Considering most folks haven’t been back to a movie theater since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s an extra layer of fear to “A Quiet Place Part II.”
There, in a big, dark room, you wonder if someone will make a noise that will awaken those huge bug-like aliens. Tension is at its peak – a real coup for director John Krasinski, who has found a way to make the sequel every bit as good as the original.
To remind those of what’s at stake, he goes back to the day the creatures arrived. He introduces a new friend, Emmett (Cillian Murphy), then begins the onslaught. Flash forward 474 days and mom (Emily Blunt) is trying to figure out how she can get her three children out of their home and into some place a little safer.
Like the first film, “Part II” plays many of its scenes in silence. Because the creatures can’t see but have super-sensitive hearing, they can pounce anytime a noise is made. Luckily, Blunt’s late husband set up a path that would enable them to move stealthily. (What he didn’t consider were shoes – why couldn’t they wear sneakers on those gravel roads?)
When they reach an abandoned mill, the Abbotts find Emmett, who also has experienced loss. He tries to share what he’s learned but there’s an accident (as a result of that “no shoes” rule) that requires medical attention. While mom goes for supplies, son Marcus (Noah Jupe) takes care of his baby brother and daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) works with the family friend to figure out a code that seems to be sent in a song.
Using a lot of jimmied equipment (and Regan’s cochlear implant), the two kill creatures, pilot boats and discover another area where folks can live relatively peacefully.
Cutting between the three worlds, Krasinski ups the stakes and makes small victories resonate. Here, again, he uses sound to great effect. Water rushing, twigs snapping, metal doors clanging become big deals in the "Quiet Place.” They also make the survivors savvy travelers. They know how to thwart their enemies. They’re just not sure where they’ll find them.
Blunt, far better in these films than the big blockbusters she has been given, makes you really care about her situation and her family’s fate. She gets great acting support from Jupe and Simmonds and has so many moments of quiet desperation you long for the day when she can just let out a yell.
Everything doesn’t wrap up nicely (we’ve got to have a Part III), but it comes to a point where we believe the Abbotts can survive the invasion. They may not have the shoe thing worked out, but they’re taking steps in the right direction.