If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Words of wisdom in a cinematic world where sequels are the name of the game. A Quiet Place Part II delivers more of everything that made the original so successful and found its own space to expand the storytelling.
Part II picks up right after the events of the first film as the remaining survivors of the Abbott family take to the road seeking refuge after their home was destroyed during the climax of the first movie.
John Krasinski returned to write and direct and he didn’t stray far from the first film that he wrote with Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. There’s not much “new, but we do get a flashback to the first day the creatures showed up. At that moment, we get a glimpse of the life these characters had before the world was torn apart. It also establishes more connective tissue between the events of the first and second films which bolsters the storytelling down the line.
One of the biggest differences is that this was more of Millicent Simmonds’ film this time around. Her character Regan was already important to the first film as her hearing aid ended up becoming a sonic weapon against the creatures, but she’s more prominent this time around. Even the flashback scene is used, in part, to establish her bravery. Because she is deaf and communicates mostly via sign language, her performance is much more emotive and she draws that out in her co-stars as well. Krasinski smartly recognized that as a strength and put her front and center the second time out.
The other big change is Cillian Murphy stepping into the void left by Krasinski at the end of the first film. The trailer does a nice job of not letting you know exactly what kind of character he’s playing and I won’t spoil that for you now. Just rest assured that the guy who played a huge role in reinvigorating the zombie genre with 28 Days Later is an excellent addition to this cast.
Emily Blunt and Noah Jupe didn’t miss a beat either and, of course, the movie is still about them but Krasinski created parallel narratives. It was an interesting creative choice since the first film was focused on the nuclear family but also necessary change to help move the story beyond those limitations.
This was another smart choice by Krasinski because it kept the spirit of the first movie intact by shifting the setting but keeping the same fear elements in play. The world of the sequel is much bigger and the routine that kept this family safe in the first film is gone, so the fear of the unknown serves to heighten the already existing fear of these creatures. Most horror films don’t scare me, so it’s unfair of me to judge solely based on that, but it’s easy to see this was a well-crafted horror/thriller and there was a moment that left me squirming in my seat for quite a while.
It’s rare for a sequel to live up to its predecessor, but Part II is on par with the original. It didn’t risk what worked but found a sweet spot, not too far from and not too close to the original, where it could breathe and find itself. And much like the first, it just sorta ends abruptly and doesn’t shut the door on a possible trilogy to close out the series. I’m not mad at that.
Recommendation: This is a sequel that came in with very high expectations and delivered. If you enjoyed the first movie, you’ll like this one. And it’s made well enough that you don’t necessarily need to see the first movie in order to jump in and enjoy Part II.