A QUIET PLACE II Impressed and Underwhelmed Me in One Trailer

Beginning with the positive, that opening scene from inside the car is very good, maybe even terrific. Cutting the moment just after the shot of the alien’s long arm clawing through the bus’s front windshield is such a great touch. In less than a minute, I was ready to amend my Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2020 list to include this sequel, which I had previously felt somewhat apathetic towards. I though the first film was good, but didn’t see how the second film could do anything all that interesting with it. Somehow, the prospect of it revisiting the initial chaos brought about by the arrival of the alien attackers never occurred to me. Even if confined to occasional flashbacks, this idea intrigued me. Unfortunately, 90 seconds later, the trailer had once again rendered me less enthused about A Quiet Place II than I could be.

“The people that are left…they’re not the kind of people worth saving.” So says the man that our surviving heroes from the first film meet during their further exploration of the largely dead part of the world they inhabit. And so we’ll be getting our regularly scheduled dose of “other people ae the biggest threat during the post-apocalypse” storytelling. I can be as cynical and misanthropic as the next guy, but something about the apparent emphasis placed on this aspect of the story (it’s the closing line of the trailer) and the fact that this is very well-trodden territory in recent years (The Walking DeadBird BoxIt Comes at NightCargo, Into the Forest, and on the novel side of the world of fiction, Joe Hill’s The Fireman, amongst others) makes the presence of this “trope” in A Quiet Place II feel worn.

Much of A Quiet Place‘s appeal came from a quasi-novel concept: make any sound at all and you’ll meet a swift death. While not exactly an entirely new idea to build a horror movie around (Don’t Breathe is built around generally the same concept and had come out just two years before A Quiet Place) the execution successfully enhanced the attraction of the premise. Two years later, the premise doesn’t feel as fresh and is now ostensibly burdened with the tired theme of “humans are the real monsters.”

Unless, of course, the trailer’s closing statement is a swerve. In which case I’ll be very happy to be wrong. I guess we’ll find out one way or another on March 20th.