Will this scary sequel be your port of call once cinemas reopen? Gemma Creagh reviews John Krasinski’s tension-filled offering.
Over a year after its planned release date, A Quiet Place Part II certainly makes a bang as it finally hits the big screen.
This sequel to the much-praised 2018 offering ramps up the action and doubles down on the wholesome family bonding. Opening in the same store in Nowheresville, USA as the original, we’re introduced to a flashback of the bustling, pre-invasion small town. Among friends and neighbours, the Abbotts cheer on young Marcus (Noah Jupe), who’s working up the nerve to bat for his baseball team. In the midst of this quaint celebration of all things Americana, we’re introduced to one surly father, Emmet, who’s played by none other than our very own Cillian Murphy. Cillian forgoes his lovely Cork brogue for a rather convincing redneck drawl and some truly spectacular facial hair, which really comes into its own later. With an explosion in the sky, all hopes of a home run are lost, as the game is interrupted by the arrival of some very scary and unwelcome creatures.
The sequel then kicks in around a year and a half later and Evelyn Abbot (Emily Blunt), her deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), her son Marcus, and her newborn baby escape their home as it burns to the ground. In what is now a deserted wasteland, the Abbots begin a dangerous journey to find out who has been lighting fires in the hopes of establishing some semblance of a safehouse. Meanwhile they are hounded by these unsightly, blind beasts, drawn towards their prey by the slightest of sounds.
For many viewers, the post-apocalyptic vibes could hit too home for the year that’s in it. Plus any fans of The Walking Dead will find the plot covering what is well worn territory – albeit with much less blood. In fact, a word to the squeamish, this film delivers quite a bit of violence with very little gore. What remains the unique selling point of this franchise, is down to the beasts themselves; their blindness and sensitivity to noise, means both minimal dialog, and a fantastic sound design that carries the tension throughout this film.
In a cast of heavyweights, Millicent Simmonds delivers another standout performance as her arc fuels the action. Like her character in the film, Millicent is deaf – an important piece of casting that signifies a change in the way differently abled are portrayed on screen by Hollywood. Cillian, as always does us proud, bringing depth to a rather superficial character that left in the hands of anyone else, could have been campy or trite. When it comes to hats, John Krasinski wore every single one going, as he acted in, wrote, directed and co-produced this sequel. Rumour has it, he may have even worked as Best Boy at one stage. But his diligence has paid off, this film proves once again, he has risen far beyond his lighthearted sitcom roots to become a force in Hollywood.
In this well realised world, a number of things still ring untrue – for a family with two teenage children in such a high pressure situation, those levels of affection are… well… to put it kindly, unrealistic. Certain plot points have solutions that are quite far fetched, and the notion that any young teenager who grew up knowing only a smartphone could become a mature cartographer didn’t quite land either. Plus, it seems a little unfair that Emily Blunt managed to get such fabulous highlights in her apocalypse, while the rest of us had roots down to our ears in ours.
Plot holes and hair jealousy aside, there’s plenty to love in A Quiet Place Part II. With a chilling sound mix, jump-scares for days and nail-biting sequences that will have you squirming in your socially distanced seat, there’s no better way to mark your return to the cinema.
In Cinemas from 7th June 2021