In a dystopian future, a family must live in silence to hide from creatures that will attack even the smallest of sounds. They do their best to get by in this terrifying new world, but it isn’t without tragedy and sacrifice. Directed and starring John Krasinski, and co-starring his real-life wife Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place is an unsettling horror thriller that will leave you sinking into your seat, and have you emotionally invested.
The year 2020 is a much different world than the one we know. Lee (John Krasinski) and his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) are raising their children (Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe) in perpetual silence after mysterious creatures have inhabited Earth. The smallest of sounds can draw these violent monsters towards them and the family goes through great lengths to ensure their survival.
With a deaf daughter, the family is well-versed in sign language and uses it to communicate to one another. They’ve developed many fail-safe’s in order to stay alive and rely on different ways to avoid making noises. Living in a constant mode of defense when even doing the minimalist of chores. From wearing no shoes, to no longer living in their creaky old farmhouse – sacrificing so much along the way.
Virtually a silent film, A Quiet Place builds suspense beautifully, unpredictable in its scares. It reminded me somewhat of Don’t Breathe in how it plays off that silence in the best way, leaving the audience in a constant state of unease and paranoia. It was honestly the most silent theater I have ever been in. Each one of us totally immersed in the story, engaged with these characters.
The lack of sound and vocal dialogue doesn’t feel as though you’re missing anything, it just provides the ability for them to be more artistic with the storytelling. Even with the use of sign language, it isn’t overused or depended on. It doesn’t rely on that alone, as they really play with visuals to the best of their ability. The actors delivering their dialogue in so many different non-verbal ways. All providing fantastic, emotional performances.
Reaping the benefits of this stillness are the monsters, who have even more bang when we do have those moments. Some of the best use of jump-scares are in this film, because truthfully, everything sort of is when you have minimal sound. While the scares are tactful and frighteningly executed, the film provides an amazing poignant story that carries throughout. It’s a heartfelt film about a family at the core, and the terror never feels crass compared to it. It’s a fantastic balance of frights and an impassioned tale.
Known for his comedic acting role in The Office, Krasinski rises to the occasion with this thrilling creature feature. Only his third directing venture, and first in the genre, he filled his plate for A Quiet Place. Not only does he share the “Director” title with a starring role, but he also co-wrote the screenplay with writing duo Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. While Krasinski has admitted to not being a fan of the genre in the past, he shows that he understands horror isn’t simply about gore and obvious scares, but can be something much deeper. He likens the previously mentioned Don’t Breathe, as well as Get Out, for inspiring him to look at the genre and its commentary on society.
It was also a great move on Blunt for taking on the role of Evelyn after recommending a friend for it originally. The chemistry between the real-life couple is palpable, which only helps to establish this fictional couples love for one another. Given that the only means to express their relationship are with non-verbals, it really gave them an added aspect of believability and warms your heart in this terrifying film.
While I thoroughly enjoyed this film and believe Krasinski did a wonderful job with the film as a whole, I would be kidding myself to not mention the annoyance of camera flares in this movie. It’s such an artfully done film and these tricks felt disconnected. Though I’m not entirely against the use of these, it simply didn’t serve a purpose in this type of movie and it cheapened some of the cinematography at times.
That one bothersome thing aside, A Quiet Place really stands up for intellectual horror films. Having deep, strong characters that the audience can really connect to. With an engaging story and fantastical creatures, it’s one you’ll want to rewatch over and over.
A Quiet Place is in theaters April 6