A Quiet Place Part II

A Quiet Place Part II ★★★½

When the first trailer for a sequel to A Quiet Place dropped January 1 last year, I can't say I was very excited. It looked like a shameless cash grab that introduced tons of new characters and locations without any care for the simple, well-tuned story that made the original thriller work so well.

Then, it looked like I would never find out if this were the case. A Quiet Place Part II was pulled from the release schedule eight days before it was due to hit theaters, and for over a year it's been a landmark in the distance indicating exactly when COVID would be over and "the theatrical experience" would be back.

Well, the theatrical experience is back. It looks a little different—some people have masks now, and there are more empty seats—but on the whole it's the same environment that helped make the original A Quiet Place special. The sound goes out, and audiences freeze in place holding half-chewed popcorn as they sit in suspense as to what's going to happen next.

Part II is a bigger film than the first (and about three times as expensive). But pleasantly the story still keeps a tight focus on the four central characters (Blunt, Simmonds, Jupe, and Cillian Murphy). The way they chose to build this world, this easily could have turned into a Walking Dead episode. But by honing in on the stakes for these few character, Krasinski keeps you invested and avoids some of the pitfalls that that original trailer seemed to be presenting.

The sequel is full of the clever set pieces and visual storytelling that I enjoyed in the first movie, and it has the first movie's flaws too ("Why would _____ do ___ NOW??"). I'm generally turned off by sequels that split the characters up, but the constant story parallels and match cuts gave me comfort in knowing that there was a lot of intention to it, probably even on the page. The absence of Krasinski as an actor from most of the movie really gives Millicent Simmonds a chance to shine, and I liked the way Cillian Murphy's character is designed and what he brought to the role.

Is it as good as A Quiet Place? Not quite. But god it's good to see a movie like this in theaters again.

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