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A Quiet Place Part II ★★★



Director: John Krasinski

Cast: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou

Released: 4th June 2021 in UK Cinemas

A directorial debut rarely bursts onto the horror scene with quite such a bang as John Krasinski’s incongruously hushed A Quiet Place. A lean, high-concept apocalypse horror film somehow flew right above even the most optimistic expectations, marking yet another addition to the modern horror canon – this time, with a bit of monstrous flair. The sequel, aptly titled Part II, opts to up the ante and explore the desolate American landscapes with a significantly higher dose of grand action thrills, trading the unspeakable terror of the original for a much more audience-friendly, sci-fi action approach.

Picking up right where the first film left off, Part II takes practically no time to get going: following the stand-off against the blind alien creatures in the first film, the Abbott family is forced to leave their home and depart for a new safe haven. Along the way, they end up meeting an old friend: Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a grief-stricken man living at a secluded, abandoned factory, who chooses to aid the family after losing his own and venture deep into the alien-infested hostile grounds.

Unlike its horror-oriented predecessor, Part II takes a rather unexpected step into the Spielbergian realm of sci-fi blockbusters. Previously camouflaged monsters are now on full display throughout the entirety of the film’s runtime, establishing a sharp divergence from the terror of the unknown found in the first half of the original film. It’s certainly no accident that Krasinski deliberately chooses to ease the horror atmosphere: constant cross-cutting between grandiose set pieces diminishes what could be nail-biting suspense, while gun-heavy action becomes the centrepiece of this discordantly loud sequel. At a certain point, this overt fixation on shifting away from horror feels like a slight misstep, especially when it comes at the cost of narrative focus. The film’s multiple plot threads and foreshadowed events just simply don’t connect well, even when the film tries to make them work through contrived parallel editing.

Where the film loses in tension, it certainly makes up for in its care for the surviving characters. In a clever move, Krasinski gives the entire stage to the younger cast members: Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) become the true leads in the sequel, creating a genuine sense of empathy and compassion amid the world seemingly devoid of any sense of humanity. Regan’s relationship with Emmett is unreservedly the highlight of the film, which, thankfully, the sequel fully embraces in its third act.

A Quiet Place Part II builds upon the foundation of its predecessor with bigger, more intense set pieces and a nonstop barrage of monstrous scares that feel closer to sci-fi action cinema, as opposed to the lean horror nature of the original film. The sequel widens the scope and expands the universe in surprisingly creative ways, even if the individual puzzle pieces don’t always come together as one satisfying whole.

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