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'A Quiet Place Part II' is worth a noiseless return to theaters if you're vaxxed and comfortable, critics say
After more than a year of COVID-related delays, A Quiet Place Part II is finally scheduled to noiselessly makes its way into theaters next Friday (May 28) for Memorial Day weekend. But is writer-director John Krasinski's horror sequel worth an in-person journey to the theater? According to the first reviews, that answer is yes.
"If you’re vaccinated and feeling safe enough to step foot outside your home, Krasinski has crafted a followup that justifies the trip," writes Variety's Peter Debruge. "Krasinski so effectively embraces the opposite strategy: Less is more, suggestion can be scarier than showing everything, and few things are more unnerving than silence."
Per Deadline's Pete Hammond, the follow-up feels even scarier in the wake of the global health crisis. "This is a sequel that seems viable, particularly after living through a pandemic that weirdly reinforces the themes of survival that run through the heart of Krasinski’s horror show and might give it more pertinence that had it been released when initially planned," reads his review. "On the most basic level, it definitely is a terrifying time at the movies, if that is what you are looking for this summer."
Naturally, the sound design once again takes center stage as Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) and her two children Regan and Marcus (Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe) leave the relative safety of their farmhouse for parts unknown. Parts teeming with noise-sensitive monsters that kill anything unlucky enough to move above a whisper. Once out in the open, the family crosses paths with a jaded survivor named Emmett (Peeky Blinders' Cillian Murphy).
"The layered sound design, fittingly, is a thing of beauty," writes David Rooney for The Hollywood Reporter. And like the first film, this one also benefits immeasurably from Marco Beltrami’s vigorous orchestral score, which shifts between ominous groans and thundering high drama, dialing up the tension throughout."
In their B+ review for IndieWire, Kate Erbland states that there's "an inherent tension in watching anyone do anything that might kick up a bit of noise. But there is also the anxiety in what Krasinki’s characters can see, especially daughter Regan, deaf and fearless, who embarks on a journey to save her family and the world at large that only her own dad might have dared undertaken."
Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt also awarded the film a B+, writing: "Once again, Krasinski manages to render relatively straightforward tasks — nursing a baby, tuning a radio, walking through a train car — harrowing; dialogue, by necessity, is rarely wasted, and his actors feel far more sympathetically human and real than most meat-puppet horror chum."
IGN's Jim Vejvoda writes that while Part II can't match the unexpected sleeper hit nature of its 2018 predecessor, "it’s still a highly exciting and well-acted follow-up." The review's verdict continues: "Director John Krasinski and Co. broaden the world of A Quiet Place with a larger cast, bigger action set-pieces, and more monster scenes but thankfully, as big as the sequel goes, the film never loses sight of the emotional intimacy between the characters that made the first movie work so well."
"A Quiet Place Part II might lack the smarts and novelty of its predecessor but it serves up strong set- pieces," Empire Magazine concludes. "Millicent Simmonds shines and Krasinski remains a director to watch."
Despite dying at the end of the first movie, Krasinski's character, Lee Abbott, does return in a prologue that sheds light on the initial invasion. Collider's Vinnie Mancuso compares the anarchic opening to Steven Spielberg's 2005 remake of War of the Worlds.
"When A Quiet Place Part II really focuses inward, at the deep loss and rebuilding that the Abbotts are enduring as the world continues to crumble, it's a triumph," Mancuso writes. "The way Krasinski manages to build visual chaos with such a vivid human core at its center suggests A Quiet Place actually has the staying power of a major modern horror epic."