Earth has now become home to hungry creatures with incredible hearing.
These creatures are attracted to anything with a heartbeat that dares to make a sound. This is John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, which he directed, wrote and starred in. He plays the father of a family in a world where people are hunted by deadly monsters, and one has to be silent or their death will be swift, bloody and partially ingested.
Krasinski (The Office TV series) has taken real-world elements, the mundane things that we do in our daily lives, and turned them into deadly events when even the sound of your shoes scuffing the floor can get you torn to shreds. There are so many things that we take for granted that makes noise. These people have to turn those everyday things into soundless movements. What I found quite striking about A Quiet Place was the lack of dialogue. They do, of course, speak; it’s not a silent film. But instead of the shouty, screamy dialogue that is a staple in many horror films, the characters in the film interact in whispers, sign language and mannerisms. This mechanic had me literally white-knuckling the edge of my seat. I found that I was completely drawn into the film by the use of the score and sound editing. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say that the lack of sound in this film is one of the main characters in the movie.
Part of what makes the tension in this film so tangible is the chemistry between Krasinski’s character, Lee, and his wife, Evelyn (Emily Blount: The Edge of Tomorrow 2014), along with their children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds: Wonderstruck 2017) and Marcus (Noah Jupe: Wonder 2017). This adds to the realism and relatability of the family. You will find yourself holding your breath when they are in danger, which is quite often. So you won’t be breathing for most of the film. Sorry.
The child actors did a phenomenal job. It is widely known in the industry that it is almost impossible to find the perfect actors for kids’ roles. Too many times, a great film has been let down because of untrained or lackluster child actors. This is not the case with A Quiet Place. Krasinski has even said on more than one occasion that he lucked out with Simmonds and Jupe. Of course, the chemistry between Lee and Evelyn is palpable, but that could be due to the fact that John Krasinski actually married to Emily Blunt. This all adds up to an average, everyday family, ready to be messed with by the filmmaker and his exceptional script.
A Quiet Place harkens back to earlier creature features when you would only see the actual monsters when absolutely necessary, and even then, it’s just parts of them…at least until the end, and then all bets were off. I so love this ‘less is more’ style. Alien is a prime example of this, which is why it’s regarded as one of the best space horrors to this day. Krasinski excels at giving the viewer a sense of false security for tiny moments, lulling them into complacency. “Hey, it’s okay. Everything is fine, audience…” and then suddenly, it’s back to not breathing. This film is a fantastic horror story, but one of the reasons it’s this good is because the characters are so well developed. So that when stuff happens to them, you are heavily invested in them.
The characters, for the most part, are intelligent, which makes the monsters even scarier because of their own intelligence. It’s the only time I have ever experienced a full cinema being totally silent. In fact, if you made any noise from your seat, looks of death were cast your way. Even a loud heartbeat was frowned upon!
Okay, maybe I made that last bit up. But still. Watch this movie. It’s awesome.