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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.