Get ready to hold your breath again during A Quiet Place: Part II, the follow-up to runaway 2018 success A Quiet Place. The first film brought us the story of the Abbott family who were compelled to live in absolute silence, lest they be slaughtered by hideous alien creatures. So immersive was the movie, directed by and starring John Krasinski, that it compelled all of us in the cinema to behave in a similarly hushed manner. Never before has the rustling of popcorn sounded like the equivalent of a passing freight train.
Krasinski both writes and directs the sequel although, given the events of the first movie, his character Lee is less of a presence in front of the camera. (He does appear during a pivotal and terrifying flashback sequence.) Instead, the focus is firmly on Evelyn (played, as before, by Krasinski's actual wife Emily Blunt), and her children, deaf Regan (Milliicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe).
This time, the Abbotts, along with their newborn baby, must leave the relative comfort of their homestead and venture into a strange, frightening new world in search of fellow survivors. This brings them into contact with other survivalists (played by Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou). Luckily, they're forearmed with knowledge – at the end of the first film, Regan used her hearing aid to induce white noise to disable the creatures. But will that be enough to save them? Finding out promises to be a seat-gripping experience, and the first critical reactions have praised Krasinski's expansion of his alien mythology.
"Taking on solo screenwriting credit in his taut follow-up, director Krasinski again foregrounds that disorienting premise of a modern world in which noise can get you killed," writes David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter, "as the same characters this time desperately struggle to protect one another without their fallen paterfamilias. It’s another breathless chamber piece, expertly crafted to pack dread into every nerve-rattling sound."
There's also much praise for the credibility of the acting. "Blunt and Murphy convey volumes with just their eyes, and they’re matched by Jupe and Simmonds, two of contemporary film’s most empathetic and insightful actors of any age," writes Alfonso Duralde for The Wrap.
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw singles out Millicent Simmonds, describing her as "an excellent performer: bold, confident and forthright, holding her own opposite the alpha-emoting presence of Murphy." Bradshaw also says that viewers can expect a jumpy experience, many of which are set to induce "a yelp".
Indiewire's Kate Erbland says the movie builds on the template of its blockbusting predecessor: "Krasinski has not at all let up on the thrills and chills and alien-centric terror, but he’s also bulked up on the drama, emotion, and very human pain at its center."
"While becoming a bigger flick, it still retains an emotional quotient that makes you care about the Abbott family," writes Joey Magidson for Awards Radar. "Without that, this would be just another creature feature. Instead, it’s something more."
That said, there are dissenting opinions. Justin Chang, writing for The Los Angeles Times, questions whether the film is as taut as the first one: "The relentless tension and close-quarters intimacy that [Krasinski] established in the first film can’t help but slacken under the weight of a swiftly expanding narrative."
And Slashfilm's Hoai-Tran Bui questions the nature of the movie: "Is it a horror or a post-apocalyptic adventure?… A Quiet Place II falls somewhere in between, with the effective thrills and jump scares of a horror film, but with an overly familiar post-apocalyptic plot that we’ve seen many times before."
Without going into spoilers, can we expect another entry in the series? Mud director Jeff Nichols is already attached to the A Quiet Place spin-off movie, and many journalists believe we're being set up for more films. Writes Angie Han for Mashable: "Where the story will go from here it’s hard to guess, though it does seem reasonable to assume it’s not over. Part II seeds more than a few possible avenues for potential spinoffs and sequels."
A Quiet Place: Part II opens in Cineworld cinemas on 4th June. Don't forget about our A Quiet Place double-bill if you want a supersized dose of terror. Let us know @Cineworld if you'll be taking the journey alongside the Abbots.