Following numerous delays due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the sequel to the much-loved 2018 horror flick A Quiet Place will shortly finally arrive in UK cinemas. Exploring both pre-invasion and post-apocalyptic timelines, the cast are once again back in a world living in silence, expanding upon the innovative and unique concept of the first instalment. Following Spiral: A Book of Saw, The Unholy and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, this sequel is one of the first flicks to kick off a busy horror calendar.
Directed by John Krasinski, A Quiet Place Part II centres on the aftermath of the disastrous monster attack which left the Abbot family’s (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) farmhouse in ruins. Forced to venture into the unknown of the deadly outside world, Evelyn, Marcus and Regan carry baby Abbot in the hopes of discovering other communities and civilisations. Along the way they discover an old friend, the grief-stricken Emmett (Cillian Murphy) who warns them that the creatures aren’t the only threats which lurk outside.
Opening with a tense flashback to day one of the unfolding attack, Krasinski once again immerses us into the world with a full-on assault of the senses. Flash forward to day 474 and events pick up straight after the first movie, as the Abbott family are left to pick up the pieces following the tragic death of father Lee, along with the destruction of their home. Simmonds’ Regan is the primary focus of the second instalment, carrying on her father’s work searching for other communities with the hopes of using her breakthrough frequency discovery to help remaining survivors. However, the monsters aren’t the only hazards which they encounter along the way, as Krasinski explores more of this ravaged world in a tale of human perseverance and a fight for survival.
The sequel is much more action-packed, delving into post-apocalyptic territory as the Abbots venture into the wider world, discovering the effects of living with a relentless threat has had on mankind along the way. Whilst thematically it’s very similar to the first, Krasinski builds upon the successful formula and ramps up the sustained heightened level of tension, anxiety and dread in a truly thrilling instalment. While there’s plenty of gripping sequences which will leave you on the edge of your seat, the director deftly balances the action with emotional depth and heart. The enduring family bond is once again at the core of this film, with poignant callbacks interwoven throughout, including the fateful spaceship, the grave of lost son Beau and THAT nail. With a lean runtime of 97 minutes, the brisk pacing affords a rather simplistic narrative diverging into two distinct threads – once again with a minimum script – but nevertheless culminating in an entertaining and truly moving crescendo of a conclusion.
Emily Blunt’s Evelyn steps up as a proactive and impressively kick-ass mother bear, handling plenty of horrific situations and challenges in her stride, fuelled by determination and grief. Despite an early set-back (which will certainly make you wince!) Jupe’s Marcus steps up in his father’s absence, protecting the vulnerable newborn. However it’s Simmonds’ Regan who’s the standout, once again proving the emotional heart of the film as she displays real resilience in the face of adversity. She’s resolute in finding a safe community for her family, turning her deafness into an advantage while heading out on a dangerous trek. Newcomer Cillian Murphy brings a real ambiguity and unpredictable nature to the role, with Kraskinski affording the 28 Days Later star a compelling arc. Teaming up with Regan, the broken Emmett begins to discover his humanity once again protecting his former friend’s daughter. However Djimon Hounsou is unfortunately completely underused.
The phenomenal sound design from Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl perfectly complements the juxtaposition between nail-biting silence and noisy carnage of the action sequences. With a number of scenes taking place from Regan’s perspective, the duo once again fully immerses the audience into a unique sensory environment. Like Sound of Metal, this feature is definitely best experienced on the big screen with state-of-the-art surround sound systems. The sound design is paired with DOP Polly Morgan’s excellent camera work, with very slow pans and zooms, with the camera almost creeping into the action. As we see more of the deadly creatures in this instalment, Industrial Light & Magic do a fantastic job bringing them to life with outstanding visual effects, particularly in the light of day. As previously mentioned, there’s plenty of jump scares and tense skirmishes with the monsters which will leave you gasping and wincing.
A Quiet Place Part II is a completely immersive, edge-of-your-seat thriller which manages to build upon the world introduced in the first instalment. This is honestly one of the most tense and gripping cinema experiences I’ve ever had. This sensory horror really is a fantastic return to cinema.