Movies

Is A Quiet Place Part II Scarier Than the Original?

And is it scarier than going into a movie theater to see it?

Emily Blunt looks determined. Over her, an animated GIF of a twitching meter and the label "The Scaredy Scale"
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Paramount Pictures and Getty Images Plus.

For die-hards, no horror movie can be too scary. But for you, a wimp, the wrong one can leave you miserable. Never fear, scaredies, because Slate’s Scaredy Scale is here to help. We’ve put together a highly scientific and mostly spoiler-free system for rating new horror movies, comparing them with classics along a 10-point scale. And because not everyone is scared by the same things—some viewers can’t stand jump scares, while others are haunted by more psychological terrors or simply can’t stomach arterial spurts—it breaks down each movie’s scares across three criteria: suspense, spookiness, and gore.

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This time, we’re scaredy-scaling A Quiet Place Part II, the sequel to writer, director, and star John Krasinski’s 2018 hit. (If you haven’t seen that one either, we’ll give you a sense of where it ranks along the way.) In Part II, what’s left of the first movie’s family continues their fight against the sound-seeking aliens who ravaged most of humanity before the first movie began.

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[A chart titled “Suspense: How much will you dread the next kill or jump scare?” shows that A Quiet Place Part 2 ranks a 5 in suspense, roughly the same as The Sixth Sense, while the original ranks about a 6. The scale ranges from The Joy of Painting (0) to Alien (10).]
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Paramount Pictures and Getty Images Plus.
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Suspense is what drives the Quiet Place movies, the excruciating pause between when one of the characters accidentally makes a noise—getting stuck on a stray wire from a chain-link fence, say, that releases with a deafening twang—and the moment when we found out whether that noise will bring the aliens a-rampagin’. As a sequel, Part II is dealing with a world that’s more known, which tends to slacken the tension a bit. But the opening sequence, which flashes back to the day the aliens arrived, unleashes chaos on a scale that distinguishes it from the claustrophobic first movie, and even knowing which of the characters are bound to survive doesn’t lessen the anxiety.

A chart titled “Gore: the Ick Factor” shows that A Quiet Place Part II and the original A Quiet Place both rank a 3 in goriness, putting them above Rear Window, a 2, and below Gremlins, a 4. The scale ranges from Singin’ in the Rain (0) to the Saw franchise (10).
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Paramount Pictures and Getty Images Plus.
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The Quiet Places are a pretty bloodless affair, with the exception of Krasinski’s thing for mangled feet. In the first, Emily Blunt steps on a nail that goes clean through the top of her foot, and in the second, a character stumbles into a bear trap that closes right on their ankle. There’s plenty of blood, but nothing too explicit unless you’ve got a thing about penetrative injuries. There are also several shots of desiccated, virtually mummified bodies (at one point, a whole Metro North car’s-worth), but they look more like something out of a middle-school haunted house than anything that will haunt your nightmares.

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A chart titled “Spookiness: How much will it haunt you after the movie is over?” shows that A Quiet Place Part 2 ranks a 2 in spookiness, roughly the same as Jurassic Park, while the original ranks about a 3, roughly the same as Gremlins. The scale ranges from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (0) to The Exorcist (10).
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Paramount Pictures and Getty Images Plus.
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A series in which Krasinski’s character writes “WHAT IS THE WEAKNESS?” on a dry-erase board isn’t trying to keep its audience in the dark, and this time there’s even less to discover. The first Quiet Place took its time introducing its post-apocalyptic environment and left us to puzzle out some of the details ourselves, especially since the family members often communicate with each other nonverbally. But the second is more of a straightforward action movie, with Millicent Simmonds taking on the role of an incipient action heroine. The reminders of what life used to be before the world went to hell might send the briefest of chills down your spine, but that’s it.

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A chart titled “Overall: This is even more subjective, depending on what kinds of scares get you the most” shows that A Quiet Place Part 2 ranks as a 3 overall, roughly the same as Beetlejuice, while the original ranks a 4, roughly the same as Jurassic Park. The scale ranges from Paddington (0) to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (10).
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Paramount Pictures and Getty Images Plus.
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In essence, how frightening A Quiet Place II is comes down to two factors: how much you respond to children in peril, and your tolerance for jump scares. If a tense hush followed by a loud monster leaping out of the shadows hits you where you live, you might want to order a nice calming tea from the concession stand. But nothing in the movie is scarier than venturing into a movie theater to see it, which for now is your only option. Ranking that anxiety is beyond the Scaredy Scale’s purview, but it’s probably good for at least another 2 or 3 points.

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