This Tense Sequel Speaks To Our Present Time : NPR

Marcus (Noah Jupe), Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) brave the unknown in A Quiet Place Part II. Jonny Cournoyer / Paramount Pictures Hide caption

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Jonny Cournoyer / Paramount Pictures

Marcus (Noah Jupe), Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) defy the unknown in A Quiet Place Part II.

Jonny Cournoyer / Paramount Pictures

In the sensational thriller 2018 A quiet place, humanity has been ravaged by hideous extraterrestrial predators with exceptional hearing. The story follows the Abbotts, a family of survivors who have to stay calm all the time, unable to speak, sneeze, or step on a creaky floor board, or they will likely be dead.

It was a grueling word of mouth hook: Here was a movie to watch in a movie theater in its own state of silence, with no sipping or crunching of popcorn allowed.

A Quiet Place became a huge hit, and its filmmaker and star, John Krasinski, wrote and directed a sequel to open in March 2020. But then the COVID-19 pandemic forced cinemas to close and the film’s release was postponed.

'A quiet place' will leave you Shhhhhhaken

Actor John Krasinski takes stock of his

Now, more than a year later, the theaters have reopened and A Quiet Place Part II is attracting large audiences. Is it too early to hit theaters again as the pandemic hasn’t fully subsided? I asked myself that too when I saw the film at a media screening recently. I felt pretty safe: I was wearing a mask in an almost empty theater and had been fully vaccinated weeks earlier. But I also felt privileged to see a movie on a big screen with strict precautions.

Whether you’re watching it now or waiting for it to start streaming, A Quiet Place Part II is likely to get you a little nervous. It doesn’t have the same claustrophobic intensity as its predecessor, but it’s just as tight, exciting, and beautifully done.

As before, Krasinski does not explain why the aliens are here in the first place. But it does give us a first look back at the terrible day they arrived and devastated the little town of the Abbotts in upstate New York – and other cities around the world. Lots of people die, but the Abbotts survive, mainly because they quickly realize that the monsters are hunting for sounds.

Then the film flashes forward many months, starting right after the events of the first film. Krasinski’s character Lee Abbott was tragically killed, leaving his wife Evelyn played by a savage Emily Blunt, and their children. (Krasinski and Blunt are married in real life.)

The family is shaken, but resilient: They have finally discovered the fatal weakness of the aliens and are curious to contact other survivors. And so they set out from their farmhouse through an overgrown post-apocalyptic landscape in which dangers lurk around every corner.

The fact that the characters can’t speak out loud is one reason the Quiet Place films are so effective: His lack of resorting to verbal representation has made Krasinski a ruthlessly efficient visual storyteller. It is often said that Alfred Hitchcock’s films are so sharply staged that you could turn off the sound and still watch the action – a truth that applies to these films as well.

It helps that the Abbotts speak American sign language fluently since their oldest child, Regan, is deaf – as is the actor who plays them, the remarkable Millicent Simmonds. As in the first film, Regan turns out to be the true heroine of the story: She is tough, brave and determined to help as many other people as possible. Her traumatized younger brother Marcus, who is played heartbreakingly by Noah Jupe, is less willing to act.

Eventually, the Abbotts seek temporary shelter in an abandoned steel mill, where they meet an old family friend, Emmett, who is played by a serious Cillian Murphy. Emmett mourns the loss of his family and became deeply cynical about humanity when he once said, “The people who are left … they are not worth saving.” Regan disagrees; Humans are not only worth saving, but if enough of them get together, they could possibly fight back against the aliens.

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ [is] an unexpectedly resonant film for the present moment in which this country is slowly emerging from a crisis that – albeit certainly less terrifying than an alien apocalypse – has revealed humanity at its best and its worst.

The film seems to think that both of them have a point. When Regan and Emmett go in search of survivors, they find themselves in situations that give rise to hope and despair. Some of the people they encounter are as predatory as the monsters; others are as brave and compassionate as Regan. That makes A Quiet Place Part II an unexpectedly sonorous film for the present moment as this country is slowly emerging from a crisis that – while certainly less terrifying than an alien apocalypse – has revealed humanity at its best and worst .

The film ends on an inconclusive note, leaving the door open for another sequel that is both frustrating and encouraging. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next – hopefully in a dark theater and watching as quietly as possible.

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