I loved A Quiet Place. It’s an emotional, thoughtful tale of a family living in a near future where blind aliens who hunt by sound have decimated the human population. A resilient and resourceful family of four (lead by co-writer/director John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) have managed to stay alive by keeping quiet, albeit with some difficulties. They have three children with mom expecting a fourth, but one of them gets snatched away at the start of the film while playing with a noisy toy outdoors. Who knows how much harder life will get when a screaming baby arrives. The characters elicit sympathy because they struggle with staying mute and using sign language to communicate. One of their children is deaf, and that is a hard circumstance on more than one level. The moving finale works because it ties into the film’s central themes of familial love and sacrifice, and our genuine concern for the characters elevates it beyond the standard monster movie. The audience I saw the film with was so invested in it that many of them tried to stay silent during scenes of danger, as if they too could get caught by one of the aliens.
My concern is that A Quiet Place is a self-contained story that does not need to go any further. (Sorry, spoiler alert: There is one less central character for the follow-up.) A prequel would make more sense, but even then it seems like Krasinksi and company told the tale they needed to. Another installment seems unnecessary and could cheapen the emotional resonance of the original. Of course, other scary movies have begat further entries, like the SAW, Insidious, and Purge franchises. SAW II was great while its successors were subpar. The first two Insidious films were the best, although I like parts 3 and 4 because of Lin Shaye’s wonderful protagonist, who is an anomaly in the horror world, an older woman fending off demons. The Purge movies work simply because they have different characters and social and political scenarios to explore, but even then, bringing a prequel and 10-part TV mini-series into the mix is dragging things out. I loved The Descent so much I never bothered with the sequel, and from what I’ve read I didn’t miss much.
We’ll see what happens with the Quiet Place sequel. Maybe they’ll surprise some of us. But at a time when so many great, original horror films have done well at the box office — and many, including Get Out, The Witch, and Annihilation, are not breeding sequels — it might be better to leave A Quiet Place alone. There are plenty of other cinematic concepts material out there to work up and explore. I prefer how the James Wan horror series The Conjuring has begat spin-offs like Annabelle and The Nun. That is an interesting twist to the concept of the horror franchise: an expansive universe rather than an endless series of sequels.
So no, not every great horror movie needs a sequel. I like what director Robert Eggers said about not making a follow-up to The Witch: “I think I’m stealing the words from another director I cannot place, but if I wanted to know what happens after the last shot of the film, I would have made a longer movie.” Sometimes our own imaginations might conjure better sequels in our minds.