Josh Barton’s review published on Letterboxd:
Silence is not enough.
Having screened to a number of critics in March 2020, A Quiet Place Part II very much lived up to its name by asking them to keep quiet about the film for a whole year while the world dealt with a pandemic. Following its smash-hit predecessor, which was one of my favourite cinematic experiences of the 2010s, this sequel does what all good sequels should do; ups the ante and builds on a successful formula to deliver another nerve-shredding cinematic experience that makes for the perfect film to return to the cinema for.
Following the events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe) now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realise the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
After a brief opening sequence that gives some background to the day the monsters that hunt by sound arrived on Earth, A Quiet Place Part II picks up right where the first film left off. The Abbott family are one less after the father's sacrifice but they are a determined bunch, setting off straight away to find a new home in a world where the slightest noise could be the last one you ever make. With a newborn baby to now worry about, it certainly isn't an easy task for the family, and John Krasinski doesn't hold back in making them go through absolute hell to find what could be a safe place to settle down.
Krasinski cranks the tension up to almost unbearable levels throughout and it really does filter through to the audience, sheer silence all round as we all sat fully immersed in yet another crowd-pleasing experience in the franchise. Remember the exposed nail on the stairs from the first film, which gets a brief cameo appearance early on here, causing an anxiety inducing sequence in the first film? There's another moment quite early on in this sequel that properly caught me off guard, making me wince and setting my heart racing as the monsters get ever nearer as a result. There are plenty of moments like this throughout the film, simple in execution yet effective to its audience, something that Kraskinski has done incredibly well now across both films.
The film's excellent sound design plays a major part in the success of A Quiet Place Part II, Millicent Simmonds' Regan Abbott an integral part to it all with the film drifting between total silence, creating a real sense of empathy towards Regan in particular living in this new world, and sudden loud noises, coming mostly when the monsters attack, reminding you of just how high the stakes are when the smallest amount of noise is made. Michael P. Shawver's editing helps keep the film tight, ninety-seven minutes absolutely flying by, his work filling a number of scenes with suspense aplenty, one in particular with members of the Abbott family across different locations simultaneously trying to work their way out of a tricky situation being a standout example of this. The special effects work on the monsters, with their freaky design, is again top class as expected from the team at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).
A Quiet Place Part II welcomes back the trio of Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe who make up the Abbott family, each of them feeling the pain of losing a dear one but having to pull together to stay alive and raise their new family member in such difficult circumstances. Blunt is a strong leading presence as always, taking up the role of warrior mother cradling a baby in one hand and a shotgun in the other, while Noah Jupe builds on his character to step-up and become the man of the house with his father now gone. Both deliver impressive performances however, it's Millicent Simmonds who shines again as the emotional heartbeat of the film, the power of her performance coming through in the gestures and emotions conveyed in what can only be described as a traumatic experience for her character. Cillian Murphy makes for a great addition to the cast, as if that was ever in doubt, one of the very best around at acting with his eyes.
If there was ever a film worth going back to the cinema for, A Quiet Place Part II is it, an IMAX screen ensuring it was a memorable return for myself at that. The popularity of these films may stump some but I really do love both of these films, this sequel in particular sure to be one of my favourite cinematic experiences of the year.