Film Review: A Quiet Place

Beating out a Dwayne Johnson movie release is no small feat, but A Quiet Place has managed to pull that off.

For its second week running, it remains the number 1 movie in theaters, beating out newly released video game adaptation Rampage on its opening weekend. This is after it’s steady astounding opening weekend, grossing a staggering $50 million. A Quiet Place continues the resurgence in quality horror movies that’s been running it’s course the last few years with movies including (but not limited to) It Follows, The Witch, IT, and the Oscar-winning success Get Out.

Note: I went into this movie knowing as little as possible, and I feel that’s the best way to approach it. While I will not be discussing major spoilers, I will include some little details that made me love the film and may further entice others to take the plunge.

John Krasinski pulls double duty being at the helm of directing the film, as well as starring alongside his real-life spouse Emily Blunt, and their on-screen children: Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. The acting is stellar, with Emily Blunt taking the top spot. As a pregnant survivor, she’s more vulnerable than her kids are, and she plays that part flawlessly. Her facial expressions convey more emotion than any dialogue could. Surprisingly, Krasinski is even better at directing than he is at acting, but don’t let that take away from his phenomenal performance as the protector of his wife and kids. The basic plot of the movie is that if you make a sound louder than a peep, “they” will come for you.

The world around them is a testament to that and portrayed with meticulous touches of world building.

In the opening scene, the mother is seen grabbing medicine off a shelf in an abandoned convenience store or pharmacy, and the shelves directly her are still stocked full of Sunchips. They walk barefoot and lay sand down along the main pathways so they don’t step on any brush. The many have been wiped off the face of the earth, and the few are struggling to survive. Even a rip of a bag or crackling of leaves can spell your end in this world. The sound of flowing water serves as a masking for sound. Being the setting for the first, spoken conversation that takes place in the entire movie.

Tension is one of the most important factors in a thriller or horror film, and A Quiet Place nails every bit of it.

Most of the movie is very quiet, as that’s what’s keeping them alive. The silence practically keeps you frozen in your seat and eyes glued to the screen. When the silence finally breaks, it doesn’t leave you with a satisfying feeling. Moreso rather, goosebumps. I walked out of that theater and felt the need to have the car radio off and every noise I made or heard nearly gave me a heart attack.

The way communication is portrayed is one of my favorite aspects of the movie. Their daughter is deaf (as is her actress), so they communicate with her through sign language. They must have figured this was the best way to survive, as those who aren’t deaf also choose that as a default means of communication. A Quiet Place sheds light on what communication means and how we do it. You normally think that it just means how you talk to others, but sign language and facial expressions transcend that. It gets messages across that can be translated without the need for words. Blunt and Krasinski share a dance towards the beginning of the movie, and she puts an earbud in his ear that’s playing Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” The lyrics sing:

“Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin’
We could dream this night away.”

This shows how they create their own safe haven in each other’s arms in a bleak and melancholic world. I’m a huge believer in the sentiment that “less is more,” and that is exactly how it comes across here.

A Quiet Place is a film that plays on your fear in the best way possible.

It’s yet another great example that over the top gore and cheap jump-scares are not needed to create a top-notch horror flick. With a runtime of about 90 minutes, I don’t recall more than 5, MAYBE 10 minutes of relief. Horror has been a genre that is ripe with new directors showcasing their talent and creativity and A Quiet Place continues that trend with John Krasinski sitting in the director’s chair for the first time. Being only his directorial debut, I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table for his next.

96/100

PS: I want to give a shoutout to my theater who were incredibly well behaved and respectfully quiet during a movie where silence is so prominent. Good job guys, I don’t think my immersion broke in the entire 90 min or so.

Image provided by TheVerge.com.

 

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