A Quiet Place
Dir. John Krasinski (2018)
A family has to live in silence while being hunted by blind monsters that hear everything.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
A Quiet Place, director John Krasinski’s horror debut (unless you count Dreamgirls), is an outstanding work that is groundbreaking in its devotion to telling a story through means other than dialogue. It’s a movie, defined by its moving pictures instead of its spoken word, and while it isn’t something that has never been done before, I don’t know that it’s ever been done quite as well, and certainly not in the horror space. Krasinski and his real-life wife Emily Blunt play Lee and Evelyn Abbott, heads of a family including their deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and their two sons Marcus and Beau (Noah Jupe and Cade Woodward). Luckily for them, their experience with a deaf child has helped prepare them for their new world, in which alien monsters hunt people using only their keen sense of hearing. This, naturally, nearly brings about the end of humanity, and the Abbotts are some of the few stragglers that remain in the world that is left for them.
The beginning of the movie is heartbreaking, a devastating picture of loss that has suddenly afflicted the Abbott family when young son Beau is swept away by the vicious creatures after deliberately disobeying his parents. Which serves him right, quite frankly. The family must cope silently, setting up a technologically advanced farmhouse in an attempt to live a relatively normal life while avoiding the creatures that hunt them. This allows Krasinski to explore a world where nearly all forms of communication have vanished, a world that is lonely for the family but is in the midst of returning to nature. It is a post-apocalyptic world, but one in which nature has reclaimed many of the places that man once ruled.
A Quiet Place is an exceptionally well-made movie, looking every bit the part of an Oscar nominee rather than your standard horror movie. Whether it is scary to you will greatly depend on whether or not you find the concept of these creatures terrifying, but the fact remains that it is beautifully shot with some excellent performances by everyone in the cast, most notably Blunt, whose portrayal of a pregnant mother at the end of the world is outstanding. The scene where she steps on a nail and must remain silent is more than enough to get your heart pounding and send your anxiety through the roof. Simmonds also gave an incredible performance, a daughter who doesn’t want her deafness to define her in a world where it could be seen as a huge advantage.
It’s an incredibly ambitious film and a brilliant idea, executed to near perfection by Krasinski and his incredible cast. The world that is created is fascinating, told largely through newspaper clippings and Daddy Abbott’s notes. The monsters are fearsome and bloodthirsty, with some great, though oft-unseen, creature design. The pacing is literally perfect, telling the family’s story while balancing the drama with terrifying and grotesque creature attacks. A Quiet Place is vastly different from the other films being produced at the time, and it’s a unique take on the creature feature that has more than enough family drama for those who don’t stick to the realm of horror. It’s excellent top to bottom, and it’s a must see for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing it for the first time.
Who this movie is for: Modern horror fans; Creature feature lovers;
Bottom line: One of the few horror films around where I believe I’d be killed pretty much immediately, A Quiet Place was a surprising success from someone better known for playing the charming funnyman from The Office. There are no laughs here, though, and the film rightly is seen as a modern classic. It’s a great movie for the spooky season because it’s not too intense for kids, it’s a fantastic film, and probably one of the most well-made films I’ll watch this month.