Skip to content

A QUIET PLACE PART II (2021) review

June 15, 2021


written by: John Krasinski
prodiced by: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller & John Krasinski
directed by: John Krasinski
rated: PG-13 (for terror, violence and bloody/disturbing images)
runtime: 97 min.
U.S. release date: May 28, 2021 (theatrical)


You should be able to watch any sequel without knowing anything about a movie that came before it. A movie should ideally stand on its own with a story that is comprehensible, like picking up a comic book issue and being able to understand who’s who and what’s happening. John Krasinski‘s “The Quiet Place Part II” is one such movie where it is essential to have watched the first movie. Okay, maybe “essential” is extreme. How about “preferable”? It’s hard to imagine a viewer who hadn’t seen the previous movie getting the same viewing experience that someone who has possibly will. Of course, viewing experience is subjective and Krasinski does something a little different this time, which may benefit first timers to this world where being quite keeps you alive.

The film opens with “Day 1” of this sudden alien invasion in modern-day America (supposedly somewhere in the Adirondacks). Granted, in the first movie, we really had no definitive proof that these artichoke-headed, sound-sensitive creatures (who lash and thrash at any sound made) were from outer space (and that increased the mystery and suspense of it all – where these creatures lab experiments gone wrong, animal mutations or something else? – was one of many draws), but Krasinski makes it obviously clear in this informative time shift focus. It wouldn’t be right to call this opening a flashback since it really doesn’t show the past from one person’s view point.



What this choice does is show how the post-apocalyptic world started, while also giving a chance for Krasinski’s character to return. That’s not a spoiler since one has to assume that a large percentage of viewers had seen the last movie and recall how it ended. The actor/director also serves as a screenwriter here, taking characters created by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (who penned the last one) into different directions, both narratively and geographically. In a way, it makes sense to start off with “Day 1” considering it offers us a chance to look at another side of the Abbott family before the invasion, albeit briefly.

At first, Krasinski focuses on a desolate main street, making viewers wonder if this truly is the first day the world we were introduced to in the last movie. It could just be another quiet in a small town. But, it soon becomes clear that most of the town’s population has gathered at a nearby little league ball game. This is where we reconnect with the Abbott family, who are gathered together for young Marcus’ (Noah Jupe) baseball game. We meet Emmett (Cillian Murphy) in the risers, a friend of Lee’s who’s son is also playing. It appears to be an idyllic town event, when suddenly fire balls come careening down to the earth from a red sky.

Now, if you’ve seen the previous movie, you become aware that this is how Krasinski and company are explaining how these creatures came to terrorize humanity. In no time, chaos erupts with the aliens tearing up the town (ripping apart or tossing the townspeople like a dog does a squeaky toy), splitting the Abbotts apart with Lee and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) on foot while Evelyn (Emily Blunt) tries to escape in the family car with Marcus and her younger son, Beau. The frantic opening plays like gangbusters, as people try to evade their attackers and the viewers in the know are aware what they need to do in order to survive. Thankfully, that’s all we get in terms of flashback, which is great since it’s more intriguing to catch up with Evelyn and her three children.



We catch up with Evelyn, who must not only navigate remaining as quiet as possible, but also keep fearful Marcus, stubborn Evelyn, and their baby sibling, in line, as they are forced to abandon their farm and figure out a new place to stay alive. The aliens are still out there, but the increasing family drama and tension is more palpable. While they have a system to keep the baby safe and silent and Regan has weaponized her cochlear implant, they still have to deal with the unpredictabilities of the world they’re in. On their way to a seemingly abandoned steel refinery, Marcus is injured (an excruciating moment) and the foursome are reluctantly saved by Emmett, who’s been surviving on his own at this location after losing his family.

Taking after her father, Regan is determined that a coded signal is somehow hidden in a radio station that only plays Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” on repeat. With Marcus recuperating, Regan decides to follow a hunch and travel on her own to an island she believes the signal comes from…meaning there’s other people and possibly a better chance of survival. Of course, she doesn’t run this by her mother, Evelyn pleads Emmett to go after her eldest child and with medical supplies running low, Evelyn must go back into town on her own to retrieve medication for Marcus.

With the family split up, the steaks are high. As thrilling as it is to see scenes of these creepy creatures threaten the Abbott family and Emmett (Murphy is a welcome presence, portraying a wily albeit tortured character), the intensity of this sequel is found in each step the protagonists take amid the subplots of a separated family. There are near misses as these characters struggle to survive, and like so many post-apocalyptic the decisions and action that humans make become as much of a liability as the threatening creatures. There’s a highly intense scene in which Regan and Emmett encounter a group of feral humans (led by Scoot McNairy) by a marina where they’re trying to acquire a boat that can get them to the aforementioned island. While they resemble characters from “The Walking Dead” it’s nevertheless a harrowing situation, providing an action sequence with impressive choreography.

Krasinski puts Regan in the forefront of the story and once again Simmonds is a standout performer, conveying an intuitiveness while also portraying a petulant teenager. Simmonds and Murphy work off each other well, and there’s even an all-too small role for Djimon Hounsou as one of the islanders, who works off the two actors in an equally compelling manner. While there are some jump scares present in the movie, we’re so invested in the characters that it’s overlooked.

“A Quiet Place Part II” excels with its emphasis on adolescent fortitude, and strong performances that elevate the material. It earns high scores for dramatic tension over gore or horror tropes, Krasinski giving the story an impressive flow and ending the sequel on a promise for yet another chapter. Without a doubt, it’s a needless sequel, but it also has a contagious story with complex and compelling characters.





No comments yet

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: