Set immediately after the events of the first film, A Quiet Place Part II follows the Abbott family – forced to face the unknown terrors of the outside world including, but not limited to, the deadly creatures that hunt solely by sound. Writer/director John Krasinski has managed to back up his triumphant first entry into horror with yet another phenomenal film that lives up to the success of its predecessor.
The tension in this film is at an all-time high from the opening scene right through to the moment the credits begin to roll, without a single minute of downtime in between. The opening sequence, for instance, is an absolute masterclass in horror filmmaking and it sets the stage for what’s to come in fine fashion. The ability to craft a film where edge-of-seat thrills and chilling atmospheric horror line every single scene is truly remarkable. Every scare is earned, well-timed and effective. The tension builds and builds over the hour and a half runtime, culminating in a thrilling climax that does not disappoint. Speaking of the runtime, it may sit at just over 90 minutes, but it feels like it runs for at least two hours due to the way it completely locks you in. I believe I made the same comment about the first film, which just goes to show that it was no fluke.
Everything in this film works in unison to craft a wholly terrifying atmosphere. Marco Beltrami’s score contributes to a number of heart-pounding moments, really intensifying the thrills and heightening the scares across the entire film. It comes in and out at the perfect moments, really dictating the pace and adding an extra layer to the film. The score may be great, however, the silence is almost louder. As with the first film, silence is utilised in an incredibly creative way – with all sound dropping out when we’re viewing the world through Millicent Simmonds‘ character’s perspective. It’s an artistic choice that heightens the tension and really puts you in the shoes of her character to communicate the terror she’s experiencing.
The storytelling is impressively tight, sticking to just a core group of 3-4 characters for the entire film and never losing sight of what each of them is doing or how they’re growing with each new experience. There’s little twists and turns, with clever moments of foreshadowing, but it never gets to the point of becoming predictable. Just when it gives you the feeling that you know what’s going to happen, it throws a spanner in the works to keep you on your toes. There’s never a moment that drags or feels like it’s detouring from the core focus of this family just looking to survive. The genius move to have this film set immediately following the events of the first film directly enhances each one – to where if you place the two together, it plays out like one long movie.
When it comes to the performances, the absence of John Krasinski doesn’t leave a mark on the film as everyone else in the ensemble really steps up to fill that void. Emily Blunt is an absolute star, really selling the fear, desperation and sheer terror this mother is experiencing while navigating these life or death situations. Much of the emotional impact of the story is delivered through her performance. Millicent Simmonds was great in the first film, but she’s just incredible here. She has stepped up drastically and delivered a stand-out performance that makes her character’s journey the most thrilling and engaging in the film. She’s got the most eventful arc and has the most to do, yet doesn’t miss a single beat.
Noah Jupe didn’t make as large of an impact in the first film, but he’s definitely got more to do here, delivering a good performance through a number of key scenes. The new addition in Cillian Murphy is a very welcome one, playing a character with experiences that are very different than those of the Abbott family, and bringing something fresh to the franchise. His performance, and his character, grows as the film progresses, instantly fitting into the world and bringing another character to root for.
In the end, A Quiet Place Part II is an incredible continuation of the first film’s story that really doesn’t miss a beat. The narrative is engaging, the performances are stellar and it’s thrilling from beginning to end. The score, cinematography and power of silence combine to make this a thoroughly entertaining and spine-tingling adventure. John Krasinski has once again crafted a horror thriller that manages to maintain a high level of tension for its entire runtime, without dropping the ball for even a minute. If another horror movie releases this year that tops what this film has achieved, I’ll be impressed.