Hold Your Breath: ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Keeps the Tension Alive

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Not wanting to take my first trip to the theaters alone, I practically begged my older sister to join me. Maybe not the wisest choice on my part.

While I am a sucker for horror, my sister sort of cringes at the genre. During the film, my sister turned and asked me, “Why are you laughing? Are you enjoying this?!” While she assured me that she enjoyed the movie, I knew she was confused about my exciting reactions during the scary parts.

Horror movies and jump scares just fuel my adrenaline. I’ve seen too many scary movies to count that they don’t scare me as much anymore. Indeed, at times, the scare tactics make a horror movie lackluster rather than refreshing. There needs to be something else. These films should have a meaningful story that makes you want to root for the characters.

John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place has had a hold on me since watching the first film at the AMC theater in Boston in my sophomore year of college. I admired the fact that I could feel such strong emotions towards the characters while also getting my fill of fright.

I’m grateful that my return to the movies came from seeing A Quiet Place Part II. When I’ve spent more than a year streaming blockbuster movies from my TV or computer, it’s nice to soak in the power of a big screen, cushioned reclining seats, and surround sound.

Do you need to watch the first A Quiet Place before going to see Part II? 

Yes and no. I’d urge you to watch to understand the plot better, but my sister hadn’t seen the first one, and she said she followed the movie fine. She did need some spoilers from the ending of A Quiet Place to make connections. Don’t worry, though. I won’t do that here to spare those who still need to watch it.

The movie functions in a post-apocalyptic world where blind alien-type monsters with hypersensitive hearing land on Earth and have killed most of society. To stay alive, one must remain quiet, as the title suggests. Part II follows the Abbott family – mother Evelyn, her deaf daughter Regan, son Marcus, and Evelyn’s newborn – while they leave their now-destroyed home to look for living people.

The quietness takes a toll on you when watching. Sometimes, the movie would go completely silent, and my sister and I anxiously awaited the arrival of a new deadly creature.

It’s what makes the film so exhilarating. I sat on the edge of my seat, knowing that even the “calmer” moments would end in chaos. We can’t forget about the gore either. Although I love my pick of horror films, sometimes I struggle with the bloodshed. The movie has its gore, but it’s based around natural causes, which almost makes it worse. I had to close my eyes during some parts.

One element that stays consistent in Part II is the talented cast. 

Emily Blunt plays Evelyn with determination and intense love for her children as she keeps fighting to find them a safe home. It’s incredible how Emily can just cry on command, too. Her demeanor may be tough, but she’s been through a lot, and like all loving mothers, her compassion shines through.

We get introduced to another character named Emmett, played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy. As a survivor hardened by the world around him, Emmett is distrustful of strangers. He feels hopeless, and we can’t blame him.

All we know is that there’s something special about Cillian Murphy because anything he touches turns to gold.

The standout of the film has to be Millicent Simmonds as Regan. As the hero of the story, Regan uses her strong-willed nature and knowledge about radios to help her family. Millicent, who is deaf in real life, spoke to Syfy Wire about her nerves representing the deaf community.

“I did feel a sense of pressure and obligation,” she said. “I had an ASL coach to make sure my signs were clear art, my articulation was clean, that I wasn’t being lazy.”

I believe that this role will catapult Millicent Simmonds’s career in Hollywood movies. She’s a rising star, and I can’t wait to see her on my screen for years to come.

What makes A Quiet Place Part II different from other horror films?

When John Krasinski directed the first A Quiet Place, he stressed to The Daily Californian that he wanted to focus on the dynamics of the family in the middle of a post-apocalyptic world.

“We just had our second daughter about three weeks before I read the script. And so I was already in the state of terror of keeping this girl safe … and whether or not I was a good enough father,” John Krasinski said. (And then) in comes this script about a family that relies on each other, about parents that would do absolutely anything for their kids. So it doesn’t take a lot for me to cry, but I was wide open for this one, and it connected to me in a big way.”

The family message was only strengthened when he cast his real wife Emily Blunt to be his wife in the first movie. When the family dynamics are there, it’s easier to connect with the characters involved. For me, it makes the story more rewarding and gut-wrenching when something terrible happens.

In A Quiet Place II, John Krasinski takes on the role of sole writer and director, continuing to build on the parent/child relationships. When introducing Cillian Murphy’s character, we realize that family doesn’t have to be blood.

Still, even with the strong bond, the fear is present. The silence keeps the tension as the Abbott family and Emmett move as delicately as possible to keep themselves alive. I felt like I was holding my breath the whole time, waiting for the sudden jump scare or loud noise.

Is A Quiet Place Part II worth seeing in movie theaters?

Yes, 100%! A Quiet Place Part II is only playing in theaters. Even though the film will be streaming on Paramount+ 45 days after the release, I wouldn’t wait that long to see it. There’s something beautiful about seeing a horror film in the movie theaters. After being stuck watching movies at home for a year, I was ready to jump into the movie theater experience, and it did not disappoint.

Other horror fans were thrilled about the movie-watching experience too.

Whether you scare easily or get excited over horror, this is the film to see. With its heartbreaking performances, brilliant sound effects and soundtrack, and eye-catching visuals, A Quiet Place Part II is the most enthralling horror movie to see in movie theaters this year.  

Buy movie tickets for A Quiet Place: Part II here.

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