Sunday, May 19, 2024

Review: John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place Part 2” At Last: When Horror Becomes Art in Superbly Crafted Film


We saw “A Quiet Place Part 2” on March 8, 2020. There was a lovely premiere at Jazz at Lincoln Center, followed by a swell party at the Central Park Boathouse. The movie was set to open in April, we were asked to hold our reviews for a couple of weeks til “this virus thing” passed.

Uh huh.

Now “AQP2” will open May 28th, 2021. I saw it again two days ago at a press screening at the AMC Lincoln Square with about 30 people. The movie complex was like a ghost town which added to the eeriness of John Krasinski’s beautifully crafted horror thriller. When the film stopped abruptly on a cliffhanger note– there will be a third and presumably resolving chapter — I really felt haunted by it wandering around in empty corridors.

The second film picks up before the start of the first one, so we get to see Krasinski’s Lee Abbott as he and his family, having an easy Sunday afternoon in a small town, react to their alien invasion. When the bugs from outer space start dropping onto Earth, the audience starts jumping out of their chairs. Krasinski has you right in the palm of his hand.

But then we wake up from this dream because Lee died at the end of Chapter 1, and his wife, Evelyn (the great Emily Blunt) has had their baby, their third child. She is on the run with older kids played by Millicent Simonds (deaf in real life) and Noah Jupe grown up suddenly and able to help in their silent from the space monsters. (The funny thing here is that we’ve Jupe older already, in “The Undoing,” from last winter since “AQP2” was held for a year.)

In short order they run into their old neighbor, played by Cillian Murphy in his best and and most relatable work to date. His family is gone. But quickly he and Simmonds’ Regan take off to find a distant radio signal playing Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea.” There, they think, they may find help. Eventually they will run into some survivors, led by Djimon Honsou, who think they’ve got it made in the shade.

Krasinski has another taut thriller, edited beautifully and within an inch of its life by Michael Shawver. There is a relentless melodic score from Marco Beltrami that never lets up yet is almost a character itself as it loops through Blunt’s hope and despair over protecting her kids and surviving this nightmare. She is just superb conveying all these emotions as a mother who must be resourceful, athletic, and sympathetic.

But it is really Simmonds, who has just turned 18, who will get awards attention and rave reviews. So maybe she was still 16 when they made this installment. Amazing. Her focus and ferocity, intelligence and composure, speak volumes of who she already is as an actress and what’s to come. I imagine she will be the focus of Krasinski’s final chapter and emerge from all this a big star.

We know John Krasinski mostly from “The Office,” where his character Jim Halper, the only normal person in the office, we knew had higher aspirations. Then Krasinski got buffed up for his “Jack Ryan” series. But he’s a director. He made a little family movie called “The Hollars” that was sort of dismissed, but I really liked it. It showed that he could create an onscreen family with empathy and warmth and move them through life changing moments. Now this has all paid off with “A Quiet Place.”

Forget the other “blockbusters” coming our way. “AQP2” is the movie of the summer, and you must see it in a theater. Wear a mask, gloves, whatever you need. Bring your Clorox wipes. But get in there and see it!




Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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