A Quiet Place Part II has arrived in theaters after a 14-month pandemic delay—just more than three years after theatergoers had their first oddly silent experience in a theater watching the scrappy Abbott family deal with malicious alien monsters that attack based not on sight, but on sound.
Writer-director John Krasinski had a fun feature-directing debut with A Quiet Place—even if the movie had all sorts of plot holes and implausible plot gimmicks. The film was such a blast that it was easy to forgive how ridiculous it was at times.
The same things can be said about the sequel. It’s a film that depends on its central characters doing stupid, moronic things to keep the action and its main “don’t make a sound” plot device moving forward. At some point, this gimmick is going to play out—but not quite yet.
The film starts with a flashback that prominently involves Krasinski’s Lee Abbott casually strolling through a store and picking up snacks for a Little League game where his son, Marcus (Noah Jupe), is having an anxiety-ridden experience at the plate. His at-bat is interrupted by a streak of fire in the sky—which viewers know signifies an alien attack. The townspeople figure it’s a meteor or something like that, and they disperse, rather calmly, to their parked cars, while Marcus is relieved of his batting duties.
That’s when the creatures first appear—and start shredding and spearing people. This pre-credits sequence winds up being the best thing in both movies. Being able to watch something like this on the big screen is a pure cinematic delight. Alas, the movie that follows, while decent, isn’t as good. Krasinski (who gets the sole screenwriting credit and also returns to direct) soldiers on with a story about the loss of a father, a mother who needs to protect her family, and children who have no choice but to come of age.
Much of the action focusses on deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and her decision to go on a journey to find and rescue other survivors. Her decision doesn’t really make sense, but it keeps the plot moving forward. She’s joined on the journey by Emmett, played by the ever-reliable Cillian Murphy, who is no stranger to apocalypse films (28 Days Later, Sunshine). He makes for a decent father figure after Krasinski retreats behind the camera.
The mom, Evelyn Abbott (the always-amazing Emily Blunt), is left behind in some sort of mill that includes a vault-like furnace that’s perfect for avoiding aliens—well, except for the alarming lack of oxygen. She’s looking after the baby and an injured Marcus, who, quite inconveniently, stepped in a bear trap—which just so happens to provide one of the more unsettling movie moments in recent years. Seeing the extremely likable Jupe screaming his face off is bad enough; knowing his screams will attract flesh-shredding aliens makes the moment nearly unbearable.
The two separate plot lines play out in interwoven editing and lead up to a finale that’s as abrupt as finales get. It’s an ending that screams: “Stay tuned for the next chapter!” Yes, a franchise has been born—something that’s assured after the film’s box-office success. Jim Halpert has temporarily saved American movie theaters!
There is no official word on what film will come next. We learned last year that the great Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter) may direct some sort of movie for the franchise. Is it a direct sequel? A prequel? A spin-off? If it’s a direct sequel or prequel involving the Abbotts, make it fast: Noah Jupe is experiencing some significant growth spurts.
While A Quiet Place Part II is not better than the original, it’s worthy of your time. The opening scene plays great in a theater with people screaming next to you—even with those screams muffled by face masks.
A Quiet Place Part II is now playing at theaters across the valley.