Movie Review: A Quiet Place Part II

More than a year after the film premiered in New York, covid-delayed A QUIET PLACE PART II has finally arrived at our cinemas.  The Abbott family – well, most of them, at any rate, because a few died in the film’s first installment in 2018 – are still trying to survive the alien creatures that have decimated the planet’s population.  This time around, though, they’ve found some help.

It’s now Day 474 since the high frequency sound-sensitive aliens first arrived on Earth but A QUIET PLACE PART II begins with a flashback to Day 1 when all the Abbotts including Lee (John Krasinski, TV’s TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN and THE OFFICE (US)) were attending a Little League softball game for son Marcus (Noah Jupe, FORD V FERRARI; HONEY BOY; SUBURBICON).  The scene sets the stage to not only introduce a new character – their friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy, DUNKIRK; TV’s PEAKY BLINDERS) – but also to have Evelyn (Emily Blunt, MARY POPPINS RETURNS; THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN) impart some sage advice on young Marcus that will come in handy 474 days later.  Back in the present, daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds, WONDERSTRUCK) has taken up the tracking role that Lee used to have and she’s noticed that someone has lit a fire across the ridge from where they’re hiding out.  With the Abbotts’ ramshackle home burning and flooded out, Evelyn decides to pack what little they have left and trek with the kids over to the fire.  In an abandoned steel mill they find Emmett who, like Greta Garbo’s character in the 1932 film, GRAND HOTEL, wants to be alone following the death of his family.  With the one still-operating radio station playing Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” on a continuous loop, Regan reasons that it’s a signal from someone sitting offshore so she sets off to find him, her or them.  Evelyn, though, can’t bear to lose anyone else in her family to the aliens and she begs Emmett to bring Regan back.  While waiting for the pair to return, Evelyn goes into town to pick up much needed medical supplies for the family, leaving Marcus to look after the baby.  Now it’s the kids’ turn to step up to the plate and protect everyone from the aliens.

The original A QUIET PLACE was certainly a novel cinema experience when it came out.  Audiences were so quiet that you could literally hear popcorn falling on the floor.  (Ah, the pre-covid days, when you could eat in the cinema!)  While that film was heavy on hair-raising jump scares, it was light on story.  This time around, A QUIET PLACE PART II is a much meatier tale but with fewer jump scares.  That’s not to say you won’t be jolted out of your seat a few times.  You will, but it’s a more interesting film to watch than its predecessor.  The big difference is the roles that Regan and Marcus have taken on.  They are the story’s backbone and the kids deliver, making decisions and acting on them, and being more than just vehicles to register their horror and fear.  Here, the adults are the supporting characters.  Krasinski shows that he’s more than a one-hit directing wonder as he keeps the story moving along at a good clip, bringing out impressive performances from his young actors.

A QUIET PLACE PART II has become the first pandemic-era film to cross the US$100 million mark at the domestic box office.  It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that just two weeks after it was launched in the US, Paramount confirmed that there will be a third installment coming in March 2023.  There’s also talk of a spinoff film in the works.  That’s not too surprising given where the story went in this installment.  Let’s just hope they don’t wreck this franchise with too many sequels.

A QUIET PLACE PART II opened here in Hong Kong last Thursday (June 10) and it’s already playing in many markets around the world.  Paramount announced that it will drop on its streaming service, Paramount+, in mid-July but unless you have an awesome home sound system, you’ll be better off seeing it in the cinema… and see it you should!

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