THE FARM — One of my favorite movies of 2018 was "A Quiet Place."
I have told so many people this, and they are so tired of hearing it. But the movie was a true, cinematic experience for me. I loved watching it the first time and have enjoyed it on subsequent viewings.
I hold this movie in such high regard that it made me nervous for the sequel. When I first heard about the planned follow-up, I was apprehensive. Could the filmmakers repeat the same magic? Could they tell an equally compelling and intriguing story with a concept that isn't brand new to us?
The short answer to my concerns is, yes, they could do (and did) all of that. The long answer is here in the rest of the review.
Here are a few reasons "A Quiet Place Part II" is not just a great sequel but a solid movie all on its own:
The focus is on emotions and not scares
Like its predecessor, "A Quiet Place Part II" is listed as a horror film. I believe that is a misnomer. Yes, there are plenty of scares, and you will jump out of your seat on more than one occasion, but that's not the goal of the film.
Like the first film, its sequel focuses on relationships and what it means to be family, what it means to be a neighbor, and what it means to be a fellow human being. There is an emotional quality to the film that hits you hard because it feels real. Writer and director John Krasinski has done a brilliant job of taking something like an alien invasion and stripping it down enough to make you relate to these characters and place yourself in their shoes — or their bare feet, in the case of this film.
"A Quiet Place Part II" is a family drama that happens to be placed within a world invaded by killer alien monsters with no eyes. You will find yourself holding back tears as often as you're jumping out of your skin.
It's a natural progression of the story
One of my biggest concerns for the sequel was whether Krasinski could find a good way to continue the story in a meaningful way. I will not give any spoilers away, but let's say Krasinski found the way to do it.
The film is a continuation of the first movie and picks up where we left off with the Abbott family in "A Quiet Place." It was incredible how easily I stepped right back into that world and into my emotional state with this family when the film started. It's like I had been there the whole time with them, and we were continuing on with the next day.
The less you know about the plot and direction of this new film the better. But if you were wrapped up in the world from "A Quiet Place," then you should be engaged and committed from the first frame.
The sound design is brilliant
Sound is obviously a central theme in both movies. As much as the sound design struck me in the first film, I think it was even stronger in the sequel.
The film is shot beautifully and acted well with a strong cast, but the sound is what really stood out to me. It's so important to get that aspect right in this film considering the audience is so aware of every single noise made — from a crunching leaf underfoot to a chain-link fence rustling in the wind.
Painstaking attention was given to each sound in the film, making for an enthralling experience. Overall, "A Quiet Place Part II" is a quiet movie; so when the loud action scenes occur, they are even more intense and thrilling thanks to the added sound.
While those moments stand out, I have to say the most moving scenes are those when there is not a noise to be heard. One of the main characters is deaf, and there are moments when we experience what the world around her feels like, void of sound. This is where that cinematic experience really kicks in. You become acutely aware of your own heartbeat and the silence is, at times, deafening.
Can I take my kids?
"A Quiet Place Part II" is very similar to its forerunner when it comes to content. There is no bad language or sexuality, but the movie is intense. It will scare audiences and may take an emotional toll on you. This is not a movie for kids. If you have teenagers, it will very much depend on your teen as to whether they're ready for this movie.
If they, or you for that matter, handled the first one well, then this should be no different.
Should I see it in the theater?
This one is tough for me because I do not know the comfort level each of you has with being in crowds and getting back to the theater. That's for each of you to decide.
If you like seeing movies in the theater, however, and want to get back, then this is the movie to do it with. As I mentioned earlier, "A Quiet Place Part II" is a cinematic experience; it's a film I believe is enhanced on the big screen as you share the experience with others.
"A Quiet Place Part II" is my favorite film of 2021 to this point. That said, it hasn't had much competition considering next to nothing has released this year. But I have a feeling it will stay in the top five by year's end.
I am all bought into this universe and love the story being told and the relationships on display. The scares and action help a little as well.
There are a few missteps with the film when it comes to predictability and convenience of plot devices, but I don't mind because 98% of the film is so spot on you can forgive the lacking 2%.
"A Quiet Place Part II" is rated PG-13 for terror, violence and bloody/disturbing images.