[Screen It]


(2021) (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds) (PG-13)

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Horror: An isolated family seeks out other potential survivors in a post-apocalyptic world that's been decimated by heavily armored and blind monsters that hunt by sound.

Following the events of "A Quiet Place" where Lee Abbott (JOHN KRASINSKI) sacrificed himself to save his family from heavily armored and blind monsters that hunt by sound and have decimated most of the world's population, his wife, Evelyn (EMILY BLUNT), is trying to keep the family safe. That includes her deaf daughter, Regan (MILLICENT SIMMONDS), who discovered that the amplified squeal of her hearing aids can debilitate the monsters, her son, Marcus (NOAH JUPE), and a newborn.

Realizing they can't make it on their own, they set out to find those burning fires far off in the distance and eventually encounter their former neighbor, Emmett (CILLIAN MURPHY). He isn't happy to see them, what with limited water and food for himself and still reeling from his wife's death a few months back. He saves them from the monsters, but tells them they must leave the following day. Before that happens and having figured out the source of hearing Bobby Darrin's "Beyond the Sea" mysteriously playing on the radio and the location of the broadcast, Regan decides to head off on her own to try to get there in hopes of discovering a better future for her family.

But doing so puts her in danger of encountering the monsters, something Emmett must contend with when Evelyn pleads for him to find and return her, all while she ventures out in search of medicine and pain medication for Marcus' recent leg injury. All of which means everyone ends up in danger of being heard and attacked by the monsters.

OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10

Sometimes things play out in strange and uncanny ways that no one could have predicted. That certainly applies to John Krasinski and his sequel to 2018's insanely effective, post-apocalyptic monster horror flick "A Quiet Place." Released in April of that year, it grossed nearly $350 million worldwide and within months Krasinski was working on the script for the follow-up with the intent to release it in March 2020.

Of course, we know what happened next as theaters were shuttered, people hunkered down, and many viewed the outside world as a dangerous place where venturing out could get you killed. You know, sort of like in the first "AQP" film, and now the sequel is mirroring reality in that the surviving members of that flick are heading back out into the world in hopes of socializing with -- or at least finding -- others like them.

That actually surprised me a bit as the previews for the film as well as the opening sequence showcase the opening catalytic event for what then took place in the first offering. All of which led me to believe that "Part 2" would be a complete prequel in the guise of a disaster film where we see the "before times" followed by the pivotal event and then the main characters reacting to that.

Instead, following that opening where the residents of a small town are watching a little league baseball game -- including the Abbott family and its ill-fated member who didn't make it far into the proceedings of the first film -- only to have that interrupted by a huge, seemingly slow-moving fireball piercing the afternoon sky.

Everyone goes from befuddled confusion to worry to panic, with the latter exacerbated by the sudden presence of the huge but fast-moving and decidedly deadly monsters that quickly lay waste to the townsfolk. All of which leads to the scenes from the previews where the mom, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), encounters an out-of-control bus on Main Street and tries to back out of the way all as one of those monsters emerges from the front and comes at her and her kids.

While that allows Krasinski to reinhabit his father character (since we know what happened at the end of the first offering), the writer/director then resists the urge to remain center stage. Instead, he fast forwards the story to Day 474, taking up where the predecessor left off. And that involved the deaf daughter, Regan (once again, a terrific Millicent Simmonds), ending up saving the day thanks to her discovery that the squeal from her hearing aids -- when amplified for all to hear -- had a decidedly adverse effect on the blind, hunt by sound monsters.

With their place in a shambles and having seen fires burning off in the distance, Evelyn gathers up what's left of her family - along with Regan, there's her less courageous brother, Marcus (Noah Jupe), and their infant sibling who was recently born into a truly messed up world. They eventually find a former neighbor, Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who's similarly survived but likewise suffered family losses, as well as a radio signal playing, of all things, Bobby Darin's "Beyond the Sea."

What follows are highly suspenseful sequences - at one point, Krasinski stacks three concurrent ones -- where everyone ends up in peril. I won't give away the details of those, beyond the fact that they're highly effective, much like the first-time around (albeit without the novelty the first film gave us in our introduction to the scenario). The performances are terrific across the board (Simmonds stands out as she essentially gets the lead role and runs with it), as is the sound mix, the score, and Krasinki's direction.

I was glued from start to finish and think you probably will be as well, especially if you enjoyed the suspense and horror that the first film offered. "A Quiet Place Part II" knows how to make you cringe, sweat, and try to silently hold your breath, much like the characters it puts in harm's way. It rates as a 7 out of 10.

Reviewed May 24, 2021 / Posted May 28, 2021

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