Sequels don’t usually get my juices going but this follow-up to the 2018 hit movie makes all the right moves. Writer-director John Krasinski wastes no time in revealing the spindly alien creatures who caused such havoc last time… and gives us ample time to examine the disgusting details of their anatomy.
But it’s the human factor–amazing ingenuity and a dogged refusal to surrender—that again takes center stage. Calm and cool-headed as ever, even without her husband to protect her and her family, Emily Blunt sets a great example for her children, an adolescent son (Noah Jupe) who’s braver then he realizes and a daughter (Millicent Simmonds) who refuses to treat her deafness as a shortcoming. A family friend played by Cillian Murphy isn’t convinced that humanity is worth saving, but his cynicism is undone by what he and the kids are able to accomplish.
I didn’t watch A Quiet Place Part II with a notepad to mark each “act” with a beginning and end-point, so I can’t tell you how many set-pieces this briskly-paced movie contains. That’s a tribute to how well Krasinski has crafted his screenplay. Each segment keeps you on the edge of your seat until it runs its course and you have a chance to breathe; then we’re on to the next.
We’ve seen the two youthful actors do splendid work before, Simmonds in the original film and Jupe in a handful of other parts (like Christian Bale’s son in Ford v. Ferrari and Nicole Kidman’s boy in The Undoing), but they outdo themselves here. Krasinski has given them a marathon of suspenseful showdowns, all of which depend upon us relating to their plight and believing their decision-making skills.
A Quiet Place Part II deserves to succeed because it’s so good—not just because it’s coasting on an earlier hit. Like any sequel it can’t offer a fresh core concept…but it can extend the thrills and chills without seeming forced or contrived. Krasinski learned what worked the first time around (in the script he wrote with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck) and has applied those lessons to this crowd-pleaser.