A Quiet Place: Part 2 is a Cinematic Masterpiece


A Quiet Place: Part 2 is a masterpiece and the exact kind of movie you would want to watch in theaters.

Directed by John Krasinski of The Office fame, who also directed and starred in the first movie, this movie brings back stars Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe from the first movie, and adds Cillian Murphy to its cast. The movie premiered on March 8, 2020, but the nationwide release was pushed to May 28, 2021. The movie takes place immediately after the events of the first movie, which is about a family trying to survive in a world infested with monsters that are hypersensitive to sound. In this movie, the family moves out of their home to search for other survivors.

The movie is marketed as a horror, but it should really be its own genre. You roll together sci-fi, horror, suspense, and a lot of Hitchcock influence, and this is the result. There are so many good things to talk about that I don’t know where to start.

Let’s begin with the cinematography: this movie is absolutely beautiful. You could probably take any one shot from the movie and turn it into a painting. The movie is meticulous with its use of color, with a heavy emphasis on red, and it was laid over with a grainy texture, which contributes to its aesthetic as a horror movie.

The movie also has an amazing sound design; owing to the fact that sound designers Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn, and Brandon Proctor were brought back and instructed to follow the same guidelines as they did for the first movie. Due to the nature of this movie, the absence of sound is just as important as the presence of it. There were times where the movie got so quiet that all I could hear was the whirring of the newly installed adjustable seats. Every itty bitty sound makes you tense, and you get the sense that the slightest mistake would cost the characters their lives.

So how much suspense does this movie have? The answer to that question is yes. This movie turns suspense up to 100 and probably more intensely than the first movie. This is not for the faint of heart. Before I walked into theaters, I told myself that there was no way that a movie could keep my heart pounding out of my chest for an hour and a half; then the movie proceeded to keep my heart pounding out of my chest for an hour and a half. I found myself clutching the collar of my jacket or covering my mouth which was already covered by my mask. There are moments where you can breathe, but those moments are far and few between, and there are only just enough to ensure you won’t pass out from holding your breath.

Now let’s talk about the characters. The performances were absolutely incredible, both the adult and child actors; when characters cried out in pain or in sorrow, I truly believed they were hurt or in mourning. What else can you expect from A-list actors such as Emily Blunt or Cillian Murphy?

As for the characters they played: what you typically see in horror movies are characters that are either plain stupid or evil-to-the-core, with maybe one smart character. You can sometimes even predict who’s going to die, and in what order. Not in this movie. Don’t expect to see a lot of the horror movie cliches you’re used to; instead, expect to see something fresh, something that will keep you guessing what is going to happen next. What’s more, the characters in this movie are actually likable. You want to see them live and develop as people. There’s no unnecessarily pessimistic and Machiavellian character that the audience wishes would just disappear.

This movie is greater in scope than its predecessor by focusing on characters beyond the family, and as such, death takes greater prominence in this movie (spoiler alert: people die in a horror movie). What this movie goes to great lengths to show is that each victim is a human being who is a father or mother or son or daughter, who each have their fears and dreams and people that they care about. This makes each death so much more heartbreaking. The nameless side characters aren’t just passive NPCs that the monsters can show off their slaying abilities on.

Going back to the topic of horror movie cliches, this movie is incredibly smart, meaning it is overflowing with subtle details that become important later on. This movie is absolutely littered with Chekhov’s guns, which, in the words of Wikipedia, is “a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed.” There is very little fat on the film, very little that you could cut from the movie and still have it make sense.

This movie is very much a visual movie. By its nature, it can’t rely a lot on dialogue, which means it’s forced to communicate most of the important information visually. In other words, it shows, not tells. It gets to the very heart of what cinema is and reaches to its roots, the silent film. You’re not going to get bombarded with lines upon lines of exposition; instead, they make everything you need to know from the previous movie and everything you need to know right now very obvious. You won’t need to watch the first movie to understand what is going on (although I highly recommend watching the first movie beforehand!).

If you’re vaccinated and want to finally go watch a movie in theaters with your friends for the first time in over a year, watch this one. This movie was designed for theaters, and it will bring back the sense of immersion that you missed out on from lying in bed and watching Netflix on your phone.

final verdict: 6/5