Losing a spouse is a terrible and tragic thing.
To lose a spouse right after giving birth during an attack of alien monsters who have super hearing and can swoop in and kill within seconds, however, well that’s worse.
That’s exactly where Evelyn Abbott is right now.
Evelyn’s on her own with two young teens and a newborn, and with no place to go. Evelyn must battle her grief, battle nearly indestructable monsters and somehow find some small bit of shelter where she can hope to keep her kids safe.
Though, let’s face it, safe is a relative term these days.
Oh, and on that front, you may not be surprised to learn that the other terrified survivors in the area near Evelyn’s now burned-to-the-ground farm aren’t too keen on having a woman with a infant in their midst. Babies have such a hard time grasping the concept of being deadly silent.
So what does a woman like Evelyn do? Well, first she steps quietly. She walks with her kids for miles, quietly. She sweats and wheezes quietly under the weight of the family’s few vital posessions.
After that, all she can do is hope. She hopes that someone might offer some shred of assistance. She hopes for some little miracle, one tiny mustard seed of faith, a small bit of bravery from someone. Anyone.
And Evelyn is slightly surprised when she begins to see hints and glimspes of all those things in her teen daughter Regan. Regan is deaf—an auditory limitation that handicaps her doubly in a world where every tiny sound you make can end in nearly instant death. But Regan has always taken after her dad. And that’s made her resourceful, observant, honarable and willing to give everything to help someone in need.
All of those traits are exactly what Evelyn and the Abbott family need right now. They just have to live long enough to put those excellent character qualities to use.
In a flashback scene that shows us how the alien attack began, Evelyn’s husband, Lee, quickly assesses the situation. He’s also instrumental in making brave choices and getting his family to safety.
We see the similar self-sacrificial bravery in many of this film’s characters. Evelyn repeatedly puts her life on the line to protect her kids. And a man named Emmet—who lost his whole family and initially wants nothing to do with Evelyn and her brood—eventually steps up to use what skills he possesses to defend others.
The Abbott kids (Regan and Marcus) bravely step into the fight, too. They both make some less-than-wise choices along the way. But Regan, in particular, uses the lessons she’s learning to defeat the monsters. She also deciphers certain messages and clues in a radio message and bravely gives her all to save her family and others. “I can save them. I can save us!” she says in sign language when told that she needs to turn back. She also challenges Emmett to be a better and braver man.
During the flashback showing the aliens’ initial attack, a frightened man verbally recites the Lord’s Prayer to calm himself. Lee realizes the danger and quiets the man before he draws the attacking creature’s attention.
Evelyn visits her dead son’s grave/memorial, and a small cross is planted on the spot where he died.
An opening flashback scene featuring a flaming spacecraft crashing to the Earth, which gives a sense of context to the alien invasion and immediately ushers viewers in to the fact that A Quiet Place Part II is far more monster focused than the first film. A sense of rabid chaos delivered by multiple creatures carries over into the rest of the story.
The creatures’ talon-tipped attacks rip and rend everything from furniture and walls, to the metal exteriors of vehicles and farm buildings. We see scores of people and vehicles being quickly slammed around, with windows being smashed. The scenery, large and small, gets chewed to bits.
We also watch the beasts slash at humans with their angled, arachnid-like limbs on numerous occasions. Crowds of victims are snatched, dragged away and tossed around like rag-dolls. On other occasions people sit or crouch in fear as the blind creatures slowly circle around or above them, listening for a potential instant kill, clicking and ticking ominously as they move.
It’s implied that scores and scores of people are killed in the course of the film. And we see everything from fresh kills to older, desiccated corpses. But in each case, we are spared any bloodiness. (In many cases the camera cuts away just as a strike lands.)
A young boy steps on a bear trap and has his ankle and foot instantly crushed. This event turns out to be very bloody, and the camera looks at his mangled appendage while alcohol is poured on the open wounds.
When humans attack the aliens—causing the aliens to expose tender tissue, blasting them with shotguns and rifles, and striking them with bludgeons—things can get a little bloody, too. Several creatures are left in pools of their own gore after being defeated.
Humans attack humans, as well, choking and pummeling victims. One man almost drowns underwater with a noose around his neck.
One use each of the s-word and the words “h—” and “d–n.” We hear a single exclamation of “oh my god” and a misuse of Jesus’ name.
Emmett has a half-full bottle of vodka that Evelyn uses for an antiseptic someone’s wound. Evelyn also walks into town to get prescription meds to ward off infection.
Emmett’s spirit is initially quite crushed, and he refuses to give the Abbotts any help inspite of their obvious need. A small group of people grab Emmett and Regan and appear ready to steal everything they have and cause them bodily harm before being interrupted.
It’s very, very difficult to catch lightning in a bottle … twice.
In that light, fans of the 2018 hit A Quiet Place aren’t apt to find their time with the Abbotts—and their aurally amped-up alien attackers—to be quite as emotionally riveting or blood-pressure-raising this go round.
For one thing, the story’s family focus is diluted a bit here because the Abbott clan members are sent off in different directions at times. The messaging then becomes more about stepping up to a great challenge and helping others, rather than just holding a family unit together. And the movie as a whole plays out as much more of a straightforward creature-feature, with the sharp-toothed and talon-clawed monsters taking more of a hacking and bashing center stage.
That said, there’s a lot here to appreciate if you’re in the mood for a good scare at the movies. Director John Krasinski paces things well, while still hitting all the cinematic thrill ride beats you would expect. The ticking-and-clicking beasty tension still leaves you on the edge of your seat without splashing you with an abundance of gore. And the self-sacrificial heroics are still pretty cheer worthy.
Should younger family members still skip this pic in favor of something, well, less terrorizing? Yeah, I’d have to check that box. Unless, of course, you like the idea of the tykes being up all night with “Mommy, mommy, make it go away!” on their lips.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.