If you didn’t see A Quiet Place (2018), you’ll be bewildered because John Krasinski’s sci-fi sequel begins where the first left off. Instead of the peace and tranquility they’ve sought, the Abbott family must once again run and hide from vicious extraterrestrial creatures that hunt by sound.
In a prologue/flashback on Day 1, Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) drives into the seemingly deserted upstate New York town of Millbrook to pick up oranges, etc. to take to a Little League game where his son Marcus (Noah Jupe) waits for his turn at bat.
Suddenly, a fireball shoots through the sky. Grabbing Marcus, Lee’s wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) speeds off with their newborn baby, while Lee loads their deaf teenage daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) into his truck. Tragedy strikes and Evelyn is left to care for the kids on her own.
Day 474: Taking refuge in an abandoned steel mill with a cynical, misanthropic, despondent neighbor (Cillian Murphy), they hide in an airless but sound-proof furnace, where Evelyn deposits her infant in a portable case with a tiny oxygen mask wrapped around its head to muffle its wails.
Self-reliant, resourceful Regan, toting a radio, amp and microphone, plus a homemade hearing aid, uses these devices to pick up a broadcast of the song “Beyond the Sea,” playing repeatedly. If she can locate its source, she’s sure that’s a clue to finding other survivors.
Opening with writer/director/actor John Kraskinski thanking theatergoers for coming back to the multiplex, this is a horror/thriller that should be seen as a communal experience in that silent, darkened space.
Deaf actress Millicent Simmonds delivers a pivotal performance, combining grit and vulnerability, supported by Noah Jupe, displaying terror, empathy and courage.
Editor Michael P. Sawyer incessantly cuts between multiple storylines, albeit utilizing far too many jump-scares, with the sound dropping in and out, as cinematographer Polly Morgan captures the chaotic, post-apocalyptic wasteland, punctuated by Marco Beltrami’s anxiously pulsating score.
On the Granger Gauge, A Quiet Place II is a subtly suspenseful 7, opening the door for yet another installment.