A Quiet Place Part Two

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A Quiet Place Part Two | Movie review

28 May 2021

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It’s been a long, long time since cinemas have welcomed a blockbuster movie, but finally the moment has arrived and A Quiet Place Part Two is one of the first out of the blocks. Originally written and shot in just over 12 months following the release of its Academy award-nominated predecessor, A Quiet Place Part Two fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic at the beginning of 2020, and the subsequent postponements, much to the displeasure of fans, cinemagoers and critics alike. Finally, viewers can breathe a sigh of relief – only in this instance not too loudly as danger remains lurking around every corner of this apocalyptic world.

With a brief call back to Day One when the human race fell, the film dives straight back in. Lee (John Krasinski) is gone and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) must now lead her children into the wild in search of salvation. When the family encounter former friend and neighbour Emmett (Cillian Murphy), solace seems a possibility, but for hearing-impaired Regan (Millicent Simmonds), the solution to their problems lies further afield and she embarks on a quest of her own. With the protagonists now divided, the world building commences and the threat of the outside begins to extend far beyond deadly aliens.

On the release of A Quiet Place, director, writer and star Krasinski spoke explicitly about focusing not on constructing a petrifying narrative, but instead on what it means to be a family and, more specifically, a parent. In Part Two this element is no different, but it is the children who have begun to change and mature, with Millicent Simmonds firmly taking the reins in her on-screen father’s absence, and Blunt taking a giant yet gentle step back. Murphy, who is no stranger to the horror genre, also makes a versatile and worthy addition to the cast, presenting a fresh dynamic and a character whose worldview has changed immeasurably after losing so much. 

From the off, Krasinski, along with sound designers Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl, deliver a sharp reminder of how clumsily loud everyday activities can be in a call-back scene where he parades around the local community before watching son Marcus (Noah Jupe) play a ball game. Clearly the novelty of silence that made the first instalment such a stirring success has continued, proving once again that sound is everything in the core-chilling nightmare – and, for as long as the same approach to sound editing is used, the unnerving mechanism seems not to age.

As deafening silence and Simmonds drive the plot forward, it is for the intelligent filmmaker to advance the visual storytelling element – something he does by cross-cutting climatic sequences with each of the protagonists. This editing choice might prove to be like Marmite in the final reviews, with some claiming it shatters the mounting tension and others any nerves the viewer had left, but one thing is certain: Polly Morgan’s cinematography lights up the screen with some golden shots of hope in a lost world oozing across the canvas like melted chocolate on a summer evening.

Some narrative tenets do seem out of place – the forced idea that society has changed for the worse doesn’t quite tally with the environment human beings now find themselves in, and the concept of heading for open water or an island during an invasion is logical yet hardly unique – but this nail-biting sequel is great to witness, with Marco Beltrami’s score on the big screen making its postponement to cinema release an excellent call.

Guy Lambert

A Quiet Place: Part Two is released nationwide on 3rd June 2021.

Watch the trailer for A Quiet Place: Part Two here:

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