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4K Ultra HD Review: A Quiet Place Part II (Steelbook Edition)

August 3, 2021

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

It’s an old maxim that sequels are usually bigger but not always better than the original, yet in the case of A Quiet Place Part II, it’s a little bit of both.

The film is a follow up to writer-director-star John Krasinski’s 2018 film A Quiet Place, a surprise hit that imagined a post-apocalyptic world where everyone had to stay silent lest they alert the attention of alien monsters. It was a pretty good film that required us to simply go along with this intriguing but also somewhat gimmicky narrative device, without offering much background on it.

While Part II largely offers more of the same in terms of tone, I also think it’s a bit stronger in execution. Krasinski does a fine job of building upon the first film, fleshing out the world a little more and doubling down on the things that worked about it, namely its ability to ratchet up tension with moments of silence punctuated by bursts of loudness. It’s a sequel that will be enjoyed by fans of the first one, while also retroactively enhancing the larger story for those of us who wanted a bit more from the original.

This story picks up right where that film ended. But it actually opens with an exciting prologue that serves as a flashback to before the events of the first film, giving Krasinski the opportunity to reprise his role as father Lee Abbott. It’s Day 1 of the alien invasion. Fireballs are falling from the sky, interrupting a Little League game and putting the Abbott family on the run. The sequence does a solid job of opening up the world and providing a bit more context for how this whole thing started, offering some much needed grounding that was largely absent in the first one.

We then cut to Day 473, bypassing the events of the first movie. With Lee now gone, and the arrival of a newborn baby whose cries could alert the creatures at any moment, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and her two kids Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) must venture away from the farm where they are taking sanctuary in search of supplies and help. It’s here that they encounter another survivor, an old friend named Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who is living in an abandoned steel mill.

When Regan, who is Deaf and communicates through sign language, believes that she has found a way to broadcast the feedback signal from her hearing aid that allows the monsters to be easily killed, she sets out on her own. Simmonds is the star here, with Krasinski often putting her at the centre of the action, and she does fine work essentially carrying the film. This effectively sets the stage for a very well edited climax that does a good job of building suspense by cross-cutting between a few different locations and storylines.

Krasinski crafts a number of exciting and well executed set-pieces throughout the film, starting with the action-oriented opening sequence, with his production team making use of actual locations whenever possible. Along with the old mill, an abandoned train yard and a foggy marina provide the settings for memorably tense sequences, and the film is punctuated by a few effectively staged jump scares. This is all matched by Marco Beltrami’s exciting musical score, which heightens the action and the tension whenever it comes in.

The only real drawback of A Quiet Place Part II is that it ends up feeling like simply a middle chapter in what is pretty clearly intended as a trilogy. The film is short, barely ninety minutes to credits, and has a somewhat abrupt ending that prevents it from entirely standing on its own. Still, Krasinski succeeds at crafting a surprisingly solid sequel that does a good of expanding upon its predecessor, and leaving us excited for the inevitable Part III.

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

I was sent the limited edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbook for review, which is quite an appealing set for collectors and fans. The shiny case features minimalistic, predominantly red and black artwork on the front and back, and an illustration of Regan on the train tracks on the inside.

The 4K disc includes no bonus features, but the set comes with a regular Blu-ray disc as well which has a selection of five featurettes. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package.

Director’s Diary: Filming With John Krasinski (9 minutes, 38 seconds): Krasinski takes us behind the scenes of several of the film’s set-pieces, talking about his approach to blocking the action and his desire for practical effects and locations whenever possible.

Pulling Back the Curtain (3 minutes, 47 seconds): This featurette looks at how Krasinski chose to explore more of how the creatures operate this time around, building upon the small clues offered in the first film.

Regan’s Journey (6 minutes, 19 seconds): A look at the development of Regan’s character in the film, built around interviews with Simmonds and others.

Surviving the Marina (5 minutes, 0 seconds): This featurette looks at what went into capturing this particular set-piece, and the challenges of shooting on an actual marina.

Detectable Disturbance: Visual Effects and Sound Design (8 minutes, 26 seconds): Finally, this featurette looks at the film’s visual effects, including the design of the creatures, who were mostly kept in shadows in the first one and are shown in daylight here. The second part focuses on the film’s unique sound design.

A Quiet Place Part II is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 97 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: July 27th, 2021

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