Following up a unique, well-received movie is never an easy task.  It’s even more difficult when one of the main characters is killed off in the final act.  Flexing both his writing and directing skills, John Krasinski not only accepted this task but succeeded with a film that falls just a few decibels below the first.

After a brilliant, breathtaking pre-credit intro, “A Quiet Place: Part II” picks up at day 474, just a few minutes after the previous film ended.  After gathering a few essentials, the remaining Abbotts, Evelyn(Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and Marcus(Noah Jupe), head out into the unknown.  Discussing more than the bare bones of the plot could undermine the enjoyment of first-time viewers.  Who goes where, why, and what they encounter are all best experienced in the moment.  What’s interesting is each of the key characters are on a journey, one that closely follows the story structure known as “The Heroes Journey.”  Each is after something they want, which they may or may not receive. Each eventually receives what they need, whether they are aware of it or not.  For some the journey is literal, but for others, it is strictly internal.

Krasinski did an amazing job on the first film, but here he steps it up a notch, at least on a technical level.  He has an appreciation for detail and repeatedly drops visual clues that provide dreadful foreshadowing.  Bordering on excessiveness, it’s a smorgasbord of Chekhov’s guns, and not one opportunity is missed.  Using this and other tools, he manages to take the tension from the first film and turn it up to 11.  While there isn’t as much silence, there are certainly more jump scares, but every single one is earned and effective.  Krasinski even includes another great/horrifying moment of bodily trauma that eclipses Part 1’s Nail. He also does a great job of visually comparing the parallels between the different character journeys, sometimes flipping between one location and another as key moments unfold.  If there’s a weak point, it would be the writing.  While still extremely good, all of the dialog and motivations feel realistic in this fictional apocalypse, it at times feels too similar to “The Walking Dead” where other survivors may be a larger threat than the creatures they are battling.  In addition, there is a couple of plot “stretches” that require a suspension of disbelief.  (Where is all this electricity coming from??)  It’s a small price to pay for a movie where everything else works perfectly.

“A Quiet Place: Part II” is one of those movies that needs to be seen in a theater, especially one boasting Dolby Atmos Sound.  The sound design is once again exceptional and should be experienced in all its glory.

A Quiet Place: Part II