Friday, May 28, 2021

A Quiet Place Part II - Review

Ironically, the first film back in theaters for a lot of people this week is the last film people were actually gearing up to see in theaters nearly 15 months ago. And what a film to return with. The original film released in 2018 to surprising praise from all corners, making a sequel almost inevitable. While everyone knows the sequel game is tough, especially in the horror genre, A Quiet Place Part II manages the impossible and turns out a film that surpasses the first in nearly every way.

Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

After a brief prologue from the start of the invasion, basically a solid short film in its own right, the film picks up right where the first ended. Without the relative safety of the homestead, the danger immediately increases, and the we get to see exactly how bleak the world has become. The immediate plan becomes safety, searching for other survivors that can help care for them in their own corner of an overrun rural New York town, and eventually try and do something about the predators that lurk in the woods.

The Abbotts first come across Emmett, played by Cillian Murphy, who is reluctant to help, having gone through enough of his own trauma in the 474 days since the it all began. Murphy excels in this distant, moody survivor role, and the sequel supports that the actor should absolutely be in more things. He eventually partners with Regan, played by Millicent Simmonds, who takes on a much bigger role this time around. Simmonds, who is deaf in real life, slides right into her role as the action heroine perfectly, bringing the brave and resourceful character she played in the first film even further.

Director John Krasinski once again gets to showcase his understanding of tension and how to transform a few visceral elements into a constant fear. Whether it’s the constant presence of an infant just waiting to give away the whole family with a simple cry or the being trapped in a furnace with oxygen slowly fading while a deadly creature lies in wait outside. Krasinski, writing solo this time around as well as directing, knows how to make the audience care about the characters and dread the horrors that seem to befall them at every turn.

In the end, John Krasinski and his crew manage to make a horror sequel that surpasses the original. The film finds a way to up the scale without losing any of the intimate and personal beats that made the first stand out as more than just a horror film. The cast is excellent with Millicent Simmonds being the ultimate highlight and Emily Blunt once again proving just how good she can be with just a simple facial expression. If this is what can be done from the first film to the second, count me in for the third film, whenever that may be.

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