A Quiet Place (2018)

"Who are we if we can't protect them? We have to protect them.""Who are we if we can't protect them? We have to protect them."

“Who are we if we can’t protect them? We have to protect them.”

Actor turned director John Krasinski, most famously known for his character Jim Halpert of the American version of The Office got the entire world to be quiet for 90 minutes. Given the technological society we live in and how attached we all are to our personal devices, that’s no easy task. Post-apocalyptic stories have been popping up like weeds over the past few years which all blend into one another after a while. A Quiet Place is the rose that grows in the concrete and stands out among the rest in the genre because of one word: Silence. The silence in A Quiet Place is Deafening which is the backbone of the film. 

The entire film revolves around the silence which is how the characters created by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck survive. One character, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is even Deaf, giving another layer to the incredible use of sound and silence by Krasinski. Blind alien creatures have taken over the plant in hordes where they only are able to locate things by their acute sense of hearing. In total, the “quiet” in A Quiet Place controls the narrative resulting in a total of 25 lines of dialogue spoken throughout the entirety of the film. That alone should something to marvel at. 

Every single scene constructed by Krasinski has some form of sound manipulation. And what Krasinski is able to capture successfully is the uncomfortableness when each character moves any limb attached to their bodies. Every little squeak or motion makes the viewer feel that tension and fear in their gut. It’s so effective in telling this story of survival and courage. Because of their Deaf daughter Regan, Lee (John Krasinski), Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Marcus (Regan’s brother) (Noah Jupe) all communicate in American Sign Language – just another detail that stands out in this world with how people would communicate with each other if creatures like this existed. 

How these creatures came to overtake the planet and where they came from is a glaring question in the screenplay written by Krasinski, Woods and Beck but as a viewer your sole focus is on every movement the Abbott family makes so the answer doesn’t really matter, the end result is still satisfying. The creatures are there and the only thing that matters is surviving at any cost. 

As much as the creatures themselves are terrifying, they aren’t the main attraction for the horror aspect. Whats really scary in A Quiet Place comes from the elements and the atmosphere. Every movement has to be precise and calculated that it builds the suspense and tension to an anxiety induced panic if a sound is made. Once the rocket goes off, the fear is the most palpable emotion felt. As the viewer you feel the anxiety that Lee and Evelyn feel. They take all the precautions too – making sand trails, walk barefoot and even create a soundproof crib for their expected newborn. 

I can’t imagine the fear and anxiety from having a newborn in an apocalyptic world. It’s been done before but adding the sound element too it gives the trope a fresh feeling to it. 

A Quiet Place uses foreshadowing to its advantage, another common horror trope. Many times, the shot of the camera centers on the characters feet. I can’t help but think of Quentin Tarentino’s obsession with feet here. Maybe Krasinski uses the focus on bare feet as a way to say look at the inventive way my characters survive to live among the creatures or as a way to make the viewer cringe with pain when Evelyn walks down the steps to their basement. Anything pain related to the foot is enough to make me feel queasy in the pit of my stomach. On top of that, the characters must muffle any type of scream unless they want that to be their last moments alive. 

The performances in A Quiet Place are all outstanding, Noah and Millicent are the weaker performers here, but both still give such emotionally driven performances that are on par with Krasinski and Blunt. It’s an interesting choice for Krasinski to cast his real-life partner but it works – their palpable chemistry and timing together proves it was the right decision. The theme of family pays off with how in-tune each member is with one another and the trust and faith the four have in each other stands out even when there are disagreements, or the love is thought to be lost. 

A Quiet Place is a modern post-apocalyptic horror masterpiece. Every scene is full of tension and suspense that builds the anticipation to see what happens in the next scene. Like a great thriller, you absolutely cannot look away here or even attempt to make a sound because if you do, maybe the creature would hear it and attack the Abbott family. Krasinski’s understanding of the horror genre just like Jordan Peele’s will have your pulse pounding, your heart racing and sweat beading up on your forehead. I’m reminded of Alien by Ridley Scott with how he builds each scene where it’s impossible to predict what comes next while the Xenomorph stalks the members of the Nostromo. A Quiet Place is easily one of the best films of the 2010’s and features a brilliant and unique use of sound and silence.

A Quiet Place is written by John Krasinski, Bryan Woods & Scott Beck, directed by John Krasinski is Rated R and has an 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. A Quiet Place was released on April 6, 2018 in the United States and has a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. A Quiet Place can be bought from online retailers including iTunes, Amazon & Google. 5 out of 5.

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