A Quiet Place Part II

Review by Rich Cline | 4/5

A Quiet Place Part II
dir-scr John Krasinski
prd Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, John Krasinski
with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski, Scoot McNairy, Lauren-Ashley Cristiano, Zachary Golinger, Okieriete Onaodowan, Sheri Fairchild, Barbara Singer
release US 28.May.21,
UK 3.Jun.21
20/US Paramount 1h37

murphy hounsou krasinski
See also:
A Quiet PLace (2018)

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jupe, simmonds and blunt
Picking up where the 2018 hit ended, this thriller pulls the audience through a series of enjoyably terrifying set-pieces. These are expertly staged by director John Krasinski to keep us gasping, and played with open emotion by a gifted cast. As it splinters into three deftly edited parallel threads, it doesn't have the depth of the original, and a few elements feel contrived, but this is superbly nerve-jangling entertainment.
Regrouping after an attack from eyeless monsters that hunt using acute hearing, Evelyn (Blunt) takes her teens Regan and Marcus (Simmonds and Jupe), and their dangerously noisy infant sibling, to look for fellow survivors, encountering neighbour Emmett (Murphy) holed up in a derelict steel mill. As they pause to catch their breath, Regan (Simmonds) has an ingenious idea to fight these creatures and sneaks off to an island radio station that's still broadcasting. Emmett follows, and reluctantly teams up with her. Meanwhile, Evelyn and Marcus are separated, having their own face-offs with these ravenous beasts.
A prologue depicts the day these aliens arrived, giving Krasinski some screen time while introducing Murphy's character and kicking things off with a remarkably sustained bang. The rollercoaster script spaces out enormous frights with smaller moments of intensity and near-silent interludes. The attention to detail is exhilarating, as continual tiny hints crank up the suspense to fingernail-chewing heights before each jolting payoff. This careful construction makes it both scary and a lot of fun.

Each character gets to shine, blending swelling emotional panic with quick-thinking resolve. Blunt grounds the story as the warrior mother alert to the perils facing her children, while Simmonds steps into the more central role as an intrepid young woman whose deafness is certainly not a disability. Her layered performance provides some overall momentum to the otherwise fragmented, episodic structure. The gifted Jupe also has several powerful scenes, even if he's somewhat sidelined. And Murphy's character has a terrific arc of his own.

Krasinski's direction is assured and inventive, avoiding cheap scares while cleverly using depth of focus and a vivid sound mix to put the audience into the characters' shoes. This elevates each of the freak-outs in ways that punch us in the gut, from subtly jarring touches to more sprawlingly designed and staged sequences that include seamless digital effects. And there's even some cool subtext here in the way the kids know they can't just hide out with the cowering adults: they need to do something to save the world.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 18.May.21

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© 2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall