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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

[Review] ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Makes for an Unexpected and Satisfying Continuation

A Quiet Place proved that even the most familiar of ideas could be transformed into gripping horror with the right voice at the helm. Writer, director, and star John Krasinski pared back the creature feature to its simplest suspense mechanics, channeling his inner Steven Spielberg and focusing instead on the intimate plight of a family struggling to exist amidst an apocalyptic invasion with serious emotional heft. He employed serious technical scare crafting and brilliant use of sound to perfect one tense piece of horror that audiences went crazy over. It was so well crafted that A Quiet Place made for a taut, self-contained story strong enough to stand on its own; the Abbott family saga seemed firmly concluded, did they need a sequel? Fortunately, Krasinski continues to prove quite adept at brilliant genre storytelling, and A Quiet Place Part II builds upon the first film in surprising, intimate, and sophisticated ways.

Mirroring the opening sequence of the first film, where we first met the Abbott family in a dormant and abandoned pharmacy, A Quiet Place Part II begins in that same pharmacy pre-invasion. We see Lee Abbott (Krasinski) interacting with the owners, picking up provisions for the little league baseball game where the rest of his family awaits. A happy, small-town weekend outing lasts peaceful for only a beat before large debris from space comes crashing through the atmosphere; an intense invasion has begun. Though not as shocking as the first film’s cold open, the symmetry of the setting is clever.

After this, the central narrative picks up right where the first film ended. The surviving Abbott family members have had their home destroyed, and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) must find a new shelter for her children Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and her newborn baby. Even though they discovered a means of stopping the alien threat, killing the creatures remains challenging and the world as dangerous as ever. Venturing outside their farm comes with a whole new set of challenges that continues to leave their lives on the edge.

Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Emmett (Cillian Murphy) brave the unknown in A Quiet Place Part II.

Cillian Murphy is a significant new addition to the cast; his character Emmett a complicated mystery that unfurls slowly throughout the film. He’s shown briefly in the opening, but the events post-invasion have left him irrevocably altered. While Emmett factors prominently into the latest chapter of the Abbott saga, A Quiet Place Part II truly belongs to Regan. Her relationship with her father factored prominently into the first film’s narrative and character arcs, and his absence continues to shape her story. His ultimate sacrifice weighs heavily upon her as she struggles to forge her own identity and path forward. Simmonds is more than up to the task of carrying the load, both emotionally and physically. Her arc here is incredible, offering both heartfelt moments of heartbreak and soaring moments of triumph. She also handles action sequences with absolute ease, of which there are many.

Krasinski doesn’t break the mold here. He sticks closely to what worked in the first film, particularly in terms of scare crafting and wielding sound and silence like a well-oiled fear machine. It’s in his complete understanding of balance, of knowing exactly how much to show and how much to hold back that’s exemplary. That Krasinski is still so early in his directorial career makes this all the more impressive. With this sequel, he expands the world and mythology just enough to perpetuate wonder and allure, but still small enough to retain the earnest intimacy that carried the narrative of the previous film. It’s not an easy line to walk. Being that fans have had time to acclimate to this world, Krasinski’s consistent smart choices, especially in focusing on character work, keeps the momentum going forward even when some of the shiny novelty has diminished.

Overall, A Quiet Place Part II makes for an excellent continuation that offers the thrills and feels audiences fell for previously. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, nor does it shake up the formula at all. Meaning if you weren’t a fan of the first film, this sequel likely won’t win you over. It does, however, offer surprises in terms of narrative; the marketing kept things pretty close to the chest and Krasinski takes the Abbott family to some unexpected places in this chapter.  There are plenty of well-earned scares, and some that don’t pack as strong a punch as they once did. Murphy is a fantastic addition, but this is above all Simmonds’ show, and she nails it. A Quiet Place Part II makes for a satisfying, worthwhile sequel. Here’s to hoping Krasinski continues to explore the genre space.

Regan (Millicent Simmonds), left, and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) brave the unknown in “A Quiet Place Part II.”



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3609954/review-a-quiet-place-part-ii-makes-unexpected-satisfying-continuation-suspense-filled-story/

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