It’s opening night of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and millions across the country are unaware that Twitter is about to have an absolute meltdown. But what they are also unaware of is a preview for a new horror film that is essentially silent, featuring a bearded John Krasinski and something with big ‘ol claws. My theatre is as hushed as the trailer until the title appears: A Quiet Place. The Star Wars craved crowd erupted in titters as the obviousness of the title set in. “They’ll rue the day they laughed!” I amusingly thought to myself. “This movie is gonna fuck.”
And oh boy did it ever.
When A Quiet Place was released this past April, it took audiences by surprise. Yes, it is a monster movie, but it is clearly so much more than that. It is both a terse, complex analysis of the proto-nuclear family attempting to keep up appearances in the face of a global disaster, and it’s an experiment in modern silent filmmaking aided by the intentional conscientious casting of an actor with a disability. While there are glaring narrative holes that stop me short from calling the film a modern classic, it’s undeniably a triumph for filmmaking and the genre in a year when horror needs no help feeling legitimate.
Which is perhaps why it may give fans pause to hear early murmurings of a sequel. But it may in fact be coming together faster than we think. Krasinski is already writing A Quiet Place 2. “I’ve mapped out an idea,” he told Variety, “and hopefully it’s good enough to shoot.” While a follow-up felt inevitable thanks to the unexpected box office returns, the story lends itself nicely to being a capsule narrative with an explosive finale. Without spoiling its secrets, the film ends in a place where we could close the book on the Abbott family, but it has also built enough of a richly textured world that a sequel is warranted.
Because a jaded contingent of fans remembers the continued watering down of horror classics in the 1980s and 1990s, some audiences view sequels as simply an opportunity for studios to make a quick buck. This is despite the fact that many genre franchises, from A Nightmare on Elm Street to Friday the 13th, have shown that their follow-ups not only can be better than the original but actually can shift the legacy of a franchise. But A Quiet Place isn’t your typical horror movie, and John Krasinski isn’t your typical genre director, which ironically is an even better reason why a sequel from him is perfect.
It is refreshing that Krasinski is very open about how new to genre film he is, despite putting his foot in his mouth by birthing the oft-derided “elevated horror” moniker. But it’s exactly because of this why we shouldn’t fear that A Quiet Place 2 will have no substance, or feel like an awkward coda on an otherwise contained film. Because neither Krasinski nor the original’s screenwriters, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, are doing a sequel just because the studio ordered it. They are doing it because they have more to say within the world they have built.
In an interview for Entertainment Weekly, Krasinski elaborated:
“I actually didn’t want anything to do with a sequel. Not out of any negative aversion but that I thought we had sort of explored something really special and unique. And then I had this very small idea and what it was is that this is a world that you can play in. This isn’t just a character to remake, or a group of characters or a story, it’s actually a world. Which is a whole different, very unique experience.”
While Krasinski may insert his foot back into his mouth later in the interview for his sleights to the Alien and Jaws franchises, what he is alluding to is so intrinsically important to any sequel. It must come from a place of fresh inspiration, and not attempt to merely rehash what worked before. The A Quiet Place sequel that Krasinski hints at clearly wouldn’t continue following the Abbott family, nor would it possibly even feature the same creatures that we saw before. What he’s interested in revisiting is the silent world that was built in the first film and expanding upon its established rules.
So what does that all really mean for A Quiet Place 2? From listening to how Krasinski speaks about the future installment, and from what Woods and Beck have insinuated, too, this film already has more thoughtfulness behind it than your average Part Two. And in a genre where franchises are abundant but typically unasked for, it’s welcome to know that the creators of the original are so inspired to return to the world they imagined.