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Thursday, April 2, 2020

“A Quiet Place Part II”: John Krasinski On The Genre-Defining, Unexpected New Chapter

Spotlight

In 2018, John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” turned silence into the building blocks of fright and forged from the horror-thriller genre a modern fable of family love, communication and survival. With its mix of relentless tension and layered storytelling about a tight-knit clan fending off an immensely destructive, sound-attuned alien force, the film became a startling hit and cultural phenomenon.

Now comes the story’s unnerving second chapter, which picks up right where the Abbott family left off. But “A Quiet Place Part II” also heads to new places as events hurtle past the fragile sanctuary of the “sand path” the Abbotts created in order to prevail in a reality where even a single footstep could be deadly—and into a world of infinite peril beyond. From the opening moments of the film, the family is on the run, beyond any semblance of security and searching for refuge in a town gone mad with fear. In a time when empathy and connection have nearly vanished from the world, the Abbotts strive not only to protect each other from the threat of sound but to find hope in the terrifying hush around them.

The idea that the Abbotts might continue their journey into the vast, unexplored territory beyond their home came as a surprise even to Krasinski. He never imagined he would be in the position to contemplate a sequel when he began working on “A Quiet Place”, not knowing it would touch such a deep nerve in the culture. He’s also no fan of half-hearted follow-ups. Yet, when Krasinski had an idea he felt could truly push the storytelling—an idea true to the original film’s characters and conception, yet also full of fresh creative challenges—he was lit with the same passion for it as the first time around.

The most important thing to Krasinski was that if he were to extend the story, “A Quiet Place Part II” had to be, like its predecessor, more than a visceral sensory experience. It had to also drive the family’s emotional journey forward—this time, towards both independence and community.

As he had originally, Krasinski let his thirst to explore the unknown take the lead. That meant imagining all that might lie beyond the cocoon of quiet the Abbotts managed to craft for their family. Where would they go, and what would they find out there and within themselves, if they had no choice but to venture beyond the security of the sand path?

“There’s so much more to experience beyond the farm,” note Krasinski. “But even though we’re greatly expanding the world and the scale of the story, the intimacy comes from the fact that the rules remain the same. It was very creatively exciting for us to have this chance to create much bigger set pieces that still feel true to the story and to the Abbott family’s inner experiences.”

Setting the Abbotts adrift from their routines into a land overtaken by chaos meant pulling the rug out from under what was already the most treacherous of situations. But that in turn would only further lay bare the core beauty of families: their resilience even in the face of the gravest doubts.

“If you don’t have the safety devices of the sand path and the lights, everything is even more unpredictable,” describes Krasinski.


“Each step you take is uncertain. Scares can come from anywhere. When you don’t know how you’re going to survive the next moment, you’re likely to make a mistake. And when you make a mistake, our infamous creatures are around a lot more than you thought.”

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