Quick Hit: Taut and tight, this new horror will have you on the edge of your seat.
From the opening moments of A Quiet Place, you’re immediately struck by just how silent everything is. The padding of feet across a floor, the muffled breaths, it all sets you up immediately for later explosions of sound. The trailer tells you exactly what you’re in for – a tightly wound horror flick from none other than John Krasinski – following last year’s Get Out with a directorial debut in horror from a known comedian.
There’s a lot that goes without being said (pun delightfully unintended) in A Quiet Place. After a devastating opening scene, over a year has gone by, which has allowed our titular family to learn the routine of life in a world without sound. What is probably one of the best things that A Quiet Place does (and it does a lot right) is the inclusion of a young deaf girl (Millicent Simmonds) in the mix. By occasionally allowing us into a world completely without sound, it makes the muffled sounds and whispers that much louder. And when sound does explode onto the screen, it’s baffling in its extremity – nearly as if you had gone deaf yourself. Therefore, it should go without saying that I immediately consider A Quiet Place as in the running for the Sound awards at next year’s Academy Awards.
Krasinski brings an immense intensity to the role of Lee – a father just out to protect his children, born and unborn, in a world beset by sound seeking monsters (Epic side note – A Quiet Place would go extremely well with a side helping of A24’s It Comes At Night – both about families under siege in a world falling apart around them, both with strong performances from the leading actor). You believe his intensity and preparations – you also believe his internal struggles. The same goes for Emily Blunt’s character of Evelyn – who is carrying a baby into this new brand of sound proofed horror. One of the most intense scenes in the movie focuses nearly entirely on Blunt, and she continues to show why she’s one of the greatest actresses around.
The creature design is amazing, and despite being obviously computer generated, shows none of common problems that CGI monsters often have. Do you remember that spiderwalk stairs scene from the original Exorcist movie? Picture that walk, add claws and a Cennobite like-head, and you may approach some of the horror of the creatures in A Quiet Place. The movie isn’t hesitant to allow them to attack either – quickly showing the stakes are extremely high in this game of who can stay quiet the longest – and it’s actually extremely effective violence, despite the fact the movie is rated PG-13.
What I think is the most effective thing about the movie is how the family plays against and for each other. All in all, this is a small family drama, with everyone feeling guilty for the same incident. Everyone has a legitimate reason for feeling that way, which just goes to show you – so many of the movies that focus on things that are shades of grey instead of just black and white are terrific. Krasinski allows that to sink in, while placing the family against the backdrop of a creature invasion horror film.
The film does have some small missteps – oft repeated things, like a finger to the lips to indicate the desire for someone to be quiet, can get a bit old. However, I can’t fault this too much – how else would you convey this without the universal sign language? Along with that, there are some obvious miscues in decoration and set design that seem to rob the characters of the status of well-prepared (I’ll say no more – see if you catch my drift here).
However, anyone that can have a nail be such a dread imposer has made a terrific movie. I can’t remember the last horror film I literally wrung my hands during, and I was doing so for nearly half of the film’s run time. Go and see A Quiet Place this weekend – you won’t be disappointed. I’m going to give it an “A”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"