Finally sitting down in a theater to watch A Quiet Place Part II (2021) brought up a lot of emotions. Prior to the lockdown at the start of the pandemic, I introduced my Film 2 class to A Quiet Place. A few had seen it, but many had not- and we were studying the horror genre. I am a big fan of the first film, and we were planning to go see the second part in theaters only to find out it would be delayed and our classes would be moved online. The night before I saw this movie, I got to watch that class walk across the stage and pick up their diplomas. Needless to say, I teared up a few times at the start of the movie for my own experiences. I’m happy to say that, after a year of waiting to see this sequel that I initially was concerned could only be terrible after the success of the first film and the history of bad – and often unnecessary – horror sequels, AQPP2 is a solid follow-up. There is no way to talk about this sequel without spoiling the ending of the first film, so SPOILERS for A Quiet Place will follow.
Jumping back to day 1 of the monsters (aliens…not 100%) attacking, AQPP2 shows the closeness of the city as many families gather for a little league game. During Marcus Abbott’s (Noah Jupe) at-bat, the game abruptly ends when a fire is seen flying through the clouds. The town scatters, and soon the creatures make themselves known. It is an intense scene, and the movie quickly reminds the audience that the sound design is going to be a crucial part of the experience.
As this intense scene winds down, the audience is returned to just moments after the end of the first film. The aftermath of the events that transpired is seen littered throughout the set as the family packs up to leave their now devastated home. Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds) is now armed with a weapon against the monsters and is determined to put this information to use. Things quickly dissolve on their travels when Marcus – this film franchise’s walking calamity and plot contrivance – steps into a bear trap. Jupe’s screams are intense and guttural…and while one may sympathize with his character’s yells, it is unbelievably aggravating that he wouldn’t TRY to keep it down in the world of the film. This sends Emmett (Cillian Murphy) in to rescue the family and hide them away in his makeshift underground bunker.
The performances from the core cast (Emily Blunt being the only one I’ve yet to mention) are again quite impressive. While Krasinski is forced to be mostly behind the camera this time around due to the events of the first film, his early scene in the flashback reminds the audience how endlessly watchable he is. Murphy is always an actor who I enjoy seeing on screen, and I really like what he does with Emmett here.
There are moments in the film that are frustrating. A few choices feel a little perfunctory, and the movie is paced quickly to never really let the audience breathe leaving a few questions unanswered. Will they be addressed in a third film? To be honest, I hope not…unless Krasinski takes the third movie in a very different direction than the first two. There is a simple allegory that this film seems to end on that I think works very well (I know that the message that this type of ending conveys almost always works for me personally while others may find it trite), but really doesn’t warrant a third survival horror film.
While I think AQPP2 is not as good overall as the first film, it also is one of the better horror sequels that I can remember. It is true to its predecessor while advancing the story and characters. If anything, this film feels slightly rushed as though it were afraid that if the tension ever subsided the audience would lose interest. However, the characters in the film and their situations are compelling enough that just allowing us to breathe wouldn’t have been a bad thing. I give AQPP2 the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.