What to Watch Verdict
'A Quiet Place Part II' opts for the bigger, badder, nastier route, and while the silent simplicity of the original still reigns supreme, Krasinski's sequel is a wild creature feature ride worth taking.
🤫 More monster action.
🤫 Millicent Simmonds steals the show.
🤫 Addresses backstory and further invader traits.
🤫 Overuses the same scare tactic.
🤫 Noah Jupe falls to the wayside.
🤫 Trades razorwire tension for smashy thrills.
For A Quiet Place Part II to shock audiences dumbfounded and breathless like A Quiet Place, John Krasinski needed to bottle hush-hush lightning a second time—alone. Well, comparatively “alone” given Krasinski’s sole credits as writer and director. A Quiet Place Part II is all Krasinski’s conceptualization and his ideas reach farther, into more action forward territory that evolves instead of replicates. Where A Quiet Place is about parents protecting their children from the unknown, A Quiet Place Part II is appropriately about children proving they’ve become independent, willful individuals who can face the world head-on. It’s a louder, more daylit and chaotic brand of sonic berzerker horror, but still packs a comparative wallop with no downshifts in the alien aggression department.
It’s day 474 of Earth’s current extraterrestrial occupation, immediately reuniting with the Abbott family after their property defense at the end of A Quiet Place. Lee (John Krasinski) dies a martyr, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) now leads, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) can scramble audio frequencies with her hearing aid, and Marcus (Noah Jupe) is on newborn duty. With no reason to wait around, the Abbotts approach the welcoming flame of a survivor not far away in an adjacent industrial factory and encounter an old friend in Emmett (Cillian Murphy)—who entertains no visitors. Before Evelyn and her brood vacate as per Emmett’s wishes, a shanty song plays on the radio that might be code for an island community, and Regan gets all their gears turning. Could this be salvation?
Krasinski charts waters many horror characters have mapped before—the elusive sanctuary surrounded by aquatic containment. A Quiet Place Part II is Krasinski’s opportunity to elaborate on Lee’s whiteboard inquisitions by detailing monster attributes beyond their sensational sonar, as survivors adapt to the base knowledge put forward in A Quiet Place. An introduction that flashbacks to “Day 1"—where the Abbotts flee from first encounters—is loaded with callbacks like a spaceship toy or rogue staircase nail, but Krasinski only indulges the past for a brief reminder. Where A Quiet Place is about the minimalism of the Abbotts facing only a few creatures lurking their property lines, A Quiet Place Part II allows Regan to go shotguns-up and becomes more accustomed to frequent assaults where stealth isn’t the only option. It’s not as collar-gnawing tense in its entirety but succeeds as an alternate, boomier brand of blockbuster horror execution.
Millicent Simmonds owns A Quiet Place Part II in a way that assures this her franchise, not only because Regan’s aid could be humanity’s only hope. Regan benefits from a continuation in the same tough-love maturity as she becomes the living embodiment of Lee, from his selfless heroism to pragmatic but stubborn attitude. There’s no time of mourning or ease back into the dangers of A Quiet Place—Simmonds achieves commendable character work by channeling Regan’s sorrow into a jouster’s charge forward, still showing the cracks in her adolescent guard. It’s a dynamic that works well against Cillian Murphy’s reluctant fill-in father figure since the two shoulder vastly more heavy lifting than Emily Blunt and Noah Jupe (failed by this follow-up)—the latter duo are unfavorably tasked with frequent babysitting relegation.
I was optimistically hoping A Quiet Place Part II would handle its infant issue a little differently, but alas, this storytelling mechanism remains my least favorite of both movies.
Another element of decline exists in the scares, which are less dependent on sound design that garnered A Quiet Place Academy recognition. By leaning into monster beats reliant on in-your-face encounters versus the more “Jaws like” approach of the first—where these hurdling blurs would rip across train tracks then vanish—dare I state the mystique of these chaotic killers subsides? You’ll still gasp and jolt in your seat as canvas convertible covers are shredded, but far too often the film reuses the “bat out of hell into frame” moment that first stole Lee’s son in a steamroller opening to A Quiet Place. It worked then but excites a bit less as it’s reimplemented here over and over (especially since computerized creatures were my second least favorite aspect of A Quiet Place). Regan’s hearing loss is used for muted perspective flips still to disorienting effects, yet the horror feels a tad familiar—albeit appropriately crowd-pleasing.
A Quiet Place Part II is a worthy namesake that incites fear, honors core emotional evolutions, and juxtaposes quite valiantly as the younger actors recreate the most thrilling glimpses of A Quiet Place anew. It’s a sequel that begs for A Quiet Place Part III but separately advances doomsday mythology with a ferocious snarl and bloodthirsty appetite. I applaud Millicent Simmonds for becoming the Ellen Ripley this franchise deserves, as she takes the reins and rides this bucking bronco of a horror tale with captivating heroine embellishment. It’s adventurous, heartfelt, and packs a heavy “two” punch in the “one-two” combo—a menacing creation that dutifully supports its superior original.
Matt Donato is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic who stays up too late typing words for What To Watch, IGN, Paste, Bloody Disgusting, Fangoria and countless other publications. He is a member of Critics Choice and co-hosts a weekly livestream with Perri Nemiroff called the Merri Hour. You probably shouldn't feed him after midnight, just to be safe.