MOVIE REVIEW: A QUIET PLACE PART II (2021) is the rare sequel that is as good or better than its original.


Writer/director John Krasinski delivers one of the best big-budget genre films in several years; one with heart, grit, and the importance of family firmly at its core.

It’s only been in the past few years that high-concept horror films have started to be the vocabulary of what constitutes the driving force among genre audiences in getting them out to theaters. From folk horror parables like A24’s Hereditary, Midsommar, and The Witch, to cosmic horror pieces like Mandy, Spring, and The Colour Out of Space; it’s high concept horror that now is growing the universe of fans of genre filmmaking. One of the most engaging and memorable films in that space in the past several years was A Quiet Place, helmed by actor/filmmaker John Krasinski. A Quiet Place posited a dystopian future where alien creatures have run roughshod over the Earth. These creatures are blind and guide themselves by sound. When you juxtapose that with a small family trying to survive, one with a deaf daughter, it creates a tension that is hard to escape, and Krasinski crafts setpieces in that film that deftly play against our greatest fears in such a scenario. Coupled with great performances by Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmons, and Noah Jupe, the original A Quiet Place was one of those rare genre films that stayed with you and shined brighter than other contemporary genre pieces in that same milieu like The Last of Us or The Walking Dead. Krasinski returns with another tale in this universe in A Quiet Place Part II, now also taking over as sole writer. All trepidation that this might mark a drop in quality goes out the window once you see A Quiet Place Part II, which opens in theaters on May 28th. A Quiet Place Part 2 is the rare sequel that builds onto its original organically and is, in many ways, a superior film. One that sees the film’s characters grow from their experiences in the original and opens up that world in a way that feels earned and organic.

The film opens with a flashback to Day 1 of the aliens’ arrival. We see an ordinary day, with Krasinski reprising the role as Lee. We see it’s a regular day, one where they meet with an old friend Emmett (played by 28 Days Later’s Cillian Murphy) at a Little League game. It is at this moment where the aliens land and attack and we see the family come together as they try to escape them. This is one of the best first acts in recent genre film history; it ratches up dread, with earned scares while still focusing on the core people in the film and not playing up creature design shots over narrative. We then jump to now, day 474, picking up right at the end of the first film. What’s left of the Abbott family leaves their burned-down dilapidated home, heading north. After a perilous situation, they reunite with Emmett, who has given up on life and other people, until Simmons’ Regan theorizes based on a radio song that there may be a safe homestead if they can reach it by sea. It is here that our characters diverge, with Jupe’s Marcus tasked to watch the baby, as Blunt’s Emily tasks Emmett to save Regan, as she looks for supplies to keep her baby calm and family safe.

Krasinski has to be given credit here. This film succeeds in doing what many sequels fail at in terms of providing a strong character-driven narrative. Murphy, channeling the everyday man energy that made 28 Days Later and Sunshine two of the most notable high concept-driven pieces of the new millennium and some of Danny Boyle’s strongest films of his career. Emmett opens up and grows as a person in the film and proves to be as capable as Krasinski in terms of holding down the film as the series lead. Blunt is no slouch in this department as her body language and quiet moments reflecting on what she has lost and what she cannot lose are the emotional core of the film. Likewise, Jupe and Simmons shine as the heroes of the film, while never seeming to fall into the trap of cute kid heroes like The Goonies or the kids from Stranger Things. These are people hardened by loss, doing what it takes to survive. The creature design and production design are on top of their game; providing memorable shots and moments that truly show in what desperate straits our protagonists are in. This is one of the strongest genre films of 2021 and one that lives and breathes by being seen on the big screen.

A Quiet Place Part II is the rare unicorn of Hollywood; a sequel that is better than it’s original and only adds to what made you like the original film. Krasinski’s filmmaking chops are growing and in doing so, they provide us with a truly unique horror film that leans into its high concept and makes it work as hard as it can with actors who put in the work and emotional energy onscreen to make you believe the pain and hardship to survive by any costs. A Quiet Place Part II delivers on the promise of greater films that the original left off with and opens up a world of possibilities for future films while providing closure if this is the last we see of these characters on the big screen.