Silence can be deafening but in the case of A Quiet Place it’s downright terroristic. From the opening shot the stillness is relentless and rarely does it let up. In the moments of normal interactions with the sounds of everyday life the characters show themselves as not only survivors but family members trying to balance comfort and normalcy with the most terrifying creatures imaginable always being in close proximity. How does one function, experience the simple pleasures of life like playing a board game knowing a noise barely louder than a whisper can bring about the end of everything you love? Like many post-apocalyptic tales before it, A Quiet Place is about the sacrifice of not only one’s comforts but the loss of living without constant fear coursing through your body. In many ways the quiet is as dreadful as the sound that inevitably brings them in for the kill.
This is a brilliant example of the importance of sound design. To know when to elevate or pull back on sound or music or to have one overwhelm the other, it’s a kind of dance, a give and take. If done properly, as this movie achieves, the sound or lack thereof can be a character all its own. It can be just as intimidating as the creatures themselves. Sound in this story is a constant reminder of danger and the constant readiness this family must remain at in order to protect their own. Often times the simple implication of sound being detrimental is enough to make us as the audience hold our breath in anticipation. I know my breathing certainly changed during the film as I would involuntarily hold my breath.
A wonderful achievement with A Quiet Place is the lack of information not hindering the growth of the characters and our desire to care about them. Despite knowing nothing about them, we can still surmise through long stares, loving embraces, and sacrificing of one’s own safety that we find our hope for these characters and their ultimate survival. A father is supposed to love his family and be the protector. The mother is the same with the added burden of being the comfort in times of self doubt and desire to give up, she is the matriarch. The children obey their parents with the occasional moment of boundary push but mostly they are mindful of their parent’s wishes. All these things come across through almost complete silence. It’s in the phenomenal performances that these expected elements feel nothing short of authentic at all times, especially in moments of terror. This is a family that has been through hell and when we join them that weariness is palpable. We can see their desire to survive and the doubt of what tomorrow will bring if it even becomes a reality for this deteriorating family. The strength of the individuals comes from the fortitude of the group. They each bring a much needed element to their overall survival.
John Krasinski takes a commanding hold as co-writer and director of his first horror film. As the female lead he chose his scrumptious wife Emily Blunt to star alongside him as both his better half but more so the greatest source of strength for this family. Even in moments where she is completely incapacitated she shows true grit and determination to survive. A major theme in this film is sacrifice or rather what extremes would you go to in order to protect those you love most?
As strong as this husband and wife are it is in the thought of their kids that an instinctual kind of endurance explodes in the face of fear. If not for their children they would have succumbed to the creatures long ago. So as much as they want to protect their children so they can continue on, they need the kids for their own wellbeing.
A great element of horror and what makes it such a visceral genre is the unforgiving treatment of the characters that inhabit these nightmare worn stories. As is demonstrated early on, A Quiet Place shows that anyone is fair game. It’s this establishment early in the story that helps add to the already monumental amount of tension and unease created by the scenario of be quiet or die. That is a cold, calculated rule for seeing tomorrow and that’s part of the beauty. There is no exception to the rule. There are loopholes exploited by the characters but only achieved by strict routine and discipline.
A Quiet Place is the most tension filled, scary thrill ride you will ever experience in almost complete silence. It’s like the movie The Artist but with less dancing and more bodily harm. It will leave you breathless and cringing in delight. A strong start, a solid second act, and an action packed final act featuring one hell of an ending makes this one not to miss. The hype was real, thank the movie gods! Quietly say hello (shhhh) to one of 2018’s first truly epic mainstream horror films.
Rated PG-13 For: terror and some bloody images
Runtime: 90 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
Directed By: John Krasinski
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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