By Ryan Keating-Lambert
A Quiet Place is a masterful experiment in sound and silence that really cranks up the tension and horror, but it’s also an entertaining and empowering action movie that pushes the boundaries of genre.
The world has been silenced by otherworldly creatures that use sound to hunt down and kill people one by one. Lee and Evelyn Abbott (husband and wife team John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) struggle to survive in the American countryside with their children.
Also co-written and directed by John Krasinski, A Quiet Place is the most intensive and immersive experience I’ve had at the cinema this year. It’s carefully paced, brilliantly timed and just so suspenseful. Krasinski was, surprisingly, a comedy actor before – appearing in the American version of popular series The Office and a string of films both comedy and action. I guess the old industry saying about comedy and horror being ‘so alike’ is fitting for Krasinski, who proves that good horror, like comedy, is about impeccable timing.
A Quiet Place is a tense experience and does something INSANELY ballsy and in its prologue (no spoilers, I promise) and for that it has my utmost respect. It’s the perfect hook and the ideal setup for the film’s rules which nobody dares to f*ck with. From the get-go, we know just how high the stakes are, and how easily this family is capable of losing everything.
By far some of the most nail-biting moments, aside from a particular bathtub scene involving Emily Blunt (and no she’s not having a wash), are the scenes in which Krasinski and co have cleverly captured the subjective gaze of deaf daughter Regan, played brilliantly by Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck). The scenes in which she’s walking around completely oblivious to looming danger are terrifying on a whole new level. I just wish we could have spent more time in her head. What a great perspective that would’ve been.
Despite the film being dubbed by some as an ode to old silent films, there’s still very distinctive and meticulous sound design at work here. A word of advice for surviving in this world: STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM BATTERIES. Seriously. I’d also keep the coughing, burping and flatulence to a minimum. Come on, as if you haven’t thought about that already…
At one point, the film was even being considered for a new Cloverfield movie, and it would have worked quite well. The creatures certainly brought those films to mind, not to mention that ‘underground on a farm’ type claustrophobia that 10 Cloverfield Lane did so well. Man, why are farms to scary? A Quiet Place certainly would have worked a whole lot better than the disastrous and laughable Cloverfield Paradox. What was that? At least as a standalone film, we’ll have the possibility to hear more stories from more survivors. A sequel has also recently been approved.
One of the main problems I had with this film, and maybe it’s not even that much of an issue really, is…. MINOR SPOILER: why on earth did they decide to have a baby? I couldn’t think of a decision more stupid than that. Let’s be honest, babies aren’t really known for their silence and subtlety. It then occurred to me that maybe that kind of thing isn’t easy to control in a post-apocalyptic future. Perhaps it was a Bridget Jones type situation and they became victim to crappy vegan condoms? Who knows. The way they deal with it in the movie is quite ingenious though, and the way they deal with the crying… wow.
A Quiet Place is essential viewing. An absolute must for horror fans, but even a must for those not familiar with the genre. It’s also an empowering action film – the finale in particular. There’s a family element to it that’s heartwarming but never too much, and Krasinski and Blunt are electrifying. Stay away from social media (aside from my blog and Facebook page of course) if you want a really memorable experience. Best to go into this one knowing as little as possible.
AND STAY AWAY FROM POPCORN. Don’t be dick and ruin this experience for everyone else in the cinema.
Photo: Landmark Cinemas