2018’s A Quiet Place was a smart, understated and very scary alien invasion flick that, in addition to being totally riveting, signaled the debut of a new directing talent in actor John Krasinski. The film worked as a stand-alone, and I’m pretty sure Krasinski did not intend to create a horror franchise. But a global box office of $349 million can change even a purist’s mind, and the fledgling writer/director was faced with the challenge of creating a sequel that was not, as is so often the case, perfunctory or derivative.
Part II, despite a ridiculously thin plot, succeeds for a variety of reasons. Not least because of the expanded role for deaf actress Millicent Simmonds, as the family’s deaf daughter. An effective tool is occasionally shifting to her point of view, with complete silence. She pretty much carries the movie. Krasinski’s character was I think eaten or something at the end of the first movie, but Cillian Murphy, doing a creditable American accent, ably steps in to do the alpha male honors.
Krasinski’s wife Emily Blunt of course puts in her usual committed performance. But Noah Jupe has only a limited role, and Djimon Hounsou is so criminally underused that he may as well have not shown up.
While the sightless, big-eared aliens were effectively largely unseen previously, we get a better look this time. H.R Giger would approve.
So Krasinski pulls it off. He keeps it human while maintaining a high level of suspense throughout, and his trick of dividing the action among three parties and cross-cutting among events should be off-putting but isn’t. Amazingly, this film, thanks to a ten-minute, pre-invasion establishing sequence, also works as a stand-alone. Bottom line: as unnecessary sequels go, this is one of the best. But please don’t do Part III. Big screen, please. In the dark. (97 min)