A Quiet Place Part II Synopsis: Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
Thanks to an innovative horror concept, A Quiet Place shined as a rare original IP breakout back in 2018. Critics and audiences alike raved over its hire-wire thrills and humanistic storytelling. Personally, neither of those traits were present in the final product. The maudlin family dynamics and confounding horror movie logic left an artificial aftertaste that kept me at a distance from the occasional thrills.
After a year-long delay, A Quiet Place Part II finds director John Krasinski pushing his concept to new blockbuster heights. There are pulses of roaring entertainment present throughout, but this inconsistent sequel left me with a foreboding sense of apathy.
The opening frames present a fair share of promise. Krasinski whisks audiences back to the day of the alien’s initial attack, building a sense of unease from commonplace Americana before unleashing a flurry of kinetic sequences. He’s a skilled craftsman when it comes to pulsating sequences, deploying several steady tracking shots while relaying roller coaster thrills with every attack.
A Quiet Place Part 2 also presents new narrative wrinkles to the table. With Krasinski’s Lee out of the picture, we find Evelyn, Marcus, and Regan assuming new responsibilities amidst their dire straights. With the help of former acquaintance Emmett, the quartet occasionally wrestles with grief and purpose amidst their decaying environment. Strong performance work from Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe, and breakout Millicent Simmonds elevate the material when given the chance. There are plenty of meaningful moments hinting at what these characters could become.
Even with some notable improvements, A Quiet Place Part II suffers from the same breathlessness as its predecessor. Krasinski’s screenplay feels minimalistic to a fault, rarely imbuing his vulnerable characters with the screen time needed to create meaningful development. Every character beat is struck in broad strokes, hammering a sense of pathos that doesn’t quite connect. A straightforward narrative like this can elicit deeply human moments, but Krasinski strikes out at swings for Spielbergian sentimentality.
A Quiet Place Part II never congeals into a succinct experience. Krasinski crafts a myriad of amusing thrills, yet there’s no engaging center to ground the chaotic action. Both films in this series coast too much on their unique premise, with the high-concept setup not doing enough to mask the material’s inherent emptiness.
I can see why both A Quiet Place films bolster a renowned resonance with audiences. For me, these roller-coaster thrillers still struggle to connect on a fundamental level. Hopefully, Krasinski and company show more improvement with the inevitable third entry.