NEW YORK -- "A Quiet Place" is what is called a sleeper: an inexpensive film that made a fortune.
As a moviegoer himself, John Krasinski thinks sequels are rarely as good as the original, and he didn't want to be accused of what he calls "a cash grab."
The actor-turned-filmmaker questioned the need for a sequel and wondered how to advance the original story.
But I'm happy to report Krasinski has cracked the code.
Before "A Quiet Place II" can go forward, it first must go back to when the attack by the alien creatures began.
"We answer all those questions the audience was asking about Day 1, especially how did all this start?" Krasinski said.
The actor is seen just briefly in the earliest flashback scenes.
Before the action picks up - right after the first film ended, with his character dead - his wife and surviving family members are forced to leave their home and fend for themselves in a hostile world, where each step seems more treacherous than the last.
Monsters who hunt by hearing even the slightest noise are more aggressive than ever.
An acquaintance could help, but Emmett is, at best, a most reluctant savior.
Emily Blunt, who is the director's real-life wife, plays the mom. Her newborn is in a box that requires a constant flow of oxygen to keep the baby alive, amping up stakes that are already high.
Djimon Hounsou doesn't get enough screen time as part of a group that's escaped harm until now.
But deaf actress Millie Simmonds is a revelation after she's given much more to do. She truly helps move the action forward.
Writer-director Krasinski prefers to call this a continuation rather than a sequel. As far as I am concerned, he has earned the right to call his movie anything he likes.
If you loved the first "A Quiet Place," you will find this one almost as scary.
It's also the rare follow-up that is almost - almost - as great as the first one, which was a masterpiece.