(SPOILER FREE REVIEW)
If you’ve seen the first Quiet Place, and if you enjoyed it, then I feel like promising you that you will very likely enjoy the continued story here.
John Krasinski helms the sequel by writing and directing what is one of the best films of this year so far. What really delivers about this movie is not merely a genuine, persistently unnerving ambience, but the fact that we care so much for these characters since we’ve already witnessed them interact as a family unit who care for one another. This isn’t just a movie about “good people” that we are nudged to like merely because they’re the main characters. John directs these films in such a manner as to use our concern for the characters to carry the weight of the scares, rather than relying only on the peaked volume of sound effects during sudden movements. He is as careful with character development as he is precise with tearing down the walls of comfort and forcing us to be immersed with likable people in life-or-death circumstances.
Right as the studios are being introduced in the beginning, the musical score alone plays as a reminder of the atmosphere of the first Quiet Place. That eery, disconcerting twist of ominous sounds that carries with them a world taken over by a blind alien species. Just as the opening scene starts, we are drawn into a reminder of the consequences of being in such a world as we are introduced to what was (and what a sequence it is!), before returning back to where the first film left off.
The characters are put at risk. There are moments for each character that promises that there are no promises for these characters. They are each as dispensable as they are beloved and encored. The fear factor of these films so far isn’t so much reliant on the jump-scares, or the fact that the aliens are so brutal and in some ways seemingly ubiquitous—the most intense aspect to the horror-esque-ness of these films is that we actually want each and every character to survive and be okay. We don’t want anyone to suffer or to lose anything further. But they are thrust deeper into a world they must venture, or else die. Placing such likable, relatable characters in such dangerous scenarios is brilliantly delineated through the writing by John, and he utilizes this method to its fullest capacity.
There really weren’t any aspects of this film that I did not like. The night-time scenes weren’t too dark, and the lighting of the daytime scenes are reminiscent of the first film, enabling the world to flow seamlessly together. This is of course, a film that you will enjoy far more if you’ve seen the first film. Not only will it not make hardly any sense without watching the first, but the level of empathy we have for these characters is far richer by watching the first beforehand and carrying over the significance of what we witnessed prior to this follow-up story.
A Quiet Place Part II is rated PG-13 for terror, violence and bloody/disturbing images. Children under 13 really have no reason to watch this, simply for all the startling scenes involving aliens. The “terror” in the rating covers the atmospheric tension created throughout most of the film as the characters continue on the journey of survival, and this is before the aliens appear when they do. Everyone’s child is different, but I don’t see a relevant reason to take a child into a theater to view a film with such heavy material. There aren’t really any moral lessons a child could take away from a viewing; this is much more of a story in which adults can feel connected to the purpose of surviving in order to be with those we love for as long as we can.
I give A Quiet Place Part II five stars. There’s something about watching movies that never gets old. Before the film even begins, John Krasinski is filmed for a brief intro just thanking the audience for coming to theaters to watch this film. Not only is it a humbling reminder of the restrictions of the past year due to COVID-19, it’s also refreshing how much fun it can be to just go to the movies to be at the theater, eager to watch a well-made film. This film was well-made. And… yes, there will be a third film. This is not a spoiler, and when you see the film, you’ll know why. But we will have to wait until 2023! Until then, there’s plenty of Marvel films and shows to catch up on.