelter and remaining survivors. The family arrive at an abandoned steelyard, only to run into more of the alien creatures, who are alerted of their presence after Marcus is severely injured. There, they stumble upon Emmett (Cillian Murphy) — Lee’s (Krasinski) friend from before the apocalypse began, now a wary survivor still bleeding from his own losses — and beg for his help.
But Regan, fiercely loyal to her father’s memory and his efforts, decides to embark out on her own. Having decoded a radio signal from the steelyard, she figures out that there is an island just offshore of the mainland that is potentially housing other survivors. Armed with the knowledge of how to fight back against the aliens, she takes it upon herself to deliver the information and transmit the noise emitted from her cochlear implant over the radio waves and give humanity a chance at life.
Upon learning of her daughter’s absence, Evelyn pleads with Emmett to bring her back, while she ventures out to get more medicine and supplies for her remaining children. But the world has changed rapidly – and so has everyone left alive; “There’s no one left worth saving” says Emmett. Surviving in a world where you are hunted, where the single, smallest noise can condemn you, such a truth is more dangerous than any sliver of hope.
With the release of A Quiet Place Part II, Krasinski once again proves himself to be knowledgeable of the horror genre and a master of suspense. His story is simple: make a sound and you die… yet it does not need to be more complex than that. The film is both a visual and an auditory experience, relying on the slightest of disturbances to fill audiences with that highly coveted anticipatory dread.
The film’s opening sequence does answer some questions regarding the aliens’ origins but does so vaguely, leaving another door open for further exploration and world-building. The sequel sees these beloved characters – amazingly, none of them personify the usual apocalyptic stereotypes – taking separate paths and bidding adieu to the stagnancy of remaining in one location like in the first film. Forced to face their fears, further loss, desperation and terror, each in turn discovers their own strengths, a trajectory that is much needed for any franchise to be successful.
The casting does include a few newcomers and they fit into this silent world seamlessly. Cillian Murphy is dark, intense and brooding in his acting style, and his character’s obvious restraint and surrender is a complimentary foil to Blunt’s Evelyn, who is more determined than ever to fashion a safe haven for her children. Whereas A Quiet Place mainly showcased Lee and Evelyn’s relationship, Part II allows for their kids to step into the spotlight and stand on their own two feet. Simmons and Jupe have a beautiful and believable sibling bond, and it’s clear they were rightly picked for their roles.
The incorporation of American Sign Language (ASL) as the main mode of communication is well utilised as it was before, and Krasinski’s dedication to achieving authenticity and representation (Simmons being a deaf actress in real life and keeping the production sets as hushed as possible) is both clever and appropriate.
But perhaps it is the score that sets this piece apart from the rest; the sudden drops in register, the isolated noises, all interspersed between periods of absolute silence is chilling, and lend themselves well to the jump scares and climatic moments.
Bringing in over $100 million dollars in its debut weekend, and a third film already having been confirmed, Krasinski certainly has a firm grasp on Hollywood’s throat and his creativity behind and in front of the camera doesn’t seem to be fading from the forefront of our consciousness any time soon – and nor would we want it to.
A Quiet Place Part II is out in cinemas now
by Kacy Hogg
Kacy is an English Lit student living in the Great White North (no not Winterfell unfortunately), Canada. Her favourite films include the Harry Potter series, Cinderella, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hangover, and Lady Bird. She’s also an avid binge-watcher of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. You can follow her on Twitter here: @KacHogg95