We’ve spoken many a-time about the existence and execution of sequels on this site – but, let’s face it, there are so many of them these days that it usually forces our hand. Hollywood has become franchise-centric, as you know, but has had to put even more eggs in its basket so to speak due to the long-lasting after effects of the pandemic which has ripped a hole in the industry, and the arts at large. So, with the summer slowly creeping in (only just in Old Blighty), and cinemas ready to reconvene for the long haul, it’s back down to business.
One of the first films postponed as the world went into lockdown was A Quiet Place II, John Krasinski‘s much-anticipated yet wholly unexpected follow-up to 2018’s surprise blockbuster. Unexpected in the sense that a) they were sure the concept would work, so much so that Krasinski has spoken of his want to change the first film’s outcome (we won’t spoil if you’re playing catch-up) and b) that this was meant as a one-time deal. How naive, in the best possible way.
Still, a year on from its original release date, those who demanded a sequel will be very pleased to here that Krasinski and Co have knocked it out of the park (with a silent bat and ball, of course) and produced not just one of the great horror sophomores but one of the best sequels of the decade. High praise, but wholly worth it in our opinion but perhaps we’d go even higher to say this is Krasinski‘s Dark (yet beautifully quiet) Knight, a film that steps away from the trappings of genre and sequels while also embracing them in a whole new way, expanding the vision and world in a way that flows organically from the story rather than spectacle – and, in QPII’s case, scares – for a beautifully measured, richer, bolder and ultimately more explosive second round. Whether it’s its striking score, ferocious cinematography or pitch-perfect design, those behind the camera have all come together perfectly and while there are a few nagging issues (some of the moments towards the end are a little wide of the mark), it’s hard to find any real flaws.
Taking the reins fully, Krasinski has brought all of his talents to the fore, mixing sheer dread with some comedic-ish moments that help break the tension, positioning him as one of Hollywood’s best young directors. What he does next outside of the franchise will.be fascinating, given some of his earlier efforts (namely 2013’s underrated indie The Hollers) weren’t of such a chilling nature.
Fuelled by Millicent Simmonds‘s outstanding central turn – she takes the baton more than mum Emily Blunt, who still impresses as ever – and a new dynamic brought my Cillian Murphy, as they begin a new search for survivors in their hopeless yet hopeful journey to find salvation and defeat the entities that have engulfed the world. A flawless ensemble help to propel the film to realms even audiences won’t be expecting (as we certainly weren’t), while still filling it with the same terror and suspense that comes from its unique conceit as well as maintaining its story and characters above all. You’d hear us cheering but we are keeping it in just in case.
Horror, Drama | USA, 2020 | 15 | Cinema | 4th June 2021 (UK) | Paramount Pictures | Dir.John Krasinski | Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou