A Quiet Place (2018) vs. A Quiet Place Part II (2021)
“Leave it pretty much alone” is a suggestion Hollywood never took seriously, but now it’s worse than ever. Movies don’t even have to be good or successful to spawn entire sequels or franchises. It’s gotten to the point that when I see a great movie, the end credits aren’t even over until I’m worried about what’s to come next. “A Quiet Place” (2018) is a very good movie. What comes next is finally here after a pandemic delay. Is “A Quiet Place Part II” (2021) something to be thankful for, like an extra serving of pudding, or is it something to be deplored, like diabetes from too much pudding? That’s what this edition of KIMT’s Weekend Franchise Throwdown will be looking at.
“A Quiet Place” wasn’t just one of the best movies of 2018, it was a real sensation. It was the kind of movie that we told others they just had to see. It also made it one of the biggest hits of the year, especially considering that it was designed for the big studio equivalent of the change I find in my sofa cushions. The story of a family at the end of the world, “A Quiet Place” is something extremely intelligent and even more refined. Hollywood not doing another one would be me like turning down a date with Diane Lane. It won’t happen in a million years.
It opens with a family shopping at a drugstore, but a very strange kind of shopping. They are all barefoot, no one is saying anything, and the store looks as abandoned as a politician’s respect for the truth. After getting medicine for the sick elder boy (Noah Jupe) and telling the younger boy (Cade Woodward) that he can’t have a battery-powered toy spaceship, the mother and father (Emily Blunt and John Krasinski ) take their sons and deaf daughter (Millicent Simmonds) back home along a strangely marked trail of sand.
Sudden tragedy then explains everything. Human civilization has been virtually destroyed by almost invulnerable monsters that hunt by sound. Keep silent and stay alive. Take a peek and find yourself a quick meal for something terrifying. The film then advances by nearly a year to see the family manage their new living conditions fairly well. Except for one thing. The mother is pregnant and the only thing that childbirth isn’t … is calm.
That’s all the plot I’m going to get into because “A Quiet Place” is a masterful thriller and not knowing what’s going to happen is a big part of that thriller. It is extremely well structured and rhythmic. Star / director / co-writer John Krasinski shows off some great cinematic qualities by presenting a scary film that is both comforting traditional and welcoming innovative. The actors’ performances are compelling, which is made more impressive by the fact that they communicate more through sign language than through speech.
I described “A Quiet Place” as really good. It is. It’s a clear step below the big one, however, and it’s an indictment of modern cinema that a PG-13 horror film like “A Quiet Place” can receive the critical and commercial success it has. He knew. An intelligent concept executed intelligently should not be applauded. This should be what we expect. Instead, we’re all losing our minds today if a movie just doesn’t suck. Zack Snyder has now made three DC superhero films. None of them are really good (no, not even the “Snyder Cut”) but because Snyder shows true creative vision in making these bad movies, he and they have garnered a significant fan base. This is how people starve for quality entertainment. They can be blown away by something that always sucks as much as it creatively sucks.
After such public enthusiasm and nearly 20 times its production budget, even a global pandemic was not going to prevent the making of “A Quiet Place Part II”. And while I was suspicious on entry, I’m happy to report that it’s almost as good as the original. Krasinski is back as a director and probably does an even better job this time around because even though he had a lot of original material to work with in “A Quiet Place”, he doesn’t do it this time around. There is nothing new in “A Quiet Place Part II” and you can’t help but notice the heavy use of standard horror techniques like menacing music and spooky jumps, things wonderfully absent from the first. movie.
But that’s what makes Krasinski’s direction so remarkable here. It doesn’t have the advantage that an audience doesn’t know what’s going on, but it doesn’t try to add a bunch of extra stuff to the core concept of the film to make up for that. There aren’t many credibility-straining twists in “A Quiet Place Part II”. There’s just the ongoing struggle of a family trying to make their way through the apocalypse.
Picking up almost immediately after the first film ends, the sequel sees our heroes forced to leave their devastated farmhouse in search of help. They find an old friend (Cillian Murphy) who bluntly informs them that help is the last thing they should expect, because anyone who is still alive is “not worth saving.” This does not deter the deaf girl from dreaming of saving everyone, worthy or not.
I’m going to go into the plot details of “A Quiet Place Part II” even less as there aren’t many new ideas to keep the viewer’s attention. I mean, the sequel ends in pretty much the same narrative and dramatic place as the original. They are planning on doing a third one and honestly whatever that script is, it probably might as well have been the sequel itself and the events of “A Quiet Place Part II” could have been removed with a few lines of exposure.
Which does not mean that the rest is not satisfactory. There are a lot of things here that are as good or better than the first movie. There is one moment in particular that could be such a disturbing post-apocalyptic scene of destruction as I’ve ever seen in a movie. The performances remain strong and Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds look like young actors who could make a good living as adults. We can also see more monsters without destroying their sense of dread and threat.
But something new and good always beats something old and good, which annoys me more and more as I get older, so this Throwdown has to go to “A Quiet Place”. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. It is so good. If you enjoyed the first one, the sequel is also worth watching… but it’s not a movie you really have to see. I don’t know what Krasinski and the company have in store for Part III, but at least I’m not afraid it sucks.
Small victories, folks. Small victories.
A Quiet Place (2018)
Written by Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and John Krasinski.
Directed by John Krasinski.
Starring Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward and Leon Russom.
A Quiet Place, Part II (2021)
Written and directed by John Krasinski.
Starring Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou, Okieriete Onaodowan, Scoot McNairy, Zachary Golinger, Blake DeLong, Gary Sundown and Ashley Dyke.