WHAT I LIKED: Because it was packed with scenes about people navigating love, human connection and joy within its terrifying world of silent dystopia, John Krasinski's first 'A Quiet Place,' was arguably a film about family more than it was simply an atmopsheric horror. This sequel on the other hand spends most of its time with the characters separated to focus all of its attention on building that hair-raising tension throughout.
After a brief flashback, it picks up where the first film left off, but then quickly sends the survivors on their own respective journeys. After that, it's the way the film cuts between the daughter, the mother and the son in their own separate predicaments that makes it all so terrifying and engaging.
On the one hand, that's because each of the three seem even more exposed and at the behest of their own survival instinct because of their solitude, but it's also because Krasinski brilliantly chooses to edit their journeys together to push you further and further to the edge of your seat. He'll confidently cut away from moments of vulnerability to leave you on tenterhooks, then simultaneously ratchet up the peril for each one until he's masterfully cross-cutting between them by the time the tension fully explodes.
That relies on some brilliant editing from Michael P. Shawver so that it doesn't feel jarring, as well as another great score from Marco Beltrami, but it's all equally helped by the fact that the narrative is so simple. Yet again, there's nothing complex going on; it's just three characters on their own terrifying missions for survival, and you're hooked by the atmosphere of the filmmaking, as well as by the fact you care about the characters.
The latter quality is largely down to the performances, as - with the possible exception of Millicent Simmond's young Regan - none get any particular development or arc. You just feel the peril they're in and the longing they have to survive together because of the conviction that Simmonds, Emily Blunt and Noah Jupe - as well as new addition Cillian Murphy - bring to their roles. That coupled with the masterful structural direction means you've got yourself a perfectly atmospheric horror sequel that could have easily fallen flat but simply never lets up.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Sure, some of the touching stuff about family is absent, but in that place is arguably a film that's more chilling, and perhaps even more satisfying by conclusion.
VERDICT: An atmospheric horror film that separates its characters and cuts them together to build tension perfectly, 'A Quiet Place 2,' shows director John Krasinski knocking it out the park yet again.