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A Quiet Place: A Contemporary Horror Hallmark
April 20, 2018
A Quiet Place, the debut directorial film for John Krasinski, is a modern horror masterpiece that will not fail to disappoint those seeking a thrill and film critics alike. With an incredibly original concept featuring an intelligent alien antagonist, this movie plays with your senses as much as it does your heartstrings.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS DOWN BELOW: DO NOT READ IF YOU WISH TO GO INTO THE MOVIE BLIND
This film exists in a world that has been taken over by an alien race that can essentially hear all noises that are over the volume of an incredibly light whisper. When the noises are heard, the aforementioned aliens abduct whatever has made said noise with their super speed and strength, presumably eating whatever it captures. The film itself starts off with an early abduction of the youngest member of the Abbott family, Beau, after the turning on of a toy given to him by his older sister, Regan.
Fast-forward around one year, where the Abbott family, consisting of father Lee Abbott (John Krasinski), mother Evelynn Abbott (Emily Blunt), son Marcus Abbott (Noah Jupe), and daughter Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds) have established a lifestyle on a farm centered around making absolutely no noise. Floorboards in the house are painted to mark which planks of wood do not creak, paths around the farm are designated by the sand which silences the family’s footsteps, and the family communicates primarily through the use of American Sign Language. The family deals with the grief surrounding the loss of their youngest child and seek to never have an incident like that ever again.
The movie establishes the main conflict fairly early on, by letting the viewer know that Evelynn is due to have a child. Without spoiling too much, the rest of the movie deals with the troubles presented by birthing a child in a world where making any noise is punished swiftly by this alien race.
The movie, by keeping sound to a minimum (besides an ambient and quiet score by Marco Beltrami), truly rewards the viewer for paying attention to the movie fully. This is to the film’s advantage, considering the gorgeous scenery and setting along with the excellent body language of all actors involved. This aspect also gives it a certain distinction from most other films I have watched recently, in the sense that I felt compelled to pay attention to every minute aspect of the dialogue and setting to gather more about information about the backstory and reasons behind this alien invasion. Films have become very passive pieces of art as of late, not requiring much thought or attention to understand the plots and ideas of the piece of cinema. The movie does not treat the viewer like an idiot, leaving a lot of interpretation up to the viewer and encouraging very active viewing.
Along with encouraging active viewing, the lack of sound in the movie produces an immense feeling of tension that persists throughout the entire film. When will Evelynn go into labor, a typically very noisy and painful process? What if the children accidentally knock down a lamp or coat stand? Knowing that any of the previously mentioned scenarios can result in a character’s near-immediate death truly keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat throughout the entire viewing of the film. In my mind, this movie used its original concept of having all-hearing monsters to create a persisting feeling of anxiety and dread perfectly.
An additional aspect that impressed me thoroughly was the movie’s ability to create a sense of personality and uniqueness to the characters while simultaneously lacking spoken dialogue. Krasinski manages to get the viewer to understand the motives of characters and their individual roles in the movie, and does an incredible job getting you attached to each individual character without them saying a word. Krasinski even manages to get you attached without ever explicitly stating a single character’s name in the movie. The characters names are only seen in the end credits of the film.
Obviously, there are still some flaws in this movie. You need to pay constant attention to the film or risk missing out on minor details that heavily impact the story and narrative of the film. This makes the movie slightly more difficult for the average movie-goer to fully enjoy this film. The ending of this movie follows the recent movie trend of lacking a strong resolution, leaving the viewer wishing for more. This is certainly a stylistic choice, but I personally wish there were a little more closure to the movie. Additionally, some of the logistics surrounding the sensitivity the aliens have to noise don’t particularly add up to me. Why could you not just throw an object like a firecracker away from where you are to mislead and trick them? There are some additional aspects with this that I disagree with, but cannot go into further detail without spoiling major plot points. An additional piece that I disliked was the fact that I couldn’t open my Dots for like, the first fifteen minutes. It was so quiet, and I just didn’t want to upset my fellow seat-mates.
Overall, I believe this movie deserves a strong 9.5/10. All of the aspects that I dislike about this movie regarding are easily overlooked and overshadowed by the positive aspects. The piece as a composite feels incredibly well written and is acted out even better. Krasinski manages to make a horror classic with his directorial debut, which is no trifling feat. I would highly recommend that if you intend to watch this movie that you do so in theaters, as the speaker systems and the large screen truly present this movie in the way it is intended to be seen. Go see A Quiet Place if you are an adrenaline junkie or film buff looking for a great time!