A Quiet Place: Part II (aka A Quiet Place: Part 2 / A Quiet Place 2) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
2018’s A Quiet Place was such a thrilling experience of a creature feature for its absence and clever use of sound. The film opened with a family collective remaining absolutely silent as they trek through a deserted and ravaged town. When one of them makes a noise, we see what happens when the monsters who only attack based on sound strike with violent and swift aggression. Part II opens much differently, starting on Day 1 of the creatures attacking when there was still a world of sounds. But the film proves to be far more than a prequel in how it ups the ante on the tension and nail-biting aspects that made the first film so remarkable.
Picking up where the last film left off, Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) continues to fight for the survival of her children; the deaf Regan (Millicent Simmonds), the cautious Marcus (Noah Jupe), and their latest addition of a baby. Before that, however, we’re treated to setting up a bit of the local town where the Abbotts once resided, where their Evelyn’s husband Lee (John Krasinski) was once alive. It is during this prologue that establishes an old friend of Lee’s, Emmett (Cillian Murphy). He also had a son and, as we soon learn, he lost his family during the invasion of apt-listening monsters.
A new mission arises for the Abbotts, having discovered the weakness for the crippling monsters lie in audio feedback. They come across a radio frequency playing the same song over and over again. If they can find that station and play the feedback of Regan’s hearing aid, the monsters can be taken down with ease. However, a weary Emmett is reluctant to help, leaving it up to the determined Regan to force him into doing the right thing. While they venture off to dangerous parts unknown, Evelyn and Marcus try to hold down the fort of their new base in a factory, which is not easy with a crying baby. Their only hope is oxygen tanks to keep the baby quiet and they’re in short supply.
The second part of the Quiet Place saga expands just enough on the world to make it more appealing while still carrying that edge of its creative sound editing. We get to see more of the town before it went to shreds, making the adventures through the aftermath all the more cathartic. We get to see how a community of boaters turns violent against outsiders. We view more of the wreckage with savaged buses and trains strewn about a wilderness where the ecology grows wild in the absence of man. We also get to see an isolated community not affected by the monsters and, naturally, watch it crumble as well.
The editing is also spot-on with increasing the nail-biting aspects and the intensity, where the jump-scares are not just fakeouts. There’s a moment when three separate stories are all perfectly tuned to amp up the tension and anxiety. Will the oxygen be acquired? Will Emmett survive? Will Marcus outsmart the monster? It all bubbles up so brilliantly, especially with so many bookended payoffs.
A Quiet Place Part II isn’t quite as subdued as the first film but it does still manages to increase the scary and nerve-wracking moments that made the first film such a horror treat. It’s also finely trimmed that it never feels as though there’s a wasted moment or an aspect is lingered on for too long. It’s enough to make one all the more eager for a Part III.