The second installment of John Krasinski's A Quiet Place opens with a flashback to the Abbott family watching Marcus (Noah Jupe) at bat in a Little League game. The scene is masterfully staged. As Lee (Krasinski) parks his truck and goes to take his spot in the bleachers, he hears news reports of a tremendous and unexplained calamity in Shanghai. Then, a strange object appears in the sky—a meteorite that seems to burst as it streaks through the clouds—and everyone runs to their cars just as extraterrestrial creatures arrive, intent on destruction and making up for their blindness with their acute hearing. A necessity for survival requires being quiet.
Because of their fluency in sign language (their eldest kid, played by Millicent Simmonds‘s Regan, is deaf), the Abbot family is able to survive the first wave of attacks in A Quiet Place despite not making a single sound. And after this sort of origin story that starts on a baseball field in an idyllic small town and ends with a stylish and brazen battle sequence on Main Street, A Quiet Place Part II jumps to the present day, immediately following the events of the first film, after Lee has died heroically trying to save his family from the monsters invading their post-apocalyptic compound.
The farm that had allowed the Abbots to be self-sufficient up until that point has been destroyed, and now the family—including the newborn whose impending birth infused A Quiet Place with a suffocating sense of foreboding—must venture out into the unknown world with few resources and even less hope, clearly stunned by all that they have already lost. Particularly impressive is Emily Blunt's portrayal of Evelyn, who, in the wake of her husband's death, leads Marcus, Regan, and her infant down a sand trail to a signal fire that ultimately leads to an ancient, seemingly abandoned steel factory.
Krasinski builds much of the suspense on the several ways in which the family could unwittingly invite the monsters to their doorstep. When a trip wire and a bear trap threaten to end their search for shelter at the steel mill, a family friend, Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who was first seen chatting with Lee in the opening flashback and has since holed up with a bottle of vodka after the deaths of his wife and children, comes to their rescue in a tense set piece. As soon as Regan gets the idea that the song on the loop on the radio might be a clue to the whereabouts of other survivors, she sneaks off in the middle of the night, and Emmett decides to go after her. By going back and forth between horror stories that mirror one another, he creates a complex system of signs and signifiers that gives his characters' predicament greater resonance.
Chekhov's pistol is a staple of the horror genre because of the promise it holds for the audience, but Krasinski imbues the landscape of his stories with significance without being overt about his goals. So, the events of A Quiet Place 2 don't just pile up and serve to increase the terror for no reason. But there are also a lot of genuine scares to be found here, especially in the form of lingering shots that frame a foregrounded character for a few beats longer than we'd expect, sending us searching the screen for the monster we know is coming. In addition to the already oppressive atmosphere, the sound design takes it to a whole new level.
Krasinski is at his most at ease when the film's tension is driven by the significance of family and legacy. While Emmett is mostly a necessary tool to help Regan test her theory, and Evelyn is mostly sidelined into the role of protector, it is the children who take center stage, having learned the values of perseverance and ingenuity from their parents. Now the dejected adults watch as the children of the apocalypse fight to create the possibility of a future, and the mirroring that Krasinski develops throughout A Quiet Place Part II has been a clue all along to its finale, in which two climactic scenes taking place miles apart from one another become linked in the most clever and moving of ways.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There a Quiet Place 3?
Krasinski has been inspired by the huge success of his post-apocalyptic horror picture to come up with a new idea and direct a third episode, scheduled for 2024. However, despite helming two critically acclaimed films, The Office star has no plans to helm A Quiet Place 3.
Where Did the Things in a Quiet Place Come From?
In April 2018, Krasinski told the Empire podcast where the Quiet Place monsters came from, confirming that they are indeed aliens: “They are aliens for sure. They come from a different world.
Who Are the Aliens in the Movie a Quiet Place?
Death Angels are a race of extraterrestrial creatures that are the main bad guys in A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place: Part II. Survivors often just call them “The Creatures.”