The anticipation is over. Originally slated to premiere nationwide in March 2020, A Quiet Place Part II, like the majority of other films in 2020, went the way of the year-long hiatus, hoping eventually, they could reap the benefits of our patience. Unlike other studios in the last few months, Paramount chose not to do a day-and-date release of the A Quiet Place sequel, choosing instead to do an exclusive theatrical run. This will be a gamble, as a lot of people are still hesitant to get back into theaters, but as the summer heats up, and we see the official start of the summer movie season, it will be interesting to see if more than just hardcore moviegoers believe this film is the one to get them back into the cineplex. If you are still on the fence on whether to wait for this to hit streaming, let me say that I do believe that A Quiet Place Part II is definitely worth the risk of heading back to theaters.
Beginning moments after the events of A Quiet Place, writer/director John Krasinski elegantly returns us to the soft dread of the unknown. We’re not clear where the story is headed as Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) gathers her kids, including her newborn baby, and treks them all out into the world. However, from the end of the last film, we know that Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds), with the help of her deceased father, found a way to kill the aliens, so it’s only natural for the sequel to be about getting the word out to all the survivors in some fashion.
Cillian Murphy joins the cast as Emmett, a wayward father and one time friend of the Abbott’s who lost both his sons and his wife to the terrible alien plague. Hiding out in a steel bunker, he reluctantly helps bring the Abbotts to safety after Evelyn and her brood enter his highly booby-trapped territory. There, Regan discovers a radio broadcast playing the song “Beyond the Sea” and quickly realizes it’s a message — there must be a safe colony on a small island nearby that will help them broadcast her alien-killing feedback loop. Despite her deafness, Regan leaves with Emmett in tow to find a boat that will hopefully end the madness once and for all.
Murphy is an excellent addition to the story, as he brings a fresh perspective to what’s happened to the majority of survivors. Unlike Lee (Krasinski), Emmett has all but given up hope in finding any solace in rebuilding a better future for humanity. His despair and pessimism clashes with the Abbott family’s optimism that there still is a chance to defeat the aliens and rebuild society. Will he ever truly be willing to help them, or will he simply cause more trouble because he doesn’t believe anything good will ever happen?
Like the first film, the focus of A Quiet Place Part II is on Regan as the center of inspiration — a lone wolf who can’t hear the dangers that surround her, but for whom literally holds the survival of an entire race in her hand. Her disability is what initially helped her family survive up to this point (since they all knew sign language, allowing them to communicate in silence), and would also push her father to inadvertently develop the ultimate weapon against the spreading menace. Now, Regan has a chance to enrich her father’s legacy by taking it upon herself to heal everyone else.
Blunt and Noah Jupe, who reprises his role as middle son Marcus, aren’t given a whole lot to do as they wait for Regan to fulfill her journey, but their story isn’t lessened any because of it. Throughout the entire first film, Marcus was too frightened and insecure to do anything to help fight the aliens, so his getting hurt early in the film after stepping on a bear trap signifies a lot of depth in his growth throughout the film. He goes from a weak, little brother to someone who needs to stand up and protect his defenseless sibling. Evelyn does all she can to protect all of her family, but in the end, it takes the two youngest, most vulnerable members to step up and become heroes.
By the end of the film, we’re still left with a couple of questions most of which could be answered nicely in a third, and fittingly final chapter in a Quiet trilogy. One of these questions stems from the first ten minutes of the film, where we’re given a glimpse as to what happened on that first day. We see where everyone was at the time of the attack, however, we’re still not clear on how the Abbott family survived and were able to get back to their home. The sequence itself is well-done, though, and Kransinski does a great job in keeping the same quiet suspense while going bigger with everything around him.
Ultimately it’s this, the subtle, simplistic feel in an otherwise grand nature of the art form that requires the respect of a strong viewing audience and a big screen to fully envelope. If Paramount and Krasinski do decide to complete a trilogy, it will be interesting to see how they keep this one family, Regan in particular, the center of the story while adding in a much grander, global extension in order to complete the year and half journey to destroy the aliens across the globe. It will be a somewhat difficult feat, but if A Quiet Place Part II is any indication, I’m confident Kransinski will be able to craft a powerful story that provides us with a satisfying conclusion.
My Grade: A
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Next week, new movies include Spirit Untamed, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Vivo and Samaritan. If you would like to see a review for one of these, or any other film out next week, please respond in the comments below.