Review: Use Of Sound, Suspense Draws You Into ‘A Quiet Place Part II’
May 28, 2021, 5:30 AM | Updated: Apr 14, 2023, 2:39 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — It has been a long year for John Krasinski. You might not remember, but “A Quiet Place Part II,” the sequel to his massively successful Hollywood studio directorial debut, was the first potential blockbuster to have to move off its scheduled release date when COVID-19 first began shutting down public gatherings back in March of 2020.
The first chapter of the story, “A Quiet Place,” was a hold-your-breath, tension-filled sci-fi suspense movie about two parents, Lee and Evelyn Abbott (real-life couple Krasinski and Emily Blunt), trying to protect their family from alien creatures who hunt humans by sound, and it grossed $340 million worldwide. Part II has seen its release date moved several times, but always because Krasinski wanted to make sure it opened in theaters. Now, that day has finally come!
The second chapter, which returns all of the main cast (Krasinski, Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Kyle Jupe) and adds Cillian Murphy (“Batman Begins,” “Inception”) as an old family friend, opens with what happened the day the creatures arrived and drove everyone into hiding. Then, it jumps ahead to where Part I left off, with the Abbotts finally ready to fight back against the creatures now that they’ve discovered a weakness. But their home is no longer safe, so they must journey with the new baby to maybe find some other surviving humans and figure out their next move. I don’t want to give away any plot points or surprises so I won’t go any further, but you should absolutely see the first “Quiet Place” movie before watching Part II.
Much like the first “A Quiet Place” movie, director Krasinski ratchets up tension by putting his characters through the most grueling and painful situations, amplified by their need to keep silent to avoid detection. If you can’t handle being nervous or sitting on the edge of your seat during a movie, this is not one for you! I was also impressed by the filmmakers’ use of sound (or sometimes the lack thereof) and how it had almost a physical effect on you as the viewer. Just as it did for many people in Part I —especially if you saw it in the theater — there were points of Part II where I was so drawn in to the story that I found myself not wanting to make a peep or even move! To me, it was the mark of good storytelling and an effective use of the cinematic medium that I could watch a movie with very minimal dialogue, yet it didn’t bother me and I didn’t really even think much about it.
Additionally, having a character who is deaf (Simmonds’ character Regan) allowed them to cut the sound completely in certain situations and let viewers experience what it’s like for her, which of course makes the silence in the movie theater even more deafening! It’s a moviemaking tactic that has the potential to really get away from a director and veer into a cheap gimmick if it’s overused. But Krasinski doesn’t overdo it, though that feeling may have been helped by the movie’s relatively short run time — just 90 minutes. There weren’t any points where I felt like things were just dragging along, and in an age where movies only seem to be getting longer, I really appreciated the kind of throwback movie feeling of just keeping the story simple and compact. Just as in Part I, Krasinski got things going quickly and nobody spent much time explaining. Why are the creatures there? Who knows? They’re just there and you gotta deal with them.
“A QUIET PLACE PART II” is rated PG-13 for terror, violence, and bloody or disturbing images, but it really wasn’t any worse than the first movie as far as content. There was plenty of tension and the occasional jump-scare, as you might expect. Nevertheless, heed the age warning on this one — especially if you’re going to watch it in the theater — not just because of the intensity and scary images, but also because noisy kids will REALLY disrupt the feel of the movie in the auditorium.
One possible complaint about “A QUIET PLACE PART II” is that it wasn’t really all that different from Part I, either in story or style. Still, it managed to have a bit of a different feel to it anyway, maybe because in this chapter of the story the humans finally have a way to at least defend themselves a little. There are also nods to the first movie scattered throughout that you might miss unless you’ve watched it recently.
However, I think both of these films have been great examples of the power of the cinema to create an immersive experience. I give the “A QUIET PLACE PART II” three out of four stars. Now, we just have to get a third chapter in the series, because it doesn’t feel like the story, written by Krasinski, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, is done. Yet if they do move ahead with a third movie, the question must also be asked: HOW MUCH MORE CAN THESE PEOPLE GO THROUGH!?!? I don’t know the answer, but if Part II makes $350M like its predecessor, then I’m sure we’ll find out.
“A QUIET PLACE PART II” is opening exclusively in movie theaters starting May 28.
Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth is the movie and pop culture guy for the “KSL 5 Today” morning news show and also hosts the “Fan Effect” podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out some of his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com