A million years ago, in March of 2020, a screening of “A Quiet Place Part II” was next up on my calendar. Then the world shut down and I wouldn’t set foot inside of a movie theater again for more than a year.
I can say with a high level of confidence it is the longest I’ve gone in my entire life without seeing a movie on the big screen. My earliest memory of seeing a movie in the theater was “101 Dalmatians” followed by “E.T.” and “Return of the Jedi.” It was off to the races after that.
Movie theaters raised me, nurtured me and matured me. Having something that had been a part of my life for as long as I remembered taken from me was, well, weird.
So it was fitting that “A Quiet Place Part II,” the movie that was denied me oh so long ago, would mark my return to that sacred space.
The thing I missed the most was the little thrill of seeing a movie for the first time in a theater right after the lights go down and the opening credits hit the screen and you have no idea what’s in store or where you’ll be whisked off to.
After reconnecting with that feeling, it almost didn’t matter if the movie was any good. Fortunately it was. The surprise hit “A Quiet Place” was a taut little thriller about a family weathering the apocalypse where lethal aliens hunted only by sound. John Krasinski directed himself and his wife-in-real-life Emily Blunt and proved he had some serious directing chops to go along with his affable charm as an actor.
“A Quiet Place Part II” is quite simply more of the same, and that’s a good thing. Krasinski only has a brief appearance in front of the camera and puts most of the load of the movie in Blunt’s capable hands as the action picks up literally minutes after the end of the first film.
The kids are also back. Millicent Simmonds, who is hearing impaired in real life, is again outstanding as the determined and resourceful Regan while Noah Jupe does a fine job of doing all that is required of him, which is to be wide-eyed and terrified.
New to the cast is Cillian Murphy as Emmett, a family friend who wants nothing to do with humanity now that the world has gone to pot.
Just like in the first film, Krasinski keeps the runtime to a lean and mean 90 minutes which is smart for a premise that doesn’t hold a ton of water. He keeps the audience much more concerned about the possibility of a character accidentally kicking a tin can down an empty hallway than pondering why exactly are the aliens here and what is their motivation for killing everyone?
Beyond being tidy little thrillers, these movies are nice allegories for parenting. While the first one was about the unease of bringing children into this dangerous and unpredictable world, “Part II” is about the even greater unease of trusting those children to navigate that world on their own.
The reality is that they could have shown Krasinski throwing paper airplanes at the camera for 90 minutes and it still would have been exciting to be back in the theater. Fortunately they gave us a pretty decent movie instead.
“A Quiet Place Part II” is rated PG-13 for terror, violence and bloody/disturbing images.