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Silence proved golden in John Krasinski’s hit directorial debut horror A Quiet Place back in 2018. As audiences’ collective senses and hairs were raised by a family surviving the sound stalking alien invaders that had terrorised and all but ravaged the earth. Now, it is time to return to this post-apocalyptic style near future, in the long awaited Part II, which has been much delayed by a very real plague, but its return would not be denied, and cinemas are the best place to be for what is one of the greatest horror sequels in recent memory. In fact – I threaten backing myself in a minority opinion corner here – A Quiet Place Part II breathes that rare air of being a sequel that is even better than the original.
Starting off with one of the best pre-title opening sequences in recent horror history (and the longest since the likes of 2009’s Friday the 13th reboot), the film briefly focuses on day one of the alien monsters’ arrival. Then we dart back to the grim present, re-joining the beaten and desperate remnants of the Abbott family as they just might have discovered an unexpected audible key to victory. However, when they encounter old family friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy), held up beneath ground in an abandoned facility, young Regan (Millicent Simmonds) sees her chance to take this fight back against the monsters to a bigger scale but the risks are great and the threats all begin to start stacking up.
With echoes of earlier (better) Walking Dead survivalist story beats and intense monster action, there is an impressive sustained suspense throughout, with so many chair edge set ups you are left practically breathless for the whole duration. Suspense amplified by an atmospheric Marco Beltrami score, though this great soundtrack is even dwarfed in effectiveness by the the scenes of silence, and again audio (and lack thereof) is used cleverly and meaningfully to maximum effect. John Krasinski has skillfully, across the board, crafted an incredible palm sweating cinema experience which has you utterly hooked on these character’s sometimes near impossible journey of survival in this realistically shattered world (Polly Morgan’s nature reclaimed cinematography is very authentic). The storytelling is just truly top notch and these aggressive and unique creatures maintain and expand their deadly menace, in a film that allows this world, its rules and its characters to widen and grow, leading to a surefire conclusion in an inevitable Part III.
The cast are all terrific, led by Emily Blunt’s Evelyn, a mother who only has her young family left and will do all it takes to stay alive and moreover to keep them safe, despite multiplying insurmountable odds. While young Millicent Simmonds as Regan develops into a woman of her mother’s and father’s mould, as she takes it upon herself to do what is necessary and continues to use her perceived weakness (her deafness) as the ultimate strength, which once more is one of the stories most brilliant and inspiring themes. Also Noah Jupe as brother/son Marcus, gets a greater role of responsibility to take, going through hell to stay alive and keep the hope of his family’s future alive too. While newcomers like Cillian Murphy’s beaten down Emmett and Djimon Hounsou’s big hearted survival community leader are excellent new faces in this ongoing battle to save humanity, in spite of its flaws.
After this horrifying last year, A Quiet Place Part II not only feels wholly worth the wait, it feels kind of appropriate in its story and themes of isolation, loss, being ravaged by forces beyond our understanding and control, and how to fight back. See it and revel in the power of the cinematic experience at its rawest and most engrossing level. Goosebumps.
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