A Quiet Place Part II: Coming of Age in the Apocalypse

Madeleine’s Score: Loved it—telling everyone about it!
(5/5 cool points)

The sequel to A Quiet Place came out way back in May of this year, and even though I watched it right when it came out, I somehow waited until now to review it. Over Halloween weekend when social folks were out in costumes at parties eating too much candy, I sat at home in my PJs (also eating too much candy) and rewatched A Quiet Place Part II.

If you haven’t read my review of A Quiet Place yet, check it out here and know that many of my positive sentiments about the first are continued in the second. In Part II, the family that we fought and whispered alongside find themselves venturing into a bigger, scarier world.

When I first heard that there was going to be a sequel to A Quiet Place, I was concerned. After the way the first one ended, a sequel felt unnecessary. The ending of the first is beautifully Stephen Kingesque, for he is a master of the fiction short story, often ending on cliffhangers that are somehow also resolving and satisfying. Krasinski even told The Hollywood Reporter, “I had no intention of doing a sequel because I didn’t think that I could come up with anything as organic as the first one was to me and certainly nothing as personal as the first one was to me.” Yet, he managed to make a second installment that wasn’t only worthwhile, but even maintained most of the magic of the original.

The first ten minutes of A Quiet Place contained more worldbuilding and revealed more character than many movies accomplish by the time the end credits are rolling. In much the same way, the first ten minutes of Part II pack in more adrenaline and emotional resonance than other films have in their entirety. Part II starts with a glimpse at day one of the alien invasion in the family’s small town, and my heart was pounding throughout. Additionally, director Krasinski utilizes the time-honored rule of Chekhov’s Gun, including tidbits that pay dividends later in the movie and/or serve as Easter eggs for those who saw Part I.  

The plot centers around the family leaving the farm and heading out to share the vital secret they unearthed about the aliens in Part I. As their feet lift from the last bit of sand-covered pathway that their dad Lee made long ago, they step into new territory both externally and internally. What’s really admirable is how both kids get a ton more screen time, each following their own paths full of challenges that push them to grow up all too fast, as if they hadn’t already in the face of an apocalypse.

But grow up they do, and even though it was painful to watch them make some naïve decisions, it’s understandable because they’re, well, kids. The son Marcus’ role as the reluctant man of the family pulls at the heartstrings, but the real star of the show is the daughter Regan. With her bravery and determination, she proves that she’s not only her daddy’s daughter, but a strong woman in her own right. Krasinski has bragged about actress Millicent Simmonds in multiple interviews, and it’s obvious he wanted to shine the spotlight on her even brighter this time around. Good call.

Cillian Murphy’s character Emmett is also a welcome addition to the cast, manifesting as a sort of inverted version of Krasinski’s Lee, who begs the question, what would have happened if Lee had lost his family rather than keeping them alive? And of course, Emily Blunt’s performance as Evelyn, the tough-as-nails, levelheaded mama of the family is as enjoyable as ever.

Kudos to this talented ensemble on yet another fine monster movie. On a closing note, I had mentioned in my review of A Quiet Place that the use of sound (or lack thereof) is commendable. If you’re interested, check out this behind-the-scenes look at a scene from Part I in which Krasinski breaks down sound’s role in the series. You can of course check out the trailer for Part II below.