Do you remember being sat in a cinema a few years ago absolutely petrified to make a sound? Watching every cough and shuffle as it now echoed across the silent room? Holding each breath in absolute agonising tension? Placing kernels of popcorn in your mouth, quickly remembering how loud crunching is, then letting it softly melt into a mush upon your tongue? Do you remember all that?
Yeah, well, it’s back as A Quiet Place Part II hits cinemas, following years of silence.
After the events of the first film, which saw the loss of patriarch Lee, the rest of the Abbott family must make their way from their home, with a new, noisy baby in tow. When they come across an old familiar face from their past, they have shelter for a while. However, believing she has a secret weapon to defeat the creatures, Regan heads off on her own journey. But is what is left of humanity worth saving?
Returning as writer and director is John Krasinski, which is nice, he gets it and it is a solid continuation of the story. His character Lee perished in the first film but there is a great opening sequence in which he gets to be a slight hero again, doing a run that Tom Cruise would be proud of.
Though the loss of Lee hangs over the film in the grief, Cillian Murphy is pivoted in as the shaggy haired, unshaven Emmett who used to be Lee’s old friend. Whilst Murphy is always welcome, he is somewhat awkwardly shoved into the empty space Krasinski left behind. That is fine – Emmett’s own losses and feelings of inadequacies in failing to keep his family alive juxtapose Regan’s anguish over the loss of her dad and her feelings of never quite fitting into his shoes. Their dynamic keeps the film’s emotionality afloat. It is interesting to note, as well, that Emmett doesn’t know sign-language like the Abbott family, so it brings new challenges to the characters who have to communicate the most.
As Regan, Millicent Simmonds is pretty much triumphant, especially when it comes to the finale. Simmons commands the screen with confidence and spirit. Yet Simmonds is careful to bring balance and brilliance to her character who could’ve easily been a young-adult archetype. However, Regan makes mistakes and gets into trouble whilst also struggling with the weight of anguish after her father’s death. This drives her to make silly choices in order to become as “heroic” as he was; giving her an arc that you are invested in.
That being said, the threads of who will take the mantle of hero post-Lee’s death are left ambiguous as Noah Jupe’s Marcus has his own moments of heroism. The only problem is that all this new character and subsequent development of the children sluices down Emily Blunt’s role to just…mother. Though she is part of one major set piece, it feels like she is wasted here.
Ironically, A Quiet Place Part II is a film you want to see in a cinema to experience that loud, booming atmosphere. The frights and thundering jumps are decent but there’s also a soft sound design that makes you aware of all noises that are happening: the change of keys, the gulp of a water bottle, or the waves gently upon the shore. Plus, there are some gorgeous, picturesque scenes of an apocalyptic world and truly gruesome creatures.
A Part III is definitely upon the horizon and we’re excited to see this as a complete, and excellent, trilogy.
A Quiet Place Part II is out in cinemas now.