I didn’t expect to get much out of “A Quiet Place Part II,” the sequel to director John Krasinski‘s 2018 film about humanity trying to survive an attack by alien creatures that hunt by sound. Krasinski is behind the camera this go around as well, and he’s a big reason this movie is actually a really solid thriller that I enjoyed more than the first film.
The film picks up right where the original left off, as the Abbot family has faced a deadly alien invasion. Stuck in their farmhouse and running out of options, mom Evelyn (Emily Blunt) leads her children Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and her newborn infant directly into the terrors of the dangerous outside world. They’re seeking safety in other humans, but the ones they encounter aren’t exactly what they expected. The family holes up with Emmett (Cillian Murphy), desperately struggling to survive. Determined to do something to help when things feel hopeless, Regan sets out on her own to kill the invaders.
As was the case with the film’s predecessor, there is a clever use of sound that’s extremely effective (and highly creative). The silence builds a palpable tension that at times feels unbearable, even with little action happening onscreen. These people live in a dangerous world where the slightest noise could mean death, and the stakes are high for the family’s survival. All of this combines for a distressing viewing experience, where anticipatory noise in itself is unsettling. It’s brilliant and clever, and even the jump scares and startles are mostly sound cues.
The cast is great at reacting to situations with a terror that is plausible. They have to look scared a lot, reacting to mundane things like the sound of a beer bottle teetering, footsteps crunching on a leaf, or a newspaper rustling. Nothing about that may sound like an edge-of-your-seat, exciting moviegoing experience, but you will feel this movie in your bones. Most of the reason this is so effective is that Krasinski (who also wrote the script) has a willingness to put his characters in real danger. That gives the movie some gravity and emotional heft that encourages an emotional attachment from its audience.
“A Quiet Place Part II” follows the same formula of the first, but it works. Krasinski excels at visual storytelling, and this satisfying sequel continues the story in a meaningful way. It’s an all-around rewarding thriller.