A Quiet Place Part II begins on “day 1” of the alien invasion of Earth. For the uninitiated, the first film of the series documented the life and times of the Abbot family as they gasped and grappled with an alien invasion of earth. The attacking creatures were evidently blind but had supernatural hearing abilities that made anyone on earth who made a sound a potential target for them. Lee Abbot (John Krasinski) loses his son when he naively switches on a toy that makes noise and attracts the attention of one of the creatures. Through the rest of the film, we see how Lee and his family cope with this tragedy and figure out the means to deal with the threats. By the end of it, Lee has to sacrifice himself to save his remaining children but not before he has given his children and wife a means to disarm the aliens and take them out.

A Quiet Place Part II begins by giving us a peek into the life and times of the Abbot family before the invasion. We see Lee and Evelyn Abbot (Emily Blunt) enjoy a baseball game that their son is participating in. We understand that Lee is a popular member of his society. We are also introduced to Emmett (Cillian Murphy), Lee’s friend and someone who will assume importance later in the film. Everything feels happy and fine and then suddenly the skies rain down terror on the people of the town. The aliens appear from nowhere and start killing anything that makes a sound. We swoosh forward in time from the middle of the action and reach a point where the previous film had culminated. The Abbots kill the remaining aliens that attacked their house using the earpiece that disarms them. They then decide to venture out of their home in search of greener pastures and better means to survive rather than being cooped up in a secluded place and waiting to be taken out someday.

Their journey leads them to a factory where they meet Emmett who has been holding up against the aliens. He has lost his wife and children and has become paranoid of almost everything around him. Marcus (Noah Jupe), Abbot’s remaining son is grievously injured while running into the factory and has to be taken care of. Regan (Millicent Simmonds) believes that she has deciphered a cryptic message that leads to a safe heaven and sets off to find this place without informing her mother. Evelyn begs Emmett to go after her and save her while she is herself forced to fend off for her newborn baby and the injured Marcus in the factory. Soon the aliens come after both the parties in different ways and the kids are forced to take over the mantle of saving the day from the adults when they are incapacitated.

A Quiet Place Part II has the same tension, thrills, horror, and drama that made it so great. The protagonists keep pushing the narrative forward through their actions instead of the situations pushing them to do something about their current state. This is one of the best qualities that the protagonists of a film could have. Every action that the character takes points them in harm’s way but also a step closer to getting into safety. John Krasinski, who is also the director of the film doesn’t repeat any of his ideas from the first film and instead introduces entirely new elements. 

One of the elements that I loved was how the invasion had turned a section of the people into something worse than the aliens. This element is wonderfully depicted through a thrilling sequence that culminates in one of the best releases of tension that I have seen in a recent film. Similarly, there are new threats envisioned wherein not only the aliens but the very surrounding elements of the Abbot family conspire to put them in harm’s way. However, every time they come out of these predicaments because of their resourcefulness or simply because there was a family member there to help the other out of the predicament. 

The tension and thrills of the film are compounded and elevated by the kind of performances that the entire cast delivers. Cillian Murphy is a new edition and yet somehow, his essay felt the most exasperating of the lot. Emmett has been in the middle of the mess and has had knowledge of the existence of the Abbots in his vicinity but never cared to help them out. He was a friend of the family and yet he abandoned them. He couldn’t save his children or his wife and yet was able to stay alive himself. All this has visibly impacted his psyche and it shows in Murphy’s performance. Interestingly, as the story progresses, we see his priorities change and him turning into a whole new version of himself that we feel like cheering for. Emily Blunt is terrific. Her character gets a lot of opportunities to flex her acting muscles and she does her best to make the most of it. There is a lot of room for her to show different shades of her character and she grasps these opportunities wonderfully.

Noah Jupe as Marcus felt more on the edge this time around than he felt in the previous installment. It might have been due to the loss of his father who he believed was their guardian angel. As the film progresses, he grows in confidence and by the end of it all, his character comes full circle and takes up the responsibility of being the one to protect his family. The same can be said about the character of Millicent Simmonds. It was wonderful to see her forging a relationship with the character of Cillian Murphy keeping aside her apprehensions for him. Some of the best emotional moments of the film are a result of the give and takes between them. Also, Millicent Simmonds gives out the right vibes for turning into the hero that she does by the end of the film. 

A Quiet Place Part II is essentially a film about a family coping with the loss of its protector and learning to live in a hostile world without the cover of its protection. It is also about them learning to forge new bonds and work their way over fear and face it heads on. The film has some of the tensest and gripping alien encounters that are not only shocking but also believable. The film is shot apparently using 35 mm film and looks gorgeous throughout. Any of the frames of the film can be saved as wallpaper and that aspect of it plays an important part in endearing it further to the audiences. The film is just about 90 minutes long and doesn’t give the viewer any breathers. More than anything, it feels like a film that was born out of a passion for the story of the makers. It feels as if the director wanted to tell this story and had taken every aspect of it into account. This instantly makes the film a lot better than many others of a similar nature. John Krasinski has delivered one of the strongest sequels of recent times and I believe this will go down a long way into ensuring that the franchise finds atleast one more outing.

Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)

Also read: Sherni: A crucial film on man-animal conflict in independent Hindi cinema

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