A QUIET PLACE PART II (REVIEW)
Dir. John Krasinski
Reviewer. Dan Cook
One of the true classics of this generation, John Krasinski’s A QUIET PLACE was a brilliantly conceived yet deceptively simple horror thriller that silenced audiences worldwide with its perfectly executed scares and slow burning intensity. Earning a healthy amount at the box office and generating uncharacteristically universal praise from critics, A QUIET PLACE remains one of the great horror achievements of our time. Now, the story continues with A QUIET PLACE PART II, an equally nerve-shredding gem that really does feel like a natural continuation of the first film rather than the forced studio mandated sequel that so many follow ups come across as.
Beginning with a very effective prologue that explains how the killer monsters arrived on our planet, A QUIET PLACE PART II immediately picks up the action of the previous movie and sees Emily Blunt’s widowed Evelyn and her children Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and her baby son leaving their destroyed home to seek shelter from the vicious sound-sensitive creatures that have all but decimated life on Earth. Their perilous travels lead them to the fortified home of Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a former friend of the family who reluctantly agrees to rescue Regan after she comes to believe that she may hold the key to mankind’s survival.
From its opening scene of city-wide catastrophe to its cathartic finale, returning director John Krasinski proves himself to be an absolute master of his craft, exhibiting a fluidity with both his camera and his actors that a significant percentage of his genre contemporaries could only dream of. Whether it be moving sequences of familial conversation or nail-biting moments of bloody carnage, Krasinski orchestrates A QUIET PLACE PART II like a man who has been doing the job for years and every scare, whether they be a quick sharp shock or a slow, terrifying build up all hit their mark with laser guided precision. All of these hair-raising moments are accentuated by Ethan Van Der Ryn and Erik Aadahl’s expert sound design which amplifies the tension to near unbearable levels and sets our already taut nerves on a knife edge. Several times throughout our late night screening, my wife had to alert me that I was hurting her hand because I was gripping it so tightly - especially during a hideously stressful scene of a baby in peril which as parents of a newborn almost had us abandoning the film entirely.
But beyond its well executed frights and its nightmare-inducing beasts, it is the performances that elevate A QUIET PLACE PART II above its gory B-movie trappings. As expected, Emily Blunt is once again terrific as a mother who puts her own life at mortal risk to protect her children while an unusually rugged Cillian Murphy (who, thanks to his turn in 28 DAYS LATER, is no stranger to apocalyptic worlds) is very memorable as the neighbour who becomes an unlikely hero in the face of danger.
But it is 18 year old Millicent Simmonds who proves to be the films greatest asset and whose steadfast performance as the defiant yet courageous Regan lends the film it’s solid emotional backbone. So often in the genre, children are portrayed as mere puppets to be rescued but here, Simmonds (who, like her character, is completely deaf) plays an active, rather than passive, role in many of the kinetic action scenes - making her one of the very few modern horror heroines. Far too often, young actors and actresses are overlooked during the awards season but Simmonds deserves all of the industries most prestigious prizes for her tremendous work here and I hope that casting directors beyond the world of genre cinema recognise her talents as a true movie star.
In recent interviews, both John Krasinski and Emily Blunt have revealed that there is a possibility that a part 3 may be on the horizon. For me personally, the 2nd part ends the story perfectly and while I certainly wouldn’t have a problem revisiting this terrifying world one more time, I am completely satisfied by the double bill the husband and wife duo have already created. As an emotional experience, A QUIET PLACE PART II is a rich and fulfilling one while as a horror film, it is a tour de force of pure edge-of-your-seat terror that will undoubtedly leave audiences speechless for years, if not decades to come.