The Abbott family is back in A Quiet Place Part II as they continue to hope that the sound of silence prevents acts of violence. John Krasinski continues to prove he’s quite adept at this horror/sci-fi genre. When I wrote my review for 2018’s predecessor, I stated that future sequels might be tempted to explore reasons why the creatures came to Earth in the first place. In my view, there’s really no pressing need to do that. Extraterrestrials are here. Keep your mouth shut or you’re getting pulverized. What more do you need?
The sequel doesn’t go down that potentially unnecessary route. Instead Part II expands its cinematic universe beyond the Abbott farmhouse. As you may recall (and spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched part I), we last left Evelyn (Emily Blunt) as a shotgun reloading widow who’d just given birth and was in full Mama Bear mode to her other children. Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is the deaf daughter responsible for cracking a code to kill the monsters.
The other child Marcus (Noah Jupe) is failing at cracking a baseball bat in the film’s prologue showing the last moments of normalcy before the invasion. This allows Krasinski’s patriarch to briefly return as idyllic small town life turns into a hostile takeover.
A year and change later, a radio transmission convinces Regan that hope for survival could exist elsewhere. The rest of the family unit is skeptical, but we’ve already learned in the original that this girl is determined. Another survivor Emmett (Cillian Murphy) finds himself as the partner on her journey. Evelyn, Marcus, and baby are stuck at a hideout in need of medical supplies.
A Quiet Place Part II is not the self contained unit that we witnessed before. The freshness of A Quiet Place‘s concept is gone. Yet this manages to produce some genuinely nifty and tense set pieces. Much of the credit goes to Michael P. Shawver and his tight editing. This includes the first few minutes at the ballpark as well as a train turned mortuary and especially at a marina that contains more threats than audibly superior aliens.
Simply put, this is better than most horror sequels. It broadens the story without bogging itself down in superfluous backstory. Blunt still exudes her fiercely protective demeanor though it’s Simmonds and Jupe who are the true all-stars. I’m not sure how long this franchise can continue to garner the vocal support of audiences and critics, but so far so good.
*** (out of four)