2018’s A Quiet Place broke new ground for the realm of horror. An apocalyptic world where making any sound could get you killed by seemingly-indestructible monsters proved to be both exciting and innovative. Not only was it great horror and science fiction, but it also had a lot of heart. Now, the next chapter in the series has finally been released. A Quiet Place Part II picks up right where the original left off, but is it just as scary or heartfelt? Listen up, because all the details are being analyzed to find out. Caution: spoilers lie ahead.
A Quiet Place Part II not only picks up where the story of the first film leaves off, but it shows us what happened when the monsters first got to Earth. This was a welcoming explanation that the original left out. Not only that, but it’s an extremely fun and suspenseful sequence that shows the immediate impact of the creatures’ arrival, provides more backstory for the main family, and overall makes this sequel feel like a solid standalone film by giving us an introduction into the story.
Another welcome addition to this installment is that the audience gets more of an insight into how other humans are surviving during the apocalypse. Whether there’s a loner living underground or a small community living together on a remote island, it’s both interesting and important to world building to establish how others are living outside of the central family. We’re even briefly introduced to the idea of a human threat, which would also obviously exist in this apocalypse. Seeing how they go about things is just as fascinating.
This sequel is just as scary as the first movie for many reasons. There are more glimpses of the monsters, and they’re pretty threatening with the way they look and move. The characters are a bit more split up this time around, which allows for a lot of suspense when a creature is stalking them. Plus it creates a sense of concern for them as you wonder how they’ll get out of various predicaments. Because of the nature of these movies, any sound the characters make becomes nerve-racking since it could mean their imminent demise.
Not only are the scares still present, but so is the heart. The relationship between the main family feels organic and relatable. When a character is in danger, you worry about how the others might react to losing them just as much as you worry about them being killed off. A new character for the sequel, Emmet, provides a lot of the heart of this story. He provides a look at what someone would become in this world after losing his family. His regret and heartbreak adds a great deal of emotion to the story. The heart of the film is primarily what guides the plot forward.
The attention to detail the filmmakers put into every shot is outstanding. How setpieces are designed and how props are placed help tell the story in this world while also making everything feel more realistic. When we see someone taken out by a monster, we see their body laying in that same part of the street, which is something other horror movies may forget to do. Even little details, like where a towel is placed on a handle, has a reason for being there. Everything in the movie is put there with a purpose.
These props and set details (which are expertly crafted by the production design team) also play a large part in the film’s foreshadowing. Early on, our attention is drawn to a radio, a latch, oxygen tanks, a cochlear implant, and other objects, each of which plays a huge part in the story in later scenes. The amount of payoff for each item shown is satisfying to experience. Also adding to the foreshadowing is the sign language Regan teaches Emmett in the opening scene. There are plenty of exciting callbacks throughout the movie to quite a lot of details we’re introduced to early on.
Something that especially stands out in A Quiet Place II is how much development each character gets. Marcus, who’s introduced as someone with extreme anxiety, learns to overcome it to protect his family. Emmet fights to make up for the guilt he feels for not keeping his family alive. Regan grows into a total badass. Each of the characters’ arcs receive the payoff they deserve.
One of the most essential and needed details in both of these films is the use of actual ASL and representation for the deaf community. Much of the cast learned sign language for the films. It’s not something typically represented in movies, so it’s certainly a nice touch here.
Marcus may grow as a character by the end of the movie. Before he does, though, he can be a bit of a pain. He causes just about every dangerous scenario he’s in, including putting the baby in harm’s way. His actions cause Emmett’s underground living space to be absolutely wrecked. The suspenseful and troublesome events he finds himself in are still entertaining to watch, and it always feels like something his character, who’s a child with anxiety, would realistically do, but it can be a little annoying at times.
It’s eventually discovered that the monsters can’t swim and that they aren’t able to cross bodies of water. It’s like Signs all over again… but MUCH better. Why would the aliens come to a planet that’s mostly water if they don’t like water? It seems like they crash landed here, so that’s not really much of an issue. However, if they can’t cross water, wouldn’t there be plenty of places on Earth that are completely untouched by these things? They probably didn’t land on every single continent, right? Australia probably could have done at least something to aid other countries during the monster attacks. Maybe they did and it’s something we’ll see more of in future sequels.
The movie ends somewhat abruptly. It’s after an exciting climax, but there’s nothing afterward. The movie ends with a community of survivors in disarray, a couple of the monsters are killed, Emmet’s home is destroyed, and the kids have proven themselves to be badasses. The characters are also all split up still. There could have easily been a quick epilogue showing the Abbott family reuniting and settling in at the island community, but instead, everything was left at a seemingly random moment. Perhaps this is to save some story for future films, so hopefully more sequels are on the way.
A Quiet Place Part II successfully picks up where the first movie ends while also providing some much needed explanations. It builds upon the world the original introduced us to while telling its own mostly-standalone story. It’s scary, suspenseful, emotional, well-written, and incredibly shot.
Sure, there are moments that feel like there could be more explanation for the sake of world building or furthering the story, but we’ll likely see that happen in future sequels. Marcus has some annoying moments, but he’s still likable and relatable and develops into more of a hero. Both A Quiet Place movies are undoubtedly a welcome addition to both horror and sci-fi. If you enjoyed the first film, you’re in for an equally-enjoyable experience with A Quiet Place Part II.
Rating: 9.5 / 10