2018’s A Quiet Place was a critical and box office sensation and a breakout hit for director John Krasinski. One of the aspects that made that film great was its simple concept: if you make a sound, your life could be over. Krasinski crafted a terrifying, thrilling film and one that put Krasinski on the scene as a director.
With A Quiet Place Part II, Krasinski shows his growth as a director. He keeps the tension tight, the thrills non-stop, and the story interesting while showing us brilliant filmmaking techniques and getting great performances from his cast. This is a sensational horror sequel.
A Quiet Place Part II starts off by showing the first day the mysterious creatures appeared. It opens on Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) picking up oranges and water for his son Marcus’ (Noah Jupe) baseball team from a small convenient store on the town’s main street. While watching the game with his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), younger son Beau, and a number of local townies, they notice a huge explosion in the sky that is a bit too close for comfort. Unsure of what the explosion is, everyone leaves the baseball game and heads to their cars to head home. The town is then taken over by the mysterious creatures, who are causing complete chaos and destruction to everyone and everything in town. It is one of the most intense opening scenes I have seen in 2021 and expertly crafted by Krasinski, who ramps up the tension and terror right from the get-go.
The film then picks up right where the first film left off. Evelyn has just lost her husband, their barn is on fire and flooding, her new baby is bawling, and the mysterious creatures still lurk close by. Realizing there is nothing left for them at this home, Evelyn, Regan, and Marcus must pack up and travel elsewhere to find help. On their journey, Marcus is horrifically injured and saved by Emmett (Cillian Murphy), an old family friend who has lost his entire family and is now hiding in an old warehouse and reluctantly allows the Abbott’s to stay with him.
That evening while listening to the radio, which is usually nothing but static, Marcus hears “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darrin, confirming there might be people out there. Regan quickly realizes that “Beyond the Sea” isn’t just a song on the radio, but a clue that there might be a reachable island of civilization away from the creatures. Regan sets out to find this island without telling Evelyn, which forces Emmett to go out and search for her. The movie then focuses on two stories; Regan and Emmett trying to survive their search for the island and a boat to reach it, and Evelyn trying to get first aid supplies to help Marcus while he takes care of the baby.
Whenever a newer director has success like Krasinski had with A Quiet Place, an aura of hype circles around them, hoping that they can repeat their success while also growing as a director and storyteller. With A Quiet Place Part II, Krasinski has elevated himself to a real-deal filmmaker. He expands the world to give us more information about the creatures and the world the Abbott’s live in, but adds even more mystery to it, like bringing in the terrifying marina people in one of the film’s most intense sequences. Krasinski also flexes his technical muscle, with great sound, editing, and cinematography, all of which make the film just as tense as the first film.
Krasinski’s filmmaking here reminded me a lot of a young Spielberg and you could look at A Quiet Place Part II as Krasinski’s Jaws. Though not nearly as good as Jaws (to be fair, not a lot of movies are), what both filmmakers do is take simple, high-concept plots and elevate them to great pieces of suspenseful cinema. Though not as deep or thought-provoking as Spielberg’s work, there are moments in A Quiet Place Part II that are very Spielbergian, like when we see a silhouette shot of the creature in the window during the opening sequence that looks like a raptor from Jurassic Park to how Krasinski builds suspense in every shot is absolutely brilliant. Krasinski also gets great work from his child actors, particularly Simmonds, who gets most of the work and carries a lot of the films emotional weight, something Spielberg became a master of.
Is Krasinski the next Spielberg? I wouldn’t want to put that kind of pressure on any new filmmaker. But there are elements of Krasinski’s filmmaking that make me excited for the Krasinski’s future as a filmmaker.
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