After the COVID pandemic shuttered theaters and delayed theatrical releases throughout 2020, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2018’s surprise horror/thriller smash hit from John Krasinski landed in May 2021. I marked the celebration of a year of quarantine and boredom by enjoying QP2 in the glorious setting of a theater, the first film I have watched in person since the pandemic. That weird dynamic of a mostly empty theater even after mass vaccinations and the lowering of restrictions only added to the spookiness of the apocalypse in the Quietverse.
Quiet Place 1 did not give us any prologue – we are dropped right into day 472 of some kind of vague global calamity, which is revealed through the story to be some sort of invasion by a blind, highly aggressive and predatorial alien species that hunts by sound and has wiped out a lot of the population (as people are quiet noisy in a modern life). QP2 starts with Day 1, and actually shows the initial destruction of the population from the beasts, which we all know to be sound-based predators, but Day 1 folks find that out the hard way (or not at all). After that intro, we are dropped back to moments immediately after the end of the first film. The cut is seamless, and no doubt was filmed at the same time for continuity. It is an awesome cinematic move and immediately transports you back into the gravity of the situation as you recall what just happened (in 2017) and wonder what will happen next.
QE2 answers that “What will happen next?” question – the family, now one member less strong but now understanding a rudimentary way to defeat the monsters, decides to leave the homestead and search out another group of survivors. What follows is the exploration of a world that is physically larger but still a still feels as claustrophobic and empty as the farm in part 1, rife with new elements like a safe refuge and raider gangs. It is a logical step in the world building of the Quietverse, and there aren’t many missteps.
One qualm you could have would be in the pacing at times – the movie seems to move in uneven intervals but I feel as though that may keep you from expecting the next jump around the corner. Additionally, the monsters didn’t really add any new moves to their repertoire, which means that the methods to deal with them are remarkably simple to a certain degree, taking some of the fear out of facing them. There is an added wrinkle to the water element that was introduced in the first film, but I won’t spoil that detail. Overall though, the lack of change in predation by the stalkers contrasts with the doom and dread you feel in part 1 when they are seemingly invulnerable. We have become ‘used’ to the threat of them, as have the other survivors, and complacency can kill in these situations. To the movie’s credit, some complacent survivors do not make it.
Overall, QP2 is an excellent continuation of the story, and has a satisfactory closing while still potentially allowing for a part 3. I know John Krasinski was hesitant to write part 2, but I feel like as long as he maintains the level of control he has on his IP, this series can continue to make a big impact. Here’s to hoping if there’s a part 3, he’s going to remain at the helm and not farm it out.