John Krasinski’s follow up to his wildly successful directorial debut was one of the first casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic. A Quiet Place: Part II was originally supposed to be released in March 2020 the week that the worldwide lockdown began, and it consistently avoided the move to streaming because of its creative prestige and unique theatrical experience. After over a year of waiting, it’s a pleasure to report that the experience was well worth the wait.
A Quiet Place: Part II picks up with an incredible opening flashback to the day the world went silent. The film then carries on directly from the end of the first film. Emily Blunt’s Evelyn Abbott and her remaining family must leave the comfort of their home to venture out further in the apocalypse than ever before. The families’ discovery of a secret weapon against the monsters at the end of the first movie becomes the key to a new life for those who are left.
Krasinski’s character returns in the instantly iconic opening flashback scene, but his main role in this film is behind the scenes. His writing and directing skills are incredible to witness. The movie feels like a labor of Krasinski’s love. Even though his behind the scenes talent has not been tested beyond the Quiet Place franchise, Krasinski does this niche so well that he deserves the recognition for his talents as a writer/director.
With Krasinski gone on-screen for the most part, the entire cast is given more time to shine (even beyond their showstopping performances in the first film). Blunt fully takes the lead as a newly single mother balancing her duties as a mother with the difficult choices she must make to survive. Noah Jupe may have a smaller, less dynamic role as the eldest son Marcus, but his incredible acting abilities came through to provide a gut-wrenching performance that reminds us what they are fighting for (and against). Cillian Murphy does a good job in a new role that tries to fill in the space left by Krasinski, but the character is written as support for the main family which exactly what the franchise needed (no more, no less).
The real shining star of this film is Millicent Simmonds’ performance as Regan Abbott. Simmonds, a real-life deaf actress who portrays a deaf character on screen, steps into a full leading role in this film. Regan effortlessly takes up the space and the legacy left by her father, and Simmonds is given the chance the prove that she was not just token casting. Murphy is her primary scene partner which serves as the perfect juxtaposition to her father’s previous role in their survival. Krasinski’s script does a lot of the heavy lifting to set up Murphy as a potential replacement for Krasinski, but in the end, his daughter is the one that carries on the family legacy.
As for its place in the franchise, A Quiet Place: Part II does look to the future and sets up at least a trilogy. While the end of the first film did leave on a cliff hanger, it was done in such a way that a sequel was not necessary. The end served its purpose to leave us with an open-ended glimmer of hope for the characters we care so much about. Since the first movie was successful, we were luckily able to continue with the story in a way that complimented the end of the first without taking away from its brilliance. That is not the case with A Quiet Place: Part II.
The sequel follows the pattern of famous middle installments of a franchise like Empire Strikes Back and Avengers: Infinity War. In the end, our heroes are separated, the threat still looms, and the main story is just beginning. A third instalment in the franchise is already on the way with Mud director Jeff Nichols taking over for Krasinski behind the scenes. While Nichols is an excellent choice and his script is based on Krasinski’s idea, I would personally urge Krasinski to reconsider leading the final chapter. It’s so rare that a blockbuster franchise with so much depth and individuality, and it’s even more rare to have it stay like that. I would love to see spin-offs and continuations by different talent in the future, but since the Quiet Place franchise will be part of Krasinski’s legacy forever, he should finish the foundation in his pure, singular, artistic vision.
Filmnetic Grade: A+