Rather than feeling like a cliffhanger, A Quiet Place's closing shot of Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) cocking a shotgun felt like a perfect ending that needed no follow-up. And if a sequel was going to happen, it couldn't be the same intimate and contained horror movie given that the Abbotts now knew how to kill the aliens.
John Krasinski – who takes on sole writing credit here – seemed to understand this too and rather than doing a needless retread of the original movie, he looked to develop the world with an expansive and action-heavy sequel. A Quiet Place Part II is the Aliens to A Quiet Place's Alien – and that's no bad thing.
The claustrophobic horror might have been mostly replaced by bigger set pieces, yet A Quiet Place Part II is still horribly tense and just as terrifying as the first movie.
While you might think the Part II suggests the sequel picks up immediately after the memorable ending to A Quiet Place, Krasinski decides to take us right back to the beginning.
During an astonishing cold open, we see the true horror of the alien invasion unfold, showcasing Krasinski's confidence as a filmmaker, blending intense action with character beats that fill in gaps from the first movie. You'll already be clenching every muscle (even though you know the Abbotts survive) and the title hasn't even been shown.
A Quiet Place Part II then jumps from Day 1 of the apocalypse to Day 474, moments after Evelyn killed the first alien. The house isn't in the best shape after the traumatic events of the previous night, so Evelyn is forced to head out into the world with Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and her newborn baby.
It doesn't take long for them to come across old family friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who reluctantly helps them and gives them shelter. But while they might have the key to beating the aliens, the Abbott family are about to realise that the aliens might not be the only threat to their survival.
It's not only the bigger set pieces that make A Quiet Place Part II an expansive sequel as Krasinski avoids grounding the family in another single location. Instead, he branches out the action to follow three different plots, cross-cutting between them to ramp up the tension at key moments.
The approach might make you long for the tight focus of the first movie at times, especially whenever it cuts to Marcus who is lumbered with the weakest story of the three. However, it succeeds in making the sequel unique as it manages to deliver the tension of the first movie without being a direct retread. When they all come together in a gripping finale, you'll forgive any minor flaws as Krasinski crafts another terrific climax.
Regan's journey with Emmett as she tries to live up to the legacy of her father is by far the movie's strongest story. Millicent Simmonds effectively becomes the lead of the sequel, with Emily Blunt in more of a supporting role, and Simmonds rises to the occasion with a magnetic and powerful performance. She was great in the first movie, but this truly feels like a star-making turn.
It's through her that A Quiet Place Part II manages to land emotional beats to go with the sheer terror of its set pieces. The first movie delivered a gut punch with the sacrifice of Krasinski's character, and Simmonds ensures that we feel that loss as heavily as Regan does. There's not quite a grandstand "I have always loved you" moment, but her endearing connection with Emmett brings quieter heartfelt moments.
Krasinski never forgets that A Quiet Place Part II is a horror movie and keeps the well-crafted scares coming at a pace. The very concept of not making a noise is such an effective one that it works as well in daylight as it did in the dim of the Abbotts' home, and you'll find yourself holding your breath along with the characters.
It's why you'll be pleased that, as frustrating as the delay has been, the sequel was kept back for a cinema release. You just can't replicate the absolute silence at home and the incredible sound design wouldn't be half as effective. It's absolutely a horror movie made for a communal, big-screen experience, especially when Krasinski lands a wince-inducing moment that rivals the nail gag in A Quiet Place.
A Quiet Place Part II matches the tension and horror of the first movie and manages to deliver something new that expands the world, too. Any doubts you had about a sequel will be silenced.
A Quiet Place Part II is out now in cinemas.
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