As the movie industry keeps edging closer to normality, the summer’s first big winner has been revealed; the sequel to the much beloved Quiet Place becomes the first movie to break the 100 million barrier in the US with the worldwide audience embracing it as well. It’s a smash hit, like the way movies used to be 2 years ago, and it certainly deserves it. It certainly follows the “more of the same” motto, but does not fall into the pitfalls that philosophy usually results in. A Quiet Place: Part Two is a sequel that delivers more on the qualities of the first, even if it lacks in its surprise factor; it was never going to recapture that, so Krasinski wrote and directed another incredible horror story with more variety and poignancy to keep the audience invested and satisfied by the end.
Once again written and directed by John Krasinski, starring returning stars Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe, as well as Cillian Murphy as a new character, this sequel picks up directly after the ending of the first movie and tells the story of the Abbott family learning and dealing with the dangers that lie beyond their sand-line; a line they never crossed. This opens up a world of possibilities for the filmmakers to explore and they do something very interesting: They lead the story into a three-way thrill ride. There is the story with Marcus having to learn to have the character required to survive in this world, Evelyn dealing with the aftermath of the ending of the previous movie and the events set up by the beginning of this movie, and Regan going on a “Last of Us” themed journey with Cillian Murphy’s character. This decision – to explore the characters and the world with mostly separate stories that intersect and meet each other in interesting ways – was executed brilliantly; it allows for variety in horror sequences, pacing the storytelling more effectively as the movie follows all three stories and changes when it deems it necessary, as well as creating thrilling moments where everything seems to be going haywire for the characters and the audience is holding their breath to see how (or if) they manage to pull it off.
The variety of horror is impressive to me, in particular; considering this movie is 97 minutes long and is heavily story-oriented, the variety, execution, and effectiveness of the horror was a surprise. You have the “mainstream” horror moments where loud sounds and fast movements punctuate a silent moment; however, they never feel cheap – there’s even a scene where many may mistake as a ‘false scare’, but there are details that justify its existence and that is a particularly strong point of the horror. While there is some set up and pay off for the narrative, I loved the attention to detail in the horror sequences, especially the slow, tension-building scenes that are occasionally shown. Beyond that, Emily Blunt has a lot of great moments and Cillian Murphy is always a blast to watch, but the young actors steal the show once again; Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds are both great and are given lots to work with and the movie hangs a lot on their delivery, which they nail.
As far as gripes go, there are some narrative inconsistencies – to be specific, there are some side plots or set ups that go nowhere or create more questioning of logic/character motivations than explain it or create tension. I also did not like the fact that this family that has been built up to being a unit and fighting to be together, are “split up” for the sequel; this is less of a criticism as it is explained in the movie and it makes sense (at least to me), but I did miss the moments the family members had interacting with each other from the first one. Lastly, I thought the ending (as in the events) was pretty solid, but the way the movie ended felt a bit abrupt.
Other than that, there isn’t much else left to say for this movie, as it is definitely one of those movies that thrives on not knowing much about it. If you enjoyed the first one, then the sequel is more of the same but different enough to be its own thing and win you over for its own reasons. In comparison to the first, I still like the first more, only because of how surprised I was by its quality (at the time), however it is no small feat to match that quality when the expectations are so much higher and when you have a sequel that changes so much yet is a direct sequel that feels familiar.