A Quiet Places mixes horror with emotional impact
Views 8 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 9 - 2018 | By: Grant Bradford
If you’re looking for a straightforward, no-nonsense horror flick with a terrifying monster and an endearing, vulnerable family to care about, then your rather specific set of standards is fulfilled in A Quiet Place. Set in the rural outskirts of up-state New York, the film follows the life of one family trying to survive in a world devastated by an extraterrestrial menace that hunts by way of an ultra-acute sense of hearing—forcing our central characters to live as quiet a life as possible. This set-up leads to some incredibly suspenseful moments, most of which pay-off extremely well.
While there’s only 90 or so spoken lines of dialogue throughout the film, it’s the silence that will grip you more than anything else. I can’t remember the last time a full theater was so quiet. If a water bottle fell to the floor or a phone buzzed half the theater would flinch, even in the more peaceful moments of the film. And sure, that kind of stress isn’t easy on an audience, but it does place you directly into the mindset of the characters.
With a lean runtime of 95 minutes, A Quiet Place manages to use every minute efficiently. Every scene is trimmed down to its bare essentials, which is not to say that it lacks heart at all—the emotional beats of the film are every bit as sharp as the horror. There aren’t any throw away scares, either.
With the help of sound editors Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn, director John Krasinski has crafted a world that forces you to engage with it—there’s no verbal cues to guide you along, so you have to pay attention to the screen. The film also adds to the authenticity of the world by having its characters speak primarily in sign language. Krasinski has pulled together a marvel of a film fraught with tension attributable not only to the excellent sound and set design (if you want to make anything scarier, just put it in a cornfield), but also several stellar performances.
Relative newcomers Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe more than hold their own as the two youngest members of the family, while John Krasinski and Emily Blunt anchor the lead roles with a subtle finesse. Blunt’s performance stands out from the rest however, portraying a mother fighting against desperation and grief for a better life for her children in a dangerous world. This fight is representative of the question at the movie’s core; if a parent cannot protect their children, then who are they?
In summary, A Quiet Place is a great addition to the catalogue of recent horror films with an added emotional core that we don’t often see in the genre, and an excellent way to spend ten bucks, even if horror films aren’t your thing.