No one could have predicted that a Michael Bay-produced horror film co-written, directed and starring Jim from the American sitcom The Office would end up being one of 2018’s strongest horror films. Even fewer could have foreseen that the surprise success of A Quiet Place’s no-noise-if-you-want-to-survive policy would become something of a cultural phenomenon, spawning several feckless Netflix knockoffs like the bafflingly popular Bird Box and the utterly perfunctory The Silence. And no crystal ball could have divined that the inevitable sequel to the sleeper hit would be one of the first major cinematic casualties of a global pandemic shutdown, delaying its release for over a year and a half.
And yet, here we are on all counts. So, now it’s finally out (in cinemas, no less!), is A Quiet Place Part II worth the wait?
Just about. It’s essentially more of the same, with no major tweaks to the formula: more misophonic alien critters and more fighting for survival for the recently widowed Evelyn (Emily Blunt), her two kids, and a problematically loud bundle of joy in tow. However, this time around, the horror is traded in for action, with significantly more screen time dedicated to the hearing-impaired Regan (the excellent Millicent Simmonds), who leaves her family’s apocalyptic fort and teams up with reluctant and paranoid former-neighbour Emmett (Cillian Murphy) in order to find a way to finally beat the creatures.
While the decision to split up the protagonists is a shrewd one, there’s no denying that Part II never truly equals the dizzyingly immersive thrills provoked by Part I. The runtime is longer, thereby loosening the original’s comparatively tighter grip and stomach-gnawing tension; and while it’s natural that a second film lacks the first’s novelty factor, the now-broadened conceit feels lower on script smarts, especially in the second half. As such, it’s a serviceable retread that shows that while precious, silence isn’t always golden.
A Quiet Place: Part II / Directed by John Krasinski (US, 2020), with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy. Starts July 1.