“Who are we if we can’t protect our children?” This is a question put forward by Emily Blunt’s character in director John Krasinski’s horror film A Quiet Place, which deals with a lone family trying to survive in world now populated with monsters, and it makes us wonder what we would do in a similar situation. Aside from curl up in a ball and cry that is. Now a key ingredient to a successful horror film is the building and creating of tension, as suspense is ratcheted up by whatever particular situation of horror our heroes find themselves in, something this film does better than most horror films I’ve seen lately, as many films forget that suspense is not created by the movie having a cool monster or a nasty killer but on the audience’s desire for the protagonist to survive. I’d say in 90% of horror films I could give a rat’s ass if most of the cast got stabbed or eaten (Did anyone not relish the moment when Hud was finally killed in Cloverfield?) and most slasher films only seem to care about the “Final Girl” so why should we the audience be worried or invested in any other character being killed. It’s in this area that A Quiet Place excels as one is truly on the edge of your seat for the majority of this film’s running time because we do care about this family and we want them all to survive.
The movie drops us right into the middle a nightmare that we have at first have no understanding of, we are told it is “Day 89” but not what that signifies, and though this is clearly after some apocalyptic event we don’t know if it was caused by nuclear war, plague, monsters from another dimension or aliens. We are simply introduced to the Abbott family as they very quietly scrounge for food in an abandoned grocery story, and the “why” behind them being quiet is of course the crux of the film as we quickly learn the consequences of making a noise when the youngest member of the Abbott clan decides to turn on a loud electronic toy and pays the ultimate price at the hands/claws of this film’s monster.
Lee (John Krasinskii) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt), the mother and father of the Abbott family, have managed to make a life for themselves in this post- apocalyptic world be instilling in their two remaining children the necessary skills to stay alive. Young Marcus (Noah Jupe) isn’t quite up to the task most of the time, being terrified of going out of their farmhouse/bunker, not that I can completely blame him, while his sister Regan (Millicent Simmonds), who being deaf has given her family an advantage because they were already able to communicate silently via ASL (American Sign Language), is stronger and braver if partly because she blames herself for the death of her little brother in that opening scene. From newspaper clippings we get the idea that these creatures, who may be alien invaders but the film never confirms this, and though apparently blind they have insanely keen hearing, thus the film’s tag line “If they hear you, they hunt you.” They are also incredibly fast and seemingly invulnerable, so if you make a sound you have basically signed your own death sentence. And guess what? Evelyn is pregnant, which of course posits two important questions, How can the family survive with a newborn baby that is bound to spend half its time crying?” and “How quietly can a person give birth?”
A Quiet Place is the kind of horror film that just grabs you from the outset and never lets you go, the cast all give amazing performances with John Krasinski doing double duty as actor and director, and we get really cool monsters that look a little like they could be cousins to the Demogorgon from Stranger Things. A special shout out must be made to the film’s sound design department as not only do the handle the “silence” of the film so well but they also do an excellent job of switching audio perspectives between deaf Regan, her hearing capable family, and the weird ass monsters that hunt by sound. This is a movie I highly recommend catching as soon as possible as a darkened theater with an Atmos sound system is probably the best way to view A Quiet Place…well, as long as there isn’t a jerk behind you loudly eating popcorn.
- If you want to keep your family alive maybe don’t walk in single file with your youngest bringing up the rear.
- Lee created a soundproof bunker for the baby. If I was that family I’d be spending most of my time in that bunker.
- They cover pathways with sand so as to mute their footsteps. This is ingenious if you happen to live in area that never has wind.
- I loved the warning lights and systems of audio distractions they use.
- The “Light the Beacons” scene was a nice way to show that they were not the last people on Earth.
- A Quiet Place is mostly subtitled so young kids and illiterates beware.
Special Note: Two seats down from me was a mother holding a baby, this had me quite worried as I’d head this was a very “quiet” movie, but not only did the baby not make a sound but as I got up to leave the theater I noticed the mother using sign language to her companion. Such a nice moment to end a great movie going experience on.