By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

In 2018 John Krasinski’s fantastic horror/science fiction thriller, A Quiet Place, opened that year’s SXSW Film Festival and wowed its audiences at a packed Paramount Theater. That night, I was completely wowed, and was sold on the idea that Krasinsky is not only a talented actor, but also a tremendously skilled filmmaker. Well, the long awaited sequel was set to originally open in theaters in March 2020; however, as the nasty COVID-19 would have it, audiences would have to wait just over a year to feast their eyes and ears on the second installment. Now that things are improving, post-pandemic, it gave me much pleasure to actually sit in a theater and experience Krasinsky’s sequel. It was not only a pleasure to experience a movie meant for the theatrical experience, but it was also an absolute joy to witness that Krasinsky’s massive hit was not just a fluke. With nearly the same amount of suspense, thrills, chills and scares, A Quiet Place Part II breaks the rule that sequels are usually much more inferior to their predecessors.

Though most sequels pick up after where there first installments end, Krasinsky makes an atypical decision to give his audience a glimspse into the life of the movie’s family as they first experience the invasion of the Earth by the savage beasts that attack humanity. I won’t get into too many details of this movie’s prologue, but let me just say that this sequence displays who gifted Krasinsky is as a filmmaker and how skilled his crew is in making this sequence feel realistic, tense and viceral. After the audience gets a hearty taste of the first attack on humanity, the movie launches forward to the aftermath of the events of the first movie. Having lost their patriarch, the Abbott family decides to abandon their secure home and venture into the more treacherous outskirts, seeking shelter wherever they can find it. They manage to arrive at the bunker of their one-time neighbor and friend, Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a man who lives alone, having lost his family, and has set some traps on the outside. Unfortunately, Marcus (Noah Jupe) gets injured in one of those traps, and Emmett has no choice, but to give the family shelter until Marcus can recover.

While resting in Emmett’s bunker, Marcus and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) discover that a radio keeps broadcasting the song “Beyond the Sea” on a continuous loop. Regan deduces that the song is intended as a signal to a safer haven in a nearby island. Determined to share the aliens’ weakness with the world, Regan takes it upon herself to get this discovery to the radio station where she can broadcast a much needed signal to the surrounding areas.

Written and directed once again by John Krasinsky, A Quite Place II goes a tad larger in its scope, but never completely loses the intimacy and closeness of the family that compelled audiences in the first movie. Keeping the events focussed on the characters and their development is what keeps this movie just as riveting as the previous installment. Now, the film doesn’t quite have the same exact impact as the first movie, but I feel that is to be expected as the introduction to this world will always have a stronger effect. Still, Krasinsky delivers a movie that will keeps audiences tense, on the edges of their seats, with some beautifully executed frights.

Once again, the cast members portraying the Abbott family shine in their roles. This time, as the two younger cast members are more mature and experienced, this maturity is more evident in their performances. Both Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe are fantastic as both Regan and Marcus. They superbly show that their characters have grown and evolved, having experienced a lifetime of trauma, loss, and peril.

Emily Blunt reprises her role as mother Evelyn, but unfortunately doesn’t get to act as intensely as she does in the first movie. Still, she has her great moments in the film, but it is definitely hard to top her work in the first A Quiet Place, as her character is placed in a nearly impossible situation. This movie also introduces the character of Emmett, and Cillian Murphy is wonderful as a man who has lost everything, but is barely clinging to the humanity he once had in his heart.

As so many people have been highly anticipating this movie since 2018, my seal of approval probably won’t have much bearing on their interest in this sequel. Still, if any of my readers are uncertain whether or not this movie delivers the goods, there is no need to worry. John Krasinsky delivers a banger of a sequel that comes pretty damn close to the same level of greatness as his introduction to this movie’s world. It is a sequel I must highly recommend for the fans who had to wait over a year to finally see it.

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