By Outer Banks Voice on June 10, 2021
Any good story requires an ending, a repeatedly forgotten idea in contemporary Hollywood. The fundamentals of storytelling require the bare minimums of “Beginning, Middle, and End.” But in today’s Hollywood, one man’s “Ending” is another producer’s upcoming sequel, and another man’s “Beginning” is a new prequel, spin-off series coming soon to Disney+.
This striving to build better box office breeds a fair amount of skepticism, some of which I felt at the first announcement for a sequel to the 2018 summer hit, “A Quiet Place.” The recent horror classic was tight, original, well written, wonderfully acted, and masterfully directed by none other than TV’s “The Office” and “Jack Ryan” star, John Krasinski. Now, just as most horror hits traditionally do, we have arrived at a sequel with “A Quiet Place: Part II.”
The story begins minutes after the climax of the previous film, still set in a dystopian, apocalyptic world tormented by mysterious creatures that viciously hunt humans by the use of sound. Our remaining original heroes, the distressed Abbott family, now maintained solely by the recently postpartum mother, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), are forced to trek out deeper into the world they’d fought hard to quietly hide away from. It doesn’t take long to discover that perhaps it’s not only the creatures to be feared, as the lone family, with a few added original characters, silently fight to survive.
With double the budget, double the cast, and triple the amount of written speaking lines, there is no doubt “A Quiet Place: Part 2” has opened itself as a bigger, louder film. But with built-in expectations and previous success, the question is whether this monster movie sequel can achieve a critical victory such as a film like “Aliens,” or fall flat such as a “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”
The screen turned black from the opening sequence, the title of the film revealed itself, and I sat speechless from excitement. Yet again, and on a far larger scale, Krasinski revels in his ability to conduct a masterclass of developing and technically directing tension. By creating multiple, tightly structured, horrific sequences of quiet tension, Krasinski wastes no time stacking the deck of stakes and dangers in a domino-like fashion. The film adds one unfortunate variable after another to an already terrifying scenario, so that when one, simple mistake is made by either of the lead characters, all the dominos fall in the fashion of beautifully crafted visual chaos.
As for the story and continued emotional journey for the Abbott family, “A Quiet Place Part 2” matches the smart swiftness of its predecessor’s original script. With this, screenwriters Scott Beck, Bryan Woods and Krasinski not only manage to further the character progression and journey for our returning cast, but they also expand the world that’d been hidden away from them in the first film.
To put it simply, this film is bigger, but without any sacrifices in quality. The sound design is more complex, but still used masterfully. The monsters have more of a visual presence, and they are no less terrifying. The cast expands — now including the brilliant Cillian Murphy — but still delivers great, complex performances, particularly by the two leading children (Millicent Simmonds as “Regan,” and Noah Jupe as “Marcus”).
Though there is some fairness in the criticism of the film’s blunt, arguably anti-climactic, ending, as well as a few foolish decisions made by minor characters in the script, this is one of the few great horror sequels out there. I’m personally very excited to see where this story leads next, and it seems by the film’s recent, COVID-defying box office success, the public audiences are in full agreement.
Jack Cherry is an actor, filmmaker/critic, writer, and active student of Drama/Film at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.