Things haven’t gotten much better for the beleaguered Abbott family, judging by the first official trailer for , the sequel to director (and star) John Krasinski’s 2018 breakout sci-fi/horror hit, . It’s an auspicious year for a sequel, given that the original film was set in 2020.
(Major spoilers for the 2018 film below.
had a simple premise: in early 2020, sightless extraterrestrial creatures have wiped out most of the humans and animals on Earth. They hunt by sound, thanks to their hypersensitive hearing, and are difficult to kill because they sport a tough armored skin. (The creature’s design was inspired by animal echolocation, prehistoric fish, and the infamous bog people: mummified bodies found in the bogs of northern Europe in particular. They look a bit like the Dementors from the films.)
The film centers on the Abbott family, struggling to survive a few months after the initial invasion. Dad Lee (Krasinski) is an engineer focused on keeping his family alive each day. Wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) is a doctor, pregnant with their fourth child. Eldest daughter Regan is deaf—played by deaf actress Millicent Simmonds (who helped teach the rest of the case American Sign Language, since that’s how the Abbotts communicate when out in the open). Then there are her brothers: Marcus (Noah Jupe) and four-year-old Beau (Cade Woodward), who is tragically killed early on by a creature, devastating the entire family (and the audience). Eventually the family figures out the aliens’ weak spot, and the film ended with Evelyn, Regan, and Marcus armed and ready for an approaching pair of creatures.
Krasinski originally intended to be a one-off, standalone film, but it was a critical and box office hit, ultimately grossing $340 million globally against a modest $17 million budget. That was good incentive to think about how one might expand the fictional universe for a sequel. Details have been scant, but Blunt, Simmonds, and Jupe are all reprising their original roles. Krasinski returns as director, but isn’t starring in the sequel, given that his character, Lee, sacrificed himself to save his children in the first film. Cinematographer Polly Morgan told CNET in October that the sequel would be “more about the children growing up, exploring the world, and learning to protect themselves.”
Paramount dropped a 30-second teaser for in December, and featured it in previews before screenings of . Per the official synopsis: “Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.”
The trailer opens with what appears to be a flashback to Day 1 (Beau is in the back seat), with Evelyn driving her kids down a town street where everyone is fleeing in panic from the extraterrestrial creatures. Cut to a shell-shocked and exhausted Evelyn emerging from the family farmhouse with Regan, Marcus, and her newborn baby. They make their way down the sand path past a corn field as the house burns behind them, signaling that we really are on the cusp of a new adventure. The aliens are still out there, of course, and probably getting pretty hungry, having wolfed down so much Earth’s population in the first film.
As the family makes their way through a deadly silent landscape, Evelyn accidentally sets off a trip wire, rattling a bunch of tin cans as an alarm. They flee into a abandoned structure and are met by another survivor (Cillian Murphy, whose character is as yet unnamed), who covers her mouth as an alien creature slowly crawls down the side of the structure. “I don’t know why you came all the way up here,” he tells her when they are finally safe again (at least temporarily). “There’s nothing left.” The baby apparently convinces him to help the Abbott family.
Evelyn insists “there are people out there worth saving.” But Murphy’s character tells her, “The people who are left, they’re not the kind of people worth saving.” Is he right? Those who, apparently, worth saving include a father (Djimon Hounsou) and his son, plus another young boy. All in all, it looks like another thrilling, occasionally gut-wrenching ride—although could anything ever top the tense scene where Evelyn must give birth in absolute silence, despite painful contractions, because of a lurking alien? Here’s hoping the remaining Abbott family members survive, because frankly, they’ve suffered enough.
A hits theaters March 20, 2020.