Final Verdict: A well-crafted sequel that delivers on the thrills and scares but never loses focus on the human drama that made the original so successful.
About The Film
Shhhhhh! Don’t read this review out loud or the aliens will get you!
The original A Quiet Place (2018) was actually the first movie we ever reviewed here on The Collision and was my favorite movie of that year. Granted, as a guy who zealously proselytizes that JAWS is greatest movie ever made, the character vs. monster genre hits a sweet spot for me. Still, A Quiet Place was worthy of admittance into the pantheon of great monster films because the John Krasinski-directed film was never primarily about monster carnage or gratuitous gore—it was about family. Setting that film over a year into the alien invasion, and focusing almost exclusively on the Abbott family, the movie explored how a family navigates a hostile and violent world.
A Quiet Place Part II never loses sight of what made the original so successful. Although the film starts to pull back the curtain to expand its worldbuilding and begins with a flashback glimpse into the horrors of Day 1 of the invasion, the focus remains firmly fixed on the Abbott family. The surrounding devastation and terror are always presented from the perspective of one of the core characters. The film is character-driven rather than spectacle-driven; using the horror elements in service of the human drama, rather than using characters are hollow fodder for empty spectacle.
Of course, it is not just a family drama. It is also horror/thriller that must deliver its fair share of jumps and scares—and it does. The high concept of aliens who hunt by a heightened sense of hearing remains fruitful soil for staging tense scenes and thrilling set pieces. The use of silence is once again used brilliantly. Watching this film in a theater of people collectively holding their breathes further amplified the experience. My wife and I left the theater, walked across the parking lot back in our car, and were driving home before we stopped talking in whispers.
As much as I loved the original film, I was skeptical about the idea of a sequel. While not as fresh as the original, A Quiet Place II is a well-crafted and worthy sequel that does enough to justify its existence as more than a Hollywood cash-grab. The somewhat abrupt ending seems to suggest that a Part 3 is imminent, and I’m not sure how many more stories can be squeezed out of this simple concept. But I thought the same about Part 2 and was happily proven wrong. These films are not for everyone, but for those who desire some good scares and heart-warming character drama, the Quiet Place films are quickly establishing themselves as among the best of the genre.
Profanity: Several minor profanities. One use of the Lord’s name in vain.
Violence: Lots, although the violence is almost always suggestive and occurs off-screen. There is very little blood or violence explicitly shown in-focus on the screen, although the implied violence is disturbing and brutal.
Engage the Film
Growing Up in a Hostile World
The first Quiet Place film served as an extended metaphor for parenting. It examined this theme through the eyes of the two Abbott parents as they grappled with how to raise up their children to live in a violent and hostile world. Real-world events since that film’s release have only further affirmed the relevance of that important message. A Quiet Place 2 continues to unpack this metaphor by shifting the focus from the parents to the children (wonderfully emphasized by a satisfyingly climactic ending). If the first film was a metaphor for raising and developing children, the sequel is about launching those children from the nest and letting them spread their wings.
Throughout the film, the two Abbott children take on increased responsibility. They are forced to combat their fears and insecurities and to contribute to the preservation of the family unit. There is a wonderfully realized generational emphasis that showcases the important protective role of parenting, but also the need for trust and a willingness to allow children come into their own. In a culture today that likewise seems ready to pounce and devour anyone who dares to speak out of line and use their voice, this message remains as relevant and timely as it did with the first film in 2018.
The Value of Life
Too many horror or monster films fall into the trap of focusing on death. They exist merely to showcase innovative ways for characters to die, often in gratuitous and visceral ways. There is something bloodthirsty and off-putting about such films. With both A Quiet Place films, the focus is firmly on the value of life. Death and violence are always present, but never glorified or presented as an end to itself. Rather, the real threat of death serves to highlight the importance and value of life. A Quiet Place 2 is about perseverance and survival in the face of danger; about pressing on even when things appear hopeless.
The first Quiet Place film was as surprisingly Pro-Life as any mainstream Hollywood film in recent memory. Despite the horrors and danger, the Abbotts still decide that it is worth bringing a newborn child into the world. The value to life that is not diminished by circumstances, and what seems foolish and reckless to other is showed as something beautiful and natural. A Quiet Place 2 doubles down on this message. In a world that divides and isolates people, and which brings the worst of humanity to the surface, life is still worth living and people are still worth saving. Hopefully it doesn’t require an alien invasion for us to learn these same timeless lessons.