John Krasinski's horror hit of 2018, "A Quiet Place" was not intended to have a sequel, but when fans of the film clamored to see more of the Abbot family and what awaited them after Dad Lee (played by Krasinski) gave his life to save his kids, the writer-director stepped up to deliver a sequel worthy of the original in "A Quiet Place II."
Sequels are tough as no sequel is ever as good as the original but "A Quiet Place II" comes close. It's the same world of the first film, especially the scary monsters whose sense of hearing is so acute that the smallest sound from a person means certain death. This time around, however, we get to see how it all started. The opening sequence of the film shows Day 1, when the creatures came to earth. The Abbots, Lee and Evelyn (Emily Blunt), were at a little league game with their deaf daughter, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and some of their friends, cheering on their son, Marcus (Noah Jupe). When a meteor streaks across the sky, it lets the creatures loose to prey upon the screaming townspeople.
Cut to Day 474, the one after the end of the first movie, and we see Evelyn and the younger Abbots, including the new baby, leaving their burning farm in search of safety. Regan lugs a small amplifier which, when paired with her cochlear implant, exposes the creatures' vulnerability. Now, with a way to fight the monsters, there's hope they can be eradicated.
Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, and Emily Blunt in "A Quiet Place II." © 2021 Paramount. All Rights Reserved.
On the journey, Marcus gets his leg caught in a bear trap, of course screams bloody murder, and they have to run. Saved by Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a former family friend, they take shelter with him, but he's much changed. Alone, now that his whole family has been killed by the creatures, he's holed up in an abandoned steel mill. His reluctance to help the Abbots only changes slightly when Evelyn shows him the baby, asleep in his sound-proof, coffin-like, box, complete with tiny oxygen mask.
When Marcus finds a radio station that plays only "Beyond the Sea," Regan is convinced the song is a code. Knowing there's no way her mom would let her follow her hunch, she sets off alone at night, striking out for the coast, hoping that salvation might lay beyond the sea.
At this point the film splits into three separate tracks. Regan, eventually helped by Emmett, travels for the coast, Evelyn goes in search of medicine for Marcus, and Marcus, who stays in their underground hideout, takes care of the baby. No one goal is straightforward in this film.
Cillian Murphy as Emmett in "A Quiet Place II." © 2021 Paramount. All Rights Reserved.
"A Quiet Place II" was scheduled to come out last year, just as everything shut down due to the pandemic. Krasinski decided to wait until theaters re-opened to release the film because it practically screams to be seen on the big screen. The darkened room and the superiority of surround sound intensify the terror happening on the screen, especially the frightening sound the creatures themselves make as they hunt. Make sure to hold onto your popcorn!
The real treat of "Part II," however, is in watching Millicent Simmonds as Regan. The actress, herself deaf, plays Regan with determination and grit. With very little dialogue in the film, Simmonds, as well as the rest of the cast, excels at conveying their range of emotions with facial expressions and small movements only. Also, the amazing way Krasinski manipulates sound gives the audience a chance to "hear" things as Regan does, allowing us to enter her world, so different from our "hearing" world.
Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott in "A Quiet Place II." © 2021 Paramount. All Rights Reserved.
While the horror genre is not my favorite, I loved the first film and have waited, sometimes patiently and sometimes impatiently, for theaters to re-open so I could see "Part II." What impressed me the most in this portion of the Abbot family's journey is the determination and courage shown by the children. The heroes of "A Quiet Place" were the adults, Lee and Evelyn. In "A Quiet Place II," pay special attention to the kids. Afterwards, think about the children in your own life. How can you encourage them to be strong and courageous in their own little parts of the world? Once you do that, sit back and watch how they meet the challenges life places in their paths. You might be surprised at just how capable they are.
Then, you can join the rest of us in anticipation of "A Quiet Place 3" rumored to be coming out in March, 2023.