It was released last year, but “A Quiet Place II” is a post-pandemic film.
Warning: spoilers to come.
“A Quiet Place II” premiered in New York City on March 8, 2020. Soon after, the world stopped and it didn’t see a full theatrical release until May 28 of this year.
As the plot of the film, a continuation of 2018’s “A Quiet Place”, lines up perfectly with what happened in real life – people hiding with their families in an attempt to avoid a lurking threat. in the outside world – it’s not that movie. Instead, it’s a deeply disturbing and entertaining thriller that sees the children of the first installment grow up and begin to learn to navigate their new normal while avoiding the threat that awaits them.
Okay, maybe it’s that movie to some extent.
It opens with residents of a small town watching a Little League game. A mysterious flaming object appears in the sky. Soon after, aliens appear and start killing everyone indiscriminately. The Abbott family manages to escape and hide to endure the situations we saw in “A Quiet Place”.
It’s not a prequel, however. John Krasinski – who directed and co-wrote the first and wrote, directed and produced this one – simply provides a backstory to set up the new plot.
A little story
“A Quiet Place II” takes about 12 minutes to go from the baseball game to the present tense. The Abbots eventually figure out how to kill the monsters, and then head to their next new normal.
Emerging from their hiding place after Father Lee Abbott, played by Krasinski, sacrifices himself for her children, mother Evelyn Abbott leads the family in their quest for a new shelter. That’s when Marcus Abbott enters a bear trap, alerting a nearby alien with his screams.
A man wearing a bandana – and no, it’s still not that movie – comes to their aid by taking them to his bunker. After a few tense minutes, we find out that the man is Emmett, one of Lee’s friends.
Lee and Evelyn’s deaf daughter Regan Abbott discovers a message via Emmett’s radio. There is life beyond the sea, he says, in this case on Long Island. Wanting to continue her father’s work, she sneaks around to find the source of the transmission.
When Evelyn realizes this, she implores Emmett to go save her daughter. He resists, but Evelyn tells him that Lee wants him to save Regan. Emmett gives in and off we go.
They grow up so fast
“A Quiet Place” wasn’t technically a parenting movie. Much like the sequel, it was a movie about roaming monsters using ultrasonic hearing to hunt down and kill anyone they can find.
In the original, viewers saw Lee and Evelyn Abbott struggle to protect their growing family. In “A Quiet Place II”, viewers see the children come of age and fight against defeated monsters themselves.
Regan wears her father’s coat. In the original, she found out how to cripple aliens and get them to expose vulnerabilities under their armor by amplifying the feedback from her hearing aid. In the sequel, she uses that knowledge, along with her tenacity and ingenuity, to attempt to save what remains of humanity.
It might be quiet, but you’re still on the edge
With “A Quiet Place II”, Krasinski reveals himself as a masterful screenwriter and director. The tension he creates with his cinematography and intentional silence annoys you. Coupled with the length of the film, which certainly doesn’t outlive the average viewer’s bladder, his talent echoes that of Alfred Hitchcock, even though Hitchcock was simply quoting Shaw.
My oldest daughter, who I watched the movie with, compared the movie to zombie apocalypse stories. It sounds peaceful, but you are still waiting for the monster to appear off the screen.
We weren’t alone in the theater, waiting for the monsters to appear. There were a handful of teenagers around us. Allocated seats were ignored and there were no masks.
If we were neurotics, these things would have been terrifying. Instead, they brought a sense of life to the party, a subtle sign that the new real-world normal is, in fact, the old normal.
For an hour and 37 minutes, we sat, with those around us, with white hands waiting to see what was going to happen. Do aliens have a few main characters? Would Regan finish her father’s job with the help of Emmett, who was driven by his own desire for redemption after losing his own family?
The children are fine
Yes, Regan and Emmett do. And at a turning point in the original, children save parents.
Sitting in this theater with other humans, all unmasked, all panting at the terror that Krasinski so skillfully portrayed, my daughter and I returned to the old normalcy. The only terror was on the screen. None of us were afraid of each other, none of us left the best places to be away from other humans. We all relaxed and watched a movie.
“A Quiet Place II” may not be an intentional parable. Rather, it may be the one who accidentally captures the terror, loneliness, and later hope that we’ve all felt over the past year or so. It may also be a very good movie.
Either way, it reminds us that no matter what things lie ahead at night, we have the resilience to overcome them.
Richard Cromwell is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter, @ rcromwell4.