Review: “A Quiet Place Part II” is even better than the first one

Review: “A Quiet Place Part II” is even better than the first one

Zach Kaplan, iNews editor-in-chief

When “A Quiet Place,” starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, came out in 2018, it was met as a welcome and refreshing change from the monotonous and all-too-similar horror movies of today. 

The concept was new, and it was genius: set in a post-apocalyptic world run by extraterrestrial monsters with extremely accurate senses of sound and that kill anyone who makes any somewhat loud noise. The concept allowed for scarier and more punctuated jumpscares, and tension throughout the entire first movie, as even the sound of the smallest leaf crunching or floorboard creaking could lead to their demise. 

The second thing that the first movie had that separated itself from the pack of predictable horror movies that have come out in recent years, is that the protagonists are actually very smart, having acquired a lot of knowledge on how to avoid the monsters. 

The character Regan, played by Millicent Simmonds, is deaf, and it’s implied that the family learned American Sign Language before the apocalypse, adding one more reason to why they were well equipped to deal with the aliens. The family house has paint marks on the floors where the floorboards creak the least, a silent security system with cameras, and colored lights, which can alert the family out and about if someone in the house is in trouble. The house, and many of the surrounding areas that the family walks on, are covered in sand to avoid making noise when they’re on the paths, and the first movie revealed that the high-pitched frequency emitted by Regan’s hearing aid is a huge weakness to the monsters. 

When I went to see “A Quiet Place Part II,” also being my first in-person movie experience since the beginning of the pandemic, I expected to find out the answers to a few burning questions. I first wanted to know how the monsters got to Earth and how the apocalypse started. The answer to that question became evident immediately, in a chilling and absolutely terrifying opening scene that’ll leave you curled up in a ball in your seat. 

The second question I wanted to know was what life was like outside of the Abbott family farm. Nearly the entirety of “A Quiet Place” was spent on the farm and the surrounding vicinity, and it was clear the Abbott family was one of only a few people left alive in the surrounding area. In the first movie, we only see one other person in the entire movie, and the person we see is the old man in the woods who yells, gets himself killed, and nearly gets Lee (John Krasinski) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) killed as well. There are also scenes throughout the first movie where Lee is sitting on the top of the farm’s tall grain silo and can see campfires and other signs of life in the distance. 

The answer to the question of what the outside world was like was answered throughout the entire movie. Apocalyptic imagery is littered throughout, in scenes like Regan discovering abandoned Metro-North train cars stopped in their tracks, or her and Emmet (Cillian Murphy) walking up the South Grand Island Bridge on the Niagara River next to dozens of cars that are backed up. What’s clear in both scenes is that both settings were the sites of massive killing sprees. 

Another thing I couldn’t help but feel added to the chilling aura of the movie is the symbolism that it brings compared to the pandemic we all have just gone through. The plot and the monsters both draw comparisons, possibly unintentional ones, to the pandemic of this year. For one, the main plot of the second movie starts on Day 474 of the apocalypse, and the last day of “normalcy” for New Yorkers was March 13, 2020, which was 445 days ago. The characters in the movie, like during COVID, had to go through a year of isolation, loss, fear, grief, and paranoia. Secondly, the eerie apocalyptic images of the town, empty and abandoned, brought back in my mind painful memories of March-April 2020, where our city was abandoned, nearly empty and eerily apocalyptic. 

One major thing that “A Quiet Place” doesn’t have compared to the sequel, is that this time around, there are two storylines unfolding at once. In the film, there are multiple times where the protagonists of both stories are in danger at the same time from different threats, leading to a whole new level of suspense and terror. 

The plot of Part II does a good job of elaborating on the post-apocalyptic world that it takes place in, answering a number of questions that the first one didn’t answer, as well as developing the storylines of each major character. 

The soundtrack, written by Marco Beltrami (who also did the music for the first one) is every bit as scary, and what I like most about this soundtrack is it doesn’t try to do too much. The main theme is composed of two notes, and even though it’s a very simple melody, it’s not any less terrifying. Beltrami uses the same tricks that he used to compose the chilling soundtrack to the first one, and I am all for it. 

John Krasinski’s character appears in only the first scene, and while Krasinski takes more of a behind-the-scenes role in this one, he did just as well directing the sequel as he did before. 

Like the first movie, the sound production team hit it out of the park, and I would say that the sound engineers on this movie are the real MVPs of why the sequel hits just as hard as the first one. 

The best part about the movie is that, for the most part, it sticks to the formula of the first movie, a formula that was successful and executed just as well the second time around. People who’ve seen the first movie can expect all the same: punctuated jumpscares, tension throughout, and an underlying storyline of sadness, despair and will to survive that pushes the movie along through a 98 minute roller-coaster ride.

“A Quiet Place Part II”

Release date: May 28, 2021

iNews rating: 9/10

Cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou