Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has been described by critics as "brutal," "dark," and "a nostalgic thriller". Just how scary is the return to Jurassic Park?
The second installment in the Jurassic World franchise, Fallen Kingdom reunites Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt as Claire Dearing and Owen Grady on a rescue mission; Isla Nublar's volcano is erupting, threatening the dinosaurs left behind at the end of Jurassic World. Their task is to bring dinosaurs to the mainland, but expecting everything to go smoothly is not a sensible notion; it's not long before all hell breaks loose. The film takes in action in confined spaces - both above and below the water line - erupting volcanos, and a mansion with decidedly gothic decor.
Straight up, Fallen Kingdom is definitely the scariest of all the Jurassic movies, unsurprising given director J.A. Bayona's history in horror. Bayona throws intense sequence after intense sequence at the audience and teases out the chills, investing a lot of time in careful build-up, and not flinching when it comes to the dinosaur attacks.
In terms of violence, it's to the limits of what a PG-13 movie allows; the death count of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom starts ticking over early on and doesn't really let up. Some of the kills are more suggestive, but the most impactful are drawn out, with the animals stalking as much as attacking. Indeed, in general the dinosaurs are more dangerous this time. While Owen has tried to tame some of the raptors in the past, most notably Blue, in Jurassic World 2 they've been let off the leash, not least the new hybrid the Indoraptor, which displays all of its horrifying, genetically-engineered skills; she's stealthy, tracking down and killing almost, it seems, for sport.
When it comes to traditional scares, most audiences will be fine with what Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom throws at them, though there are a few jumpy moments and a couple of deaths that may make horror-phobes wince. In that vein, a big part of the movie's terror comes from the fact that most of the movie takes place in a domestic setting: in the previous films, the dinosaurs have almost always been kept in a purpose-designed environment; now they're roaming the floors of a large house, tearing up stairs and quietly opening doors to children's bedrooms.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom pushes both the franchise and the PG-13 rating further than many would expect, but it's not up to the level of terror as any R-rated offering currently in theaters. If you survived Hereditary, you'll survive this.
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) release date: Jun 22, 2018
- Jurassic World 3 (2021) release date: Jun 11, 2021