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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Film rate and review: 'A Quiet Place Part II'

Krasinski comes back to direct and screen write the horror thriller sequel

Haoxian Li, 24, an Orlando resident, walks past a movie poster for “A Quiet Place Part II” at Regal Celebration Pointe theater in Gainesville on Thursday, June 3, 2021.
Haoxian Li, 24, an Orlando resident, walks past a movie poster for “A Quiet Place Part II” at Regal Celebration Pointe theater in Gainesville on Thursday, June 3, 2021.

The quietness of a dark enclosed theatre is the best way to watch the latest horror film.  

It is rare that a sequel lives up to the original film, especially in the horror genre. But “A Quiet Place Part II” undoubtedly lives up to the hype, receiving an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.  

Movie theaters are making a comeback, and several theaters are re-opening since COVID-19 pandemic-induced closures. “A Quiet Place Part II” was a box office success, racking up a total of $57 million in Memorial Day weekend alone according to Variety

The sequel is directed by John Krasinski; the screenplay was solely written by him. It stars Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. 

The film was days away from releasing in March 2020, but when the pandemic hit, Krasinski decided to pull the plug and wait for movie theatres’ return. 

“A Quiet Place Part II” is set immediately where the 2018 original film left off–the Abbott family continuously learns how to survive the hyper-listening aliens, and any noise could lead to the downfall of their life. 

Filled with tension and tone, the film starts with a prequel scene of the first day the apocalyptic world began. Life is normal as this scene depicts the family all gathered at Marcus’ (Jupe) baseball game. As the scene rushes into a turn of chaotic events, we see for the first time, the family desperately trying to survive as they hide behind a flipped cop car, staying as quiet as possible. Suddenly, we are physically seeing the very moment the aliens changed their lives forever. 

This scene wasn’t just added so viewers could see the beloved dad, Lee (Krasinski), one more time. The setting gives a glimpse into what normal life was...until the aliens invaded and started killing off the town. 

This scene was shot in one take. Krasinski’s approach was to drop the audience into the scene and have them walk with his character, Lee. The shot never breaks, so it really feels as though you're experiencing what the characters are. Krasinski says he and the crew practiced the stunts for about three weeks to avoid any safety concerns on the day of filming. He also had cameras shooting at every angle when he and Regan (Simmonds) were in the car and Evelyn (Blunt) and Marcus were in another car.

The sequel’s plot is opposite to the first movie because the family's world expands as they move away from their current home in hopes of finding safety, and furthermore, freedom from the world they’re living in. In the first film, the family learned to cope with trying to survive in their own home, but the second film expands on the characters’ growth as they are continually learning to adapt to the apocalyptic world and grieve the loss of Lee. 

In the first film, the theme was centered around the promise a parent makes to their child of always being there for them and ensuring they would do anything to protect their children. 

In part one, Lee was the hero, sacrificing himself to save his children. But the roles have reversed– part two is all about the kids. You watch them grow throughout the hour and thirty seven minutes as they now become the heroes of the film. 

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The biggest theme in this film, though, is family. This theme represents a beautiful message to be passed on through these movies, as Krasinski attributed these movies as a love letter to his children.

Evelyn doesn’t have as much screen time in this movie as she did in the first because this movie is heavily carried by the kids’, Marcus and Regan, willpower.  

Blunt still gives an emotional performance as a newly single parent and postpartum mother who now has to become the leader of the family. She has to put her pain aside and help her grieving children survive, which encapsulates the agonizing misery of a parent seeing their children in pain. 

A former family friend of the Abbott’s is Cillian Murphy’s character, Emmett, who is introduced when he saves Evelyn and her children from the aliens. 

As the film progresses Emmett gets close to Regan as he accompanies her on her quest to get to a secret, “safe” island. 

An interesting dynamic is formed when he takes on the role of being a surrogate father figure, even though Emmett is everything Lee is not. Their relationship is the most intriguing in the film as it symbolizes Regan's relationship with Lee, even though Lee is now dead. He remains the character you think about the most when watching the movie because the film is centered around loss. Evelyn, Marcus and Regan lost Lee. Emmett lost his wife and kids. But furthermore, they all lost the normalcy of their lives.  

The standout performance of the film was hands-down by Simmonds who played Regan. She displays great courage as she desperately wants to make her deceased dad proud and help keep the family safe. Her determination uproots from the first movie, as she’s packed on with guilt from blaming herself for her little brother’s death, not being there for her mom and subconsciously thinking her dad doesn’t love her. All while being deaf, she finds a clue that unlocks a whole new set of questions throughout the film. 

Now that the Abbott family is out of their home and stepping into society, they are informed by Emmett that this apocalypse has changed people. No one, now, is worth saving. This theme tackles the classic idea of apocalyptic movies where the underlying question is “what are you willing to do to survive?” But "A Quiet Place Part II”  instead tackles the question of “would you let this situation change you?”   

Despite his cold demeanor, Emmett is a good man and his journey with Regan changes his outlook on wanting to save humanity.

At the point where the film is at the full climax, both Regan and Marcus quite literally stand up to the aliens to protect their family.

This sequence shows huge character growth for both Marcus and Regan, as Marcus has developed the confidence he lacked in the first film being a timid kid and Regan as a shy, guilt-ridden girl. 

Overall, the film dives into the coming of age storyline with Regan and Marcus. All of the characters deal with loss in this film and it’s truly about them growing and grieving from the events that occurred in the 2018 film. 

But there are some questions still left unanswered. 

How did the aliens learn how to swim and how were they able to get on the island? We now know that the aliens are from space but how did they get to Earth? How will Emmett and Regan get back to help Evelyn and Marcus who are both injured? 

A direct sequel hasn’t been confirmed, but more movies in this series are being teased. 

Going forward, if the rumors are true and more films in the apocalyptic world are on their way, I would love to see a spin-off movie from Emmett's perspective. In the film, it mentions how he has a brother on base. Is he still alive? Seeing them reconnect and grow closer to the only family member he has left would enhance the overarching familial theme. 

Even though some questions were left unanswered, I believe the writing excelled at making solid points. This sequel was a strong extension to the first movie as it was handled by Krasinski, someone who truly cares about the characters because of his personal relationship with the movie. The acting was amazing, which is crucial for a film that can’t rely on dialogue to convey how the characters are feeling. However, what set this movie apart, was the tension building every time the characters move, leaving the audience on the tip of their seat knowing the aliens would approach shortly. Overall, I think “A Quiet Place Part II” is a quality horror movie, not just a great sequel.

Rate: 9/10


Contact Alexis at acarson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @Alexis_Carson99.

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