I genuinely think A QUIET PLACE is a perfect movie and one of the best horror movies of all time. So I cannot think of a more perfect way to welcome the cinema experience back than with A QUIET PLACE PART II. The film was originally scheduled to premiere on March 8, 2020, the week the country began shutting down for COVID-19. And although it has been killing me to wait over a year to see the sequel, I do not blame the studio for deciding to delay it. This is the exact type of movie you want to experience on the biggest screen possible, surrounded by a fully-invested audience.
This was the first in-person press screening I have been to in over a year and I was so happy to once again revel in the full cinematic experience. I cannot imagine trying to release this film on demand only; it would not only do a disservice to the movie and filmmakers, but to the audience. Believe me when I say, the sequel is a very worthy follow-up and getting to watch it in a movie theater made the wait worth it.
Picking up directly after the events of its predecessor, Evelyn (Emily Blunt)—with her newfound knowledge of the monsters’ weakness to audio feedback—gathers her newborn baby, daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and son Marcus (Noah Jupe), to flee their now-destroyed homestead and find a new place to live. But as it turns out, the family was a little too sheltered and isolated in their prior home, unaware of what remaining civilization has actually turned into. No, I’m not talking about zombies or anything like that. I am talking about something equally horrifying (and admittedly more realistic), losing your humanity and becoming just as evil as the monsters themselves.
So when the family wanders into the literal crosshairs of Emmett (Cillian Murphy), they have to quickly decide whether he is trustworthy. Emmett, on the other hand, has seen first-hand the dangers presented by the remaining human population and has experienced his own loss. He cannot handle more pain and is hesitant to welcome an entire new family that he would feel obligated to take care of. But, of course, with monsters ready to attack at the slightest sound, there isn’t much time for deep, philosophical thoughts on being a responsible citizen; it is about survival. And when you have a brave girl like Regan, who wants to continue her dad’s (John Kraskinski) legacy, you have to be on your toes. Regan wants to find a way to save the world through her understanding of the monster’s sensitivity to audio feedback, which makes them vulnerable to kill. And when she is made aware of a a still-working radio broadcast, she finds just the way to do so.
If you thought Millicent Simmonds was a standout in the first film, buckle up, because she is even more impressive in the sequel. Krasinski leans into Simmonds enormous talent, leaving her to carry much of the movie, particularly the more emotional elements. While its predecessor film focuses on the family as a unit, certain events lead the family to separate, and Simmons beyond holds her own opposite such enormous talents as Blunt and Murphy.
As a super fan of the first film, I loved the easter eggs featured in the sequel. The opening flashback shot, which is arguably the most tense and exciting scene in the whole film, shows the alien-monsters landing on earth and, most importantly, reminds the audience about the closeness of the family and what life was like before. Also, be on the lookout for a certain rocket on the general store’s shelf. My favorite easter egg in the film, however, and don’t ask me how I noticed this, is involving the memorial cross for the son that was killed in A QUIET PLACE. In this film, there is a picture on the cross of Evelyn (Blunt) and a child in a pool. In this film, there is a picture of Lee (Krasinski) and a baby in the pool in its place. The A QUIET PLACE franchise has always been a love letter about family, so I wonder if this is Blunt and Kraskinski’s actual children and this was their way of paying tribute to them. Excuse me while I go sob.
I know this may sound counterintuitive, but as I mentioned before, you need to see A QUIET PLACE PART II in the biggest theater, with the best sound you can. I saw it in a Dolby Atmos theater and it was the perfect experience. Although the movie hinges on silence, the sound design is one of the most critical parts of the film. Each snap of a twig or rustling of leaves is potentially enough to alert the monsters to your location. And when the silence gives way to screams, having a top-notch sound system adds even more horror to each scene.
A QUIET PLACE PART II finds the perfect way to expand the universe from a horror movie contained on a family farm to what a monster-alien invasion means for the whole of civilization. I had so much fun watching this film, and I beg you to do yourself a favor (as long as you feel safe doing so) and watch this film onscreen. Do not wait. Krasinski has already started to tease the possibility of a third installment to the franchise, and I am so here for it.
My Review: A–