John Krasinski catches you off guard in the first moment of “A Quiet Place Part II” (“A place in silence: Part II”), inviting you to enter his film with the most terrifying thing in the universe: noise.
A testament to the effectiveness of A Quiet Place Part II movie is that any sound will immediately make you feel uncomfortable: the crunch of a bag, an apple, a car door closing. Krasinski begins the sequel, which he wrote and directed, with a flashback to the day the monsters arrived, and boy are we LOUD.
It’s a blow to the stomach, and not just because he wastes no time getting into the action. We know that he and others will not be alive when the film moves into the present. And you might be surprised how far a little glimpse of their happiness goes when it comes to reminding them of what they’ve lost and what they’re trying to hold onto.
The sequel starts right where the previous one ends. Emily Blunt’s character, Evelyn, has not had time to be a complete Sarah Connor in “A Quiet Place Part II”, because the Abbotts have no respite. She and her family – a newborn, her son Marcus (Noah Jupe) and her daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) – are on the move looking for another place to stay. They have prepared a terrifying coffin-like box for the baby, complete with an oxygen tank and a breathing apparatus so he can move around without having to worry about his crying. This was clearly thought of by people who are parents in real life, but it’s best not to ask yourself too many questions about the logistics of it all.
Suffice to say, the presentation of the baby ensures that your stomach will not stop knotting for the duration of the movie. Krasinski makes a decision with the baby that he borders on indecency, but it is tremendously effective.
It’s amazing that he was able to find enough novelty in this world to justify an entire sequel, but unfortunately, the Regan-inspired trick to stun monsters using high-frequency sounds is only effective in the immediate environment. In other words, there are many more out there.
The family finds another place and a once friendly face: Emmett (Cillian Murphy). But like many of Murphy’s characters, it’s unclear whether or not he can be trusted, and he doesn’t seem to want to help them.
Blunt, Simmonds and Jupe are once again fantastic in their roles, using sign language and their expressive, empathetic faces to brilliantly convey terror, love and pain. The nail also reprises its role and is just as effective at creating tension as before, but unfortunately Krasinski has something more brutal in store for one of the Abbotts.
However, the reason these movies work is not because of the scares. They work because, at their core, they are a high-concept meditation on parenting. Sure, surprises keep our heart rate high, but the real terror, the one that buries itself in your conscience, comes from that deep and intractable fear of not being able to protect your children. Many monster movies boldly claim to be about something bigger and they rarely are; they do it successfully.
After being pushed back for more than a year due to the pandemic, “A Quiet Place Part II” will be shown starting May 28 only in theaters for 45 days and then available on Paramount +. And it might sound like a cliché, but it’s hard to imagine seeing it anywhere other than on the big screen. It’s the kind of movie that demands it.
“A Quiet Place Part II,” a Paramount Pictures release, is rated PG-13 (advising parents that it may be inappropriate for children under 13) from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). English) for “terror, violence and bloody / disturbing images”. Duration: 97 minutes. Three stars out of four.