HOLLYWOOD—It was absolutely the best movie I saw in 2019. I am referring to the spine-tingling “A Quiet Place.” I cannot recall being so unnerved in a movie theater, where I was afraid to make a sound in the theater thinking I would be the cause of those creatures that hunt through sound attacking one of the protagonists in the flick. They say there are certain movies that must have that theater experience; this is one of those flicks people.

The sequel, “A Quiet Place II” was to arrive in March 2020, but the pandemic hit and it got delayed, and delayed and delayed, until 2021 came around and finally hit theaters like it should. I mean I couldn’t imagine watching this movie at home, there is no way you would get the same effect people, even if you’re telling yourself you would. The shear brilliance of the first film is echoed in this sequel that is just as entertaining, just as palpable and just as exciting as the first.

Now, would I say it is better than the original? No, but it is not far behind. This sequel works so well in my opinion as a direct result of the directing and writing from John Krasinski. Krasinski balances heart, invigorating storytelling and suspense in a way that hooks the audience and does not let go until the credits begin to role.  No spoiler here, Krasinski’s character died in the first flick, but makes an appearance as the audience gets a slight backstory about what transpired before these creatures arrived on Earth.

I will admit the first film had a level of originality that was exciting and palpitating. “A Quiet Place II” almost feels like we are getting into the realm of alien invasion flicks like “Independence Day” and “War of the Worlds.” It does NOT fully go there, but those hints are somewhat evident. The notion of silence is such a strong element of the movie as it truly envelops the audience into the movie in a way that very few films can do. The silence forces you to be so immersed in the story you focus on what is transpiring so heightened it is scary.

There is indeed a bit more talking in this installment than its predecessor, but the silence to survive element is still a focal point. At the end of the first flick, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and her children Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) discovered a major weakness of these creatures: high frequencies of sound, thanks to Regan’s hearing aid her father was working on.

The family escapes to find safety after their home is completely destroyed and deemed unsafe after being invaded by the creatures. On their journey, they find another survivor Emmett portrayed with perfection by Cillian Murphy. Emmett adds another layer of complexity to the story where it becomes apparent that survival means looking out for yourself and not others. There are subtle hints that humans are far vicious than the creatures themselves. However, it is Regan and Marcus who dictate the narrative of this flick.

Regan is on a mission to locate others after hearing music broadcast on a radio, where Marcus is still grappling with fear in ways that is so impressive with just the use of his face. Jupe is fantastic in this role, but at the same time frustrating as hell. He’s that character in the horror movie that does things you wish he would, but you’re cheering him on at the same time.

Simmonds is another standout, and as an actress proves that her deafness doesn’t halt her talent. Her facial characteristics and ability to convey emotions without speaking a single word is haunting. We need to see more roles for deaf actors and deaf actresses in cinema America. Djimon Hounsou’s talent is completely wasted in this flick and I have no idea why he is here, because his talent is barely used and it’s a shame.

“A Quiet Place II” is fantastic in the suspense department. Krasinski builds suspense in a way that is so unnerving, it is horror on steroids. I can’t recall a movie that builds suspense this well since “Halloween” and that was the 1978 version America. There are two scenes near the climax where the editing is perfection and has the viewer on edge; it is a true testament to Krasinki’s talent as a writer and director. I was screaming at the movie screen people that is how intense things are.

Could another sequel be in the franchise’s future? I do indeed see it considering its box-office gross, but let’s be honest, I can see where the third would head and it should be the final chapter if it does transpire. There is a nice little twist that the audience learns regarding another weakness of these creatures that if you re-watch the first flick it starts to make sense. In a year where NOT many flicks have hit the multiplex, “A Quiet Place II” is a movie that you must witness in theaters to get the full effect of the theatrical experience and it is one that you will not soon forget.