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A Quiet Place Part II First Reviews: Tense, Thrilling, and Superbly Acted and Directed

Early reviews of the horror sequel say John Krasinski shows maturity as a director, and Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, and Millicent Simmonds turn in fantastic performances.

by | May 18, 2021 | Comments

The hit 2018 horror movie A Quiet Place could have easily been a standalone feature, one proving John Krasinski was indeed a great director as well as actor, and especially successful alongside his co-starring wife, Emily Blunt. But now there’s a sequel, A Quiet Place Part II, and it’s finally hitting theaters on May 28!

Does it prove itself worthy of existence as a follow-up? Does it also show promise for a continued franchise (as Paramount is planning)? The first reviews are out and mostly positive on both fronts, even if not all of them agree on the sequel being at least as good as the original.

Here’s what critics are saying about A Quiet Place Part II:


How does it compare to the first film?

The second installment is just as good as the first one, proving to be an incredibly effective and tense experience.
– Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

It’s another breathless chamber piece, expertly crafted to pack dread into every nerve-rattling sound.
– David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

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.
– Kate Erbland, IndieWire

The thriller is still engrossing in many spots but ultimately doesn’t come together like the first one. Though, it’s not for lack of trying.
– Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

In many ways, Part II suffers from some of the same follow-up problems afflicting The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
– Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine

It struggles to recapture the lightning that turned the 2018 original into a hit.
– Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm


A Quiet Place Part II

(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/©Paramount Pictures)

Does it rehash the original or build upon it?

The fortunate thing is how effective the film is at expanding this world without betraying the qualities that made the first work.
Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

Part II earns the promise of a sequel by doing what the best sequels do, striking out in search of new stories instead of settling for retracing its steps.
Angie Han, Mashable

A Quiet Place Part II seems content to reiterate rather than build on its predecessor’s revelations.
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

What this second installment mostly offers more of is the same… echoing without quite amplifying the pleasures of its predecessor.
A.A. Dowd, AV Club


Is it worth seeing either way?

The focus is broadened with diminishing returns, but A Quiet Place Part II still manages to conjure up enough thrills to make it worthwhile.
Ian Freer, Empire Magazine

They come up with more than enough to justify a second trip into their world.
Angie Han, Mashable

As a piece of storytelling, it’s skimpy and vaguely unsatisfying. As a series of fight, flight, or bite-your-tongue set pieces, it delivers.
A.A. Dowd, AV Club


John Krasinski on the set of A Quiet Place Part II

(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/©Paramount Pictures)

How is John Krasinki’s direction this time?

His ability to direct stunning, action-driven set pieces on par with any other blockbuster has grown, [and] so too has Krasinski’s initial motivation: to make a movie for his family.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

I don’t know if Krasinski plans to remain in the realm of genre films as a director, but he indeed continues to deliver, even for a movie that didn’t have to exist.
Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

Krasinski’s milked this franchise and its gimmicks to provide us with his two best showings behind the camera, but he—like its characters—needs to grow beyond it.
Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine

Krasinski’s filmmaking mostly has a slick, well-tooled confidence that should land him a superhero gig soon, but it might be wise to let the Abbotts off the hook for now.
Ian Freer, Empire Magazine


What about the screenplay?

The intimacy of the storytelling tugs relentlessly at our anxieties for the duration.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

Krasinski has sole writing credit this time, and while his directing is more impressive, the way he opens up this world is pretty satisfying.
Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

Dual storylines are wrapped up together ingeniously… What is interesting about this film is that it quite persuasively shows us a post-post-apocalyptic situation.
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

The relentless tension and close-quarters intimacy that he established in the first film can’t help but slacken under the weight of a swiftly expanding narrative.
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

It hints at a bigger world outside the boundaries of its genre games, then largely neglects to explore it.
A.A. Dowd, AV Club

It can’t just recycle the premise of the first film as many a horror sequel has done. So instead, it fills up the runtime with plot — and a fairly run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic thriller plot, at that.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

Some of the screenplay’s conceptions of how society has disintegrated don’t really track.
Ian Freer, Empire Magazine


Millicent Simmonds in A Quiet Place Part II

(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/©Paramount Pictures)

Is it scary?

There are some jump scares that had me Fosbury-flopping out of my seat with a yelp.
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

The jump scares here are legitimately distressing because there’s so little distance separating us from the main characters. Those jolts are not cheap tricks but immersive approximations of what the people onscreen are experiencing.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

[The premise] comes with its unique terror, 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.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

Jump scares and bloody mayhem are more the order of the day. They’re effective in the moment — I nearly fell out of my seat a few times — but they don’t linger in their terror, and there’s nothing close to the excruciating horror of the nail or birth scenes from the original.
Angie Han, Mashable

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.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

The reason these films work is not because of the scares. They work because, at their heart, they are a high concept meditation on parenting.
Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press


Does it work as a family drama?

While becoming a bigger flick, it still retains an emotional quotient that makes you care about the Abbott family. Without that, this would be just another creature feature. Instead, it’s something more.
Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

Part II feels caught between two conflicting modes, a tightly focused family drama and a more expansive vision of post-apocalyptic decay.
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times


A Quiet Place Part II

(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/©Paramount Pictures)

How are the performances?

Millicent Simmonds owns A Quiet Place Part II in a way that assures this her franchise.
Matt Donato, What to Watch

This is very much Millicent Simmonds’ movie. Her elevation to the full-on hero of this franchise is well earned.
Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

Simmonds is an excellent performer: bold, confident and forthright, holding her own opposite the alpha-emoting presence of Murphy.
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

The kids are good, but sorry, they’re no Emily Blunt.
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

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.
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

There is a key aspect that worked in Part II‘s favor, and that’s the addition of Cillian Murphy.
Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

Murphy and Simmonds are a fantastic pairing. Murphy brings a likability and tenderness to a fairly well-worn archetype, while Simmonds is allowed to shine as the clear-eyed heroine of the piece.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm


How does the movie look?

If the shots capturing predator and prey often owe a debt to James Cameron’s Aliens, well, there are worse models to emulate.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

Krasinski and cinematographer Polly Morgan know how to shoot the apocalypse.
Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine

Cinematographer Polly Morgan’s effused light provides a fascinating juxtaposition, balancing the beauty of nature with the omnipresent dangers lurking.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Polly Morgan‘s visuals aren’t quite as memorable as last time, but the cinematography is still very elegant.
Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

Add to that a better handle on the visual effects used to depict these violent creatures, and you have a film that really found itself when it comes to all of the technical aspects.
Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment


A Quiet Place Part II

(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/©Paramount Pictures)

And how does it sound?

Immersive sound design is again the superstar.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

The layered sound design, fittingly, is a thing of beauty. And like the first film, this one also benefits immeasurably from Marco Beltrami’s vigorous orchestral score.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

The movie sounds great and utilizes sound brilliantly. No franchise is as mesmerizing on an auditory level as this one is.
Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

While I don’t think the sound is leveraged toward dramatic ends, here, as well as in the prior installment, the craft is still intermediately astounding as it builds to create big-time scares.
Robert Daniels, 812filmreviews


Should we look forward to more sequels?

Amusingly enough, [its] measured world-building also sets the stage for still more stories and sequels.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

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.
Angie Han, Mashable

The ellipsis not only demands but practically promises another installment. “Stay tuned for Part III,” it screams without words.
A.A. Dowd, AV Club

A Quiet Place Part II only swings us to the next film. Rather than allowing us to enjoy this one.
Robert Daniels, 812filmreviews


A Quiet Place Part II releases in select theaters on May 28, 2021.

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