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This second chapter of staggered breathing, sudden death tip-toeing alien evasion manages to keep pace with its 2018 predecessor, but doesn't quite match its success as a stand alone piece. Krasinski smartly wastes no time in plunging his audience back into the high stakes universe of A Quiet Place with an opening scene that depicts the Abbott family's sleepy upstate town under first siege by the deadly creatures. Sixty high octane seconds of long awaited mauling, thrashing, screaming and praying make good on the stress, suspense and terror promised by the teaser trailer. If by the stark jump cut to "present day" the audience isn't on the edge of their seats it's because they're cross-legged on the floor, nose an inch from the screen. Along with the "it's-right-behind-you" jump scare which played exceptionally well in the first and is almost exhausted in the second, Part II also relies heavily on the underdog heroism theme carried through from part I. Despite the powerhouse acting chops of the A-list cast - plus a couple sci-fi thriller veterans, Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou - the abundant moments of swelling ochestra and steely eyed looks past camera feel over used and cheap. Unfortunately, the film's overindulgence in its own assumed grandeur is not the only pacing issue keeping it from meeting the bar set by the original. Aside from the utterly captivating opener, the action sequences are all stacked atop each other, creating a sort of American football structure - short sweet pockets of action between long stints of slow, almost boring, suspense. The technique of quick cutting between separate yet parallel story arcs can be a valuable narrative tool in adding drama and intrigue in a dynamic way, but in this case any added value is lost in the added confusion. By the second or third go, the editing style begins to feel like whiplash and risks pushing the audience out of the story. Pacing issues aside, A Quiet Place: Part II is an incredibly entertaining and worth while watch, severed heads above many of it's 2021 competition and for viewers like myself who felt underwhelmed by this one, Krasinski left himself an opening to give it another go with Part III.




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