The cinemas have been a quiet place. It feels good to be back.
TAMPA – You are at the cinema. the real movies.
There is that smell. Popcorn with Electric Butter, Soda Rivers, wayward Junior Mints and sweaty palms. The carpet is still ugly, the prices still high.
White lighted posters advertise things you’ve seen at home. You watched Godzilla vs. Kong from the couch, and it was fun and easy. You almost forgot that these creatures were meant to be big.
But after a year of living small, you started to wonder: is the couch a cop outside, a twig snap against a thunderclap? What did you miss?
So you are here to A Quiet Place, Part II, the sequel to a thriller that blossoms in silence. It was due out in March 2020, and well. Instead of broadcasting like so many others, the film’s creators resisted. Now, as we come out of a pandemic, this is one of the first big movies to be released exclusively in theaters.
You’re late tonight, but that’s the way it’s always been. You went to a restaurant in the mall, or for ice cream, or the nearby pet store with your date. A night like this isn’t just about the movie. It is a before, a during and an after.
A bored teenager points to your theater and someone else rushes you to a seat. It’s about to start, he says, and it’s the darkest theater. He’s excited, bubbling like a 32 ounce Coke.
You forgot how plush movie theaters became before the pandemic. This one, AMC Veterans 24, has reclining leather chairs with armrests. You remember the feeling of theaters, sticky floors, scuffed seats, odd feet in your ears.
It’s black. Then you see John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, not shrunk on a TV or crammed into a laptop. They are giants from floor to ceiling. Transcendent. How can someone be so tall? How have we ever seen it this way? How did we stop?
When the evil beast leaps into the frame, the audio rumbles and slams. The walls are shaking and you are back in your memories. You’re at jurassic park and Titanic and Die hard, and you grab your date by the fingers and squeeze.
This film is being made for the moment. It’s post-apocalyptic, a broken family emerging from isolation to flee a supernatural foe. It is painfully relevant. In a scene, there is a literal unmasking.
Our real threat is invisible. Here he has claws and a gaping face, preying on those who dare to make a sound. Its targets hide in basements and ovens, avoiding the death of monsters and men.
To survive, people have to work together. You watch the characters fumble around, and it’s clear who they represent. The brave. The wise. Those who fend for themselves. Those who despise empathy and the truth.
In the cinema, you are quiet together. You scream and jump together. You share snacks and whispers. You meet old friends. You stumble down the aisles in the dark. You say sorry and sorry. You have trouble finding a time to use the bathroom.
You go out in pods, sharing opinions and questions. For once, you are arguing over imaginary lands. You received 90 minutes of escape, plus the gift of a new conversation.
Yeah, maybe you’re too nostalgic. You forget about speakers, crunchers and shushers. You neglect the perks of the house, the pause button and the pajamas and the fridge. But it is okay.
Because tonight there is magic in defeating 30-foot-tall monsters. In a postponed world, taking a quiet step inside sounds like something very noisy.
A Quiet Place, Part II
Opens in theaters Friday and will be available on the Paramount + subscription service 45 days later. This chronicle was based on early detection.
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