Review: A Quiet Place Part II

Aspiring film critic Flynn Rodgers, 15, appreciates the silence of this horror

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The horror genre is no stranger to the famed sequel curse in cinema. Films like The Birds, American Psycho and Jaws have all had poor follow-ups that almost tarnish their legacy. Unique films have a habit of getting unnecessary studio-pressured sequels. But if director John Krasinski had fears about making A Quiet Place Part II, they were unfounded. It joins the league of films like Evil Dead 2, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and Aliens as great horror that’s lived up to or even topped their predecessor.

In the first film Krasinski crafted an apocalyptic world invaded by a terrifying threat – apex predator aliens who hunt solely based on sound. After the world crumbles to this unknown enemy, the Abbott family are left to fend for themselves with their three children, one of whom is deaf. Krasinski and his real-life wife Emily Blunt star as Lee and Evelyn Abbott.

A Quiet Place Part II serves as a prequel to the first film, with the opening depicting the beginning of the invasion when there is still a sense of hope that the enemy can be resisted. But we are then thrown out of this world and back into the hopelessness of the first film. Krasinski knew going into this film that he would not be able to recapture that unique horror of an average family man suddenly placed into a hostile and lethal environment, which demands almost total silence. So intelligently, he decided to shift the focus to be more tense and action based, putting this closer to James Cameron’s Aliens than a Ridley Scott Alien. There’s a bigger role too for character of the deaf daughter, played by the wonderfully talented Millicent Simmonds, who got her breakout role in the first film.

Blunt shines in the film but unfortunately feels sidelined by the Cillian Murphy and Simmonds plotline

One way Krasinski likes to create tension is by switching to her perspective, shot in silence. These segments are filled with painful and visceral emotion. Blunt also shines in the film but unfortunately feels sidelined by the Cillian Murphy and Simmonds plotline. After the events of the first film, she is now looking after a baby as well as her two older children. Her son is played by the wonderful Noah Jupe, who has proven himself to be one of the best upcoming acting talents. He manages to take this fairly one-note, scared character, who feels like a plot device, and turn him into one of the highlights of the film. I was disappointed by the underutilisation of the baby in the film, however, who could have brought an entirely new dynamic to a world where you must be completely silent.

There are other flaws. The pacing and act structure seems to be thrown away about halfway through, and the treatment of Blunt’s character feels somewhat patriarchal and outdated. Krasinski doesn’t allow her to grow further and instead a new man is brought in to fill her role. I do not really think Murphy’s character is essential to the film; his role could have just as easily been fulfilled by Blunt. There are still some feminist elements in the two films but they are unfortunately underdeveloped.

Overall though, A Quiet Place Part II is a wonderful horror film, well suited to being one of the first films to see now we’re allowed back into cinemas. The sheer tension and almost complete silence create an atmosphere around the cinema quite unlike anything else I have seen before. I adored this film and strongly recommend it, despite its flaws.

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