The first A Quiet Place establishes its “anything can happen” stakes in traditional fashion: by killing off two main characters, including the movie’s second most famous face AND — always a shocker — a child!
(Is it too late for a spoiler warning in regards to all things Quiet Place?).
The new sequel mounts a different approach to reminding us of this nerve-wracking unpredictability, consciously countering our expectations of how burgeoning franchises build their proliferating universes.
Its official subtitle — “Part II”, not A Quiet Place 2 — all but states that we’re in the midst of an unfolding story. As such, when an actor as recognizable as Cillian Murphy shows up in the opening sequence, we should be conditioned to anticipate that he’ll become another thespian anchor driving this flowering narrative for sequels to come.
And that’s exactly what happens.
His continued survival might even give us a false sense of comfort, as if the other celebrities we meet for the first time in this installment is the movie basically introducing us to the rest of our main players going forward. For instance, when Scoot McNairy pops up as the leader of a previously-mentioned cult, he seems primed to turn into the villain of this blossoming saga.
And then he dies.
The calibration for the audience should be clear: no one’s safe.
And in case we’re slow to calibrate, Djimoun Hounsou befalls a similar fate. “Surely this two-time Academy Award nominee will be a series regular, informing us about his newly discovered community and how they avoided doom oh wait he’s now dead too.”
For both the characters and the viewers, there’s no room to sit back and catch our breath in this cruel quiet place.