June 3, 2021

CINEMA | Silent Thrills – Emily Blunt Finds 'A Quiet Place Part II'

"You can't stay."
Emily Blunt Millicent Simmonds John Krasinski | A Quiet Place Part II
Paramount Pictures / Platinum Dunes
Originally scheduled to be released theatrically in March of last year, actor/director John Krasinski follows up his surprise 2018 silent horror hit with a worthy enough (if substantially rehashed) sequel trying to recreate the same tense thrills on screen in A Quiet Place Part II. Once again, Krasinski's both real-life and on-screen wife Emily Blunt is the main draw with her visceral, maternal, and towering emotional performance.

Kid actors Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe return from the first film as Part II has the Abbott family on the move looking for a new home and other survivors in this alien-infested world. Its Simmonds' slightly older Regan really becomes the main focus as a wiser child with more of her own agency. She and Jupe get more opportunities to shine as independent characters thrust into adulthood as a result of their dire situation avoiding death at every turn.

It very much feels like another chapter or episode in a family's ongoing journey in a post-apocalyptic world. Its colony narrative of recreating a new civilization is never nearly as compelling as the tightly focused family tale of part one. However, the massively inconvenient crying newborn baby provides an intriguing new wrinkle and problem for them to overcome.

Emily Blunt Millicent Simmonds Noah Jupe John Krasinski | A Quiet Place Part II

Co-starring Cillian Murphy (who stands in for Krasinki's departed father Lee) as another hardened survivor who has lost it after the alien invasion, there's not a whole lot to the A Quiet Place follow-up other than its basic story of survival and resilience. Through him and the film's prologue flashback, we learn more about the alien monsters and their possible weaknesses.

What makes Part II particularly unsatisfying is its seeming incompleteness. Where the first ended with a bang that left the door open for more but surely did not need a sequel, the second outright teases a third film's possible conclusion. It very much feels like a middle entry or mission to eventually establish A Quiet Place's new world and defeat or get around the blind monsters' deadliness. Still, the motif of silence as true terror continues to be very effective cinematically and a refreshing element within the horror genre.

A Quiet Place Part II tries to focus on escalation and continued suspense but it ends up as mostly a rehash of the original because of those aims. Krasinski continues to show his skills as both a talented writer and director of tension and thrills. However, the creative novelty and family aspect of the film's initial premise fails to come away as particularly fresh the second time around.

Update: Cinemas are scheduled to reopen in British Columbia starting on June 15th.


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