A Quiet Place will always be one of the most shocking films for me as a non-horror aficionado because I never expected to love it as much as I do. I’ve also never seen a film like this in theaters, and that in and of itself, feels like some sort of an accomplishment. But in spite of its suspense and the gore tied to the monsters, A Quiet Place has some of the most beautiful stories to tell. It’s a love letter to the next generation. A love letter to understanding people and families and especially children.
And A Quiet Place II is an exceptional sequel because the franchise continues to understand the importance of details along with the unbridled spectacle of love. The second film in particular screams through powerful sequences that showcase the fact that though people operate differently, when they’re on the same page, the results will so often be met with success.
Emily Blunt shines as brilliantly and as hauntingly as she did in the first film, and I’m back on my soapbox screaming about how she should’ve won an Oscar for the original film. (Give her the award!) But also, as much as Blunt shines with a full range of emotions, I came out of the film stunned mostly by Millicent Simmonds’ impeccable performance as Regan Abbott. And while Simmonds was astounding in the first film, she is, without a question, the star of the second, and the performer who’s deserving of accolades left and right. Let the campaign begin.
Cillian Murphy’s Emmett was also fantastic addition to the team who brings a jaded spirit to life amidst characters who are still persevering some semblance of hope. And thus, it ultimately leads to one of my favorite occurrences in film where said jaded character is inspired by the outpouring of goodness that they see in others.
Ultimately, the decision to split the Abbott family apart by putting Emmett with Regan on her quest to follow the music and leaving Evelyn, Marcus, and the new baby worked so well for the incredible sequences that told even grander stories.
The parallel sequences in A Quiet Place II do a superlative job of delivering moments that feel like a larger gut-punch than any of the jump scares could master. Through the parallels of how both parties take the necessary measures to fight off the monsters, we’re given glimpses into the detail that this is a film that takes kids and their capabilities seriously. They’re the ones who command the attention because they’re the ones pulling the strings, and that’s especially true for Regan, who’s not only so much like her father, but her mother too. And that final sequence with Marcus bravely standing up too reiterated the importance of trust perfectly.
It was these very sequences that boldly showcased just how much these films care about bringing to life bravery in the face of children. And of course, it isn’t to say that the adults lack bravery, but we were given the clear juxtaposition between a man stepping behind while a child stepped forward to reveal that this is important for humanity as a whole. Sometimes, the adults are the ones who are scared.
It got me thinking of one of my favorite Bible verses that states: “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” I personally always looked at this verse not as a command, but rather the detail that a child’s faith is always untethered to darkness. We stop believing in a lot of things when we get older and the world gets darker. We even stop believing in the possibility that things will get better. It’s not so much about faith even, but rather everything. Life jades us and breaks us. And Emmett is ultimately a version of all of us, whereas Regan stands as the beacon of hope who refuses to give up on the belief that she can fix this.
We were given progression and growth for all characters and most surprisingly, the sequel allowed them all to survive. For now. And hopefully for good, but that’s not the point. The point is that the film allowed itself to be feel human and it did so in the face of opposites. It allowed itself to be a love story, and it allowed itself to be a testament to the fact that children should taken seriously and revered. It touched on their fears, their bravery, and the importance of trusting their decisions.
It’s a film that touches on the importance of humanity through sequences centered on survival and while I’m not too familiar with this genre to say whether or not survival is rare or not, in any other genre, such as drama, I imagine we’d see a bit more darkness than we did in this.
It’s also why it’s almost always been easy to draw on parallels to Stranger Things because both center their stories around survival, and the decision to understand the voices of children—the decision to cater to their strengths and weaknesses along with the attentiveness when listening. It’s essentially what the story comes down to in A Quiet Place II with the addition of a new character, which is the choice to trust in a child you don’t know and whom you don’t share a similar language to.
The film’s attentive care to American Sign Language and the immense love they’ve poured into honoring it is always so beautiful to see. When Regan grabbed Emmett’s face and said “enunciate,” there was so much power in the performances that broke barriers off-screen too, reminding us all to be gentle and kind to people when we don’t speak the same language. As someone whose family members don’t speak English fluently, I’ve always watched them apologize to people when they stutter or say the wrong things, but really, no one should have to apologize for such things. As people, we all need to understand the importance of making people feel safe along with the importance of meeting people halfway without judgement. And when dive came back later on, the film honored that moment from the flashback acutely.
A Quiet Place II is just as beautiful as the first film and John Krasinski’s vision as a director is something I hope we continue to see often. We all need A Quiet Place III like yesterday. These films are stressful, anxiety inducing, but genuinely so special it’ll never not floor me, and it’s because it comes down to the fact that in its silence, it screams about the power of love.