Man against monsters
A Quiet Place Part II is packed with jump-scares for theatergoers
For months a yellowed poster for A Quiet Place Part II, the sequel to John Krasinski’s hit 2018 apocalyptic alien film, hung outside the shuttered movie theater in my New York City neighborhood. The film was supposed to premiere last year, right when the pandemic turned New York into an apocalyptic setting of its own. I couldn’t help but feel some parallels with the “before” and “after” of the pandemic.
In this film we cut back to the day before the sound-sensitive, human-destroying monsters come to Earth, as the townspeople go to a baseball game blissfully unaware of what is coming. Then we cut to “Day 474,” when the ragged surviving family (played by Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe) is busy gathering oxygen, medicine, and food.
Unlike countless superhero movies obsessed with the villains’ origins, Krasinski wisely ignores the origins of these sound-sensitive murderous aliens. He thinks it’s more interesting in Part 2 to look at how the other humans have reacted to the monsters.
The root of the word apocalypse means “to reveal.” What does this apocalypse reveal about the ugliness of human nature? One scene here is scarier than anything involving the blind monsters: other humans who have silently turned into monsters themselves.
This film, rated PG-13 for violence and a profanity, is a little scarier than the first one, partly because the newborn baby in the family raises the stakes of every encounter with the monsters. But like its predecessor, the film mostly frightens with jump-scares. With no wasted minutes and sound central to the plot, Part 2 is a good theater movie—our pandemic era’s Jurassic Park. Krasinski has also left the door open to a Part 3.
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