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Review: 'A Quiet Place Part II,' the sound of silence has never been so much fun

Film - A Quiet Place Part II
Posted at 7:18 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 20:02:05-04

(WXYZ) — Tom Santilli is a respected journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association, Detroit Film Critics Society and Online Film Critics Society since 2010. Tom is the Executive Producer and co-host of the syndicated TV show, "Movie Show Plus," which has been on the air for 20+ years in the Metro-Detroit market and Mid-West. He is also the film critic for WXYZ-TV. Twitter: @tomsantilli, Facebook & Instagram: @filmsurvivor.

There's no keeping this one quiet: "A Quiet Place Part II" is everything you would hope it would be.

Grade: A

Things got serious last Summer when "A Quiet Place Part II" was delayed again and again due to the pandemic. Maybe it stung more than other movie delays because its release was right in front of us...with the pandemic shutting down the entire country in mid-March, "A Quiet Place Part II" was originally set for release on March 20th, 2020. They had already launched a full PR campaign, with real-life stars, wife and husband Emily Blunt and John Krasinski (who also wrote and directed both "A Quiet Place" films), having made the late-night talk show rounds, and with some lucky individuals having already attended a New York City premiere in early March 2020.

It was delayed into September...then to April 2021...then all the way back until September 2021...before being moved up on the release calendar to Memorial Day weekend. The studio (Paramount Pictures) was awfully confident that the movie needed to be a theatrical experience, and the sort of film that you watch with others. Judging from the first film, there's something extra-thrilling about sitting in a theater and nervously not wanting to even munch your popcorn, less you break the long silences created by the horrors being experienced on-screen.

They had it right. "A Quiet Place Part II" not only lives up to the hype and anticipation, but on some levels it works even better than its predecessor. A thriller that has something deeply profound to say but that is so simplistic and accessible in its delivery.

Krasinski appears in the new film, in a flashback sequence that sheds just enough light on the coming apocalypse that it feels like a necessary addition. The story though really picks up right after the events of the first film, with mother Evelyn (Blunt), and her children, the high-strung Noah (Marcus Abbott), the hearing-impaired daughter, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and their newborn child who is lugged around in a special - coffin? - hooked up to an oxygen tank. This allows for the child to breathe but still remain quiet and safe from the dangerous roaming monsters who prey on even the slightest of sounds.

For anyone that knows his filmography, Cillian Murphy is perfectly cast against type as a widowed father whom the Abbott family stumbles across as they make their way across the land. The minimalist plot allows for the characters to flourish and the scares to come sudden and often. They are basically travelling from Point A to Point B. But so much more happens along the way.

Krasinski shows us more of the creatures this time around, but that's OK by me. This was a mystery that worked in the first film but he knows its a trick that's already been milked. He isn't concerned in repeating the first movie, but daringly makes this second chapter a rally-cry for a new generation to step up to the plate. Noah, for example, is literally afraid of stepping up to the plate in the opening flashback...what a journey his character takes. It's an allegory that speaks to our current socio-political climate, where even though the older, adult generation may have figured out a few tricks along the way, it's up to the kids to carry things on and seal the deal.

There is an iconic image from the film that I can't shake, where a young adult confidently holds out an old transistor radio in front of him, proudly and defiantly. The radio is his weapon. Or, you could say, this Millennial has taken something that has pretty much outlived its intended use, and the child has repurposed it - re-imagined it - as something that can be used in the now. The answers to our problems are right in front of us, and sometimes it takes a younger generation with fresh eyes to see it fulfill a new destiny...while in turn, not discarding what the older folks have already figured out.

That's when you know a movie is firing on all cylinders: On a surface-level, it's a well-done horror/thriller/monster movie that will make audiences cheer, scream and laugh...and perhaps even cry, that they're back in a theater and that this is what they've been missing. But it's also about so much more, for those that wish to peer into it in such a way. Finally, it's a confidently-made sequel that gives people who loved the first film exactly what they want, but it expands its universe just enough to keep it thoroughly interesting moving forward. And oh, this was definitely made with more Parts in mind...done in a way that feels expertly thought-out.

I'm not afraid to shout it from the rooftops: "A Quiet Place Part II" rocks. It's everything you want it to be and more, and it's Exhibit A as to why you should consider returning to the movies.

Grade: A

Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi.
Run Time: 1 hour 37 minutes.
Rated PG-13.

Written and Directed by John Krasinski ("A Quiet Place," "The Hollars").

"A Quiet Place 2" is opening only in theaters on Friday, May 28th, 2021.