Don’t make a sound, stay alive.

A Quiet Place follows the Abbots, a family of five trying to survive a devastated and dystopian version of Earth overrun by unknown predators of a possible extraterrestrial origin, by living in pure silence. As this entity is attracted to noise, even the slightest of sounds can be deadly; however, it’s been already twelve months since the first sightings, and this resilient family still stands strong. With  a script co-written by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, director John Krasinski plays an unnamed father alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt as his counterpart with Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, and Cade Woodward playing their three children.

John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place is the definition of unforgiving. With the concept of the characters being silent, the movie is constructed in a way to make you an active participant in a game of tension, not just a passive viewer of an unfolding horror story. The second the film started it immediately draws you into the film and the world that The Quiet Place exists in. Krazinski maximizes the suspense and the tension from the opening sequence because for the most part, Krazinksi has constructed a silent film. The limited dialogue in the film allows for John Krazinski to find unique ways to tell the story, from easter eggs in the background of scenes to finding different types of ways to communicate.

The acting in this film is stellar, we all know  how capable Emily Blunt and John Krazinski are as the co-captains of the film, but the children are the lifelines of the film. Millicent Simmonds leverages her real-life experience as a deaf teenager to deliver a deeply convincing portrait of a girl who feels disconnected from her own father and Noah Jupe who delivers great silent acting via facial expressions that enhances the journey of a complicated father-son relationship.

We live in a such a noise driven world that it’s hard to imagine that constant sound being taken away. We use noise to express ourselves, from happiness to sadness and it’s a part of who we are as human beings. A Quiet Place weaponizes that part of the human condition in a way that it instills a fear in the audience to make as little sound as possible.

A film that demands the silence of its characters to this magnitude also demands the same for the viewers, and it heightens your movie going experience. It’s unique and uncanny, especially for frequent movie-goers like myself who are all too familiar with  the “susy-seat kickers” and the infamous texters that plague every movie theater, to see even those morons keep to themselves was almost blissful to be honest. To demonstrate how effective A Quiet Place can be is when you realize that you’re holding your breath not only as a natural reaction to the cutthroat tension, but in unity with the guidelines of the film.

After composing the film scores for Logan and World War Z, it was only fitting that Marco Beltrami takes on the herculean task of producing a film score fitting for A Quiet Place.  Instead of utilizing huge orchestra’s and heavy sounds,  Beltrami is capable of creating of weaving his composition style into this score as well. Beltrami finds the perfect openings to enhance the more intense and personal moment of the film. As you might expect in a movie that hinges predominately on sound (or the lack thereof), the combination of long sequences of silence coupled with the occasional music-laced score (Marco Beltrami composed the score), is a match made in heaven.

Sure, A Quiet Place can be placed as a horror/ thriller film, but if you dig deeper it’s a film about family. Sure an extra-terrestrial entity is a part of the film, but it’s only to aid the story of two parents trying to protect their children from the cruel and unforgiving place the world can be and ultimately becomes. and from danger that could literally destroy them if they make one wrong move.  Krazinski subtlety hints  in each scene that Emily Blunt, as the mother of the film goes to extents to help preserve the feeling that nothing has changed for her children.

From colour coded ‘Monopoly’ pieces and memorabilia reminiscent of a perfect world, A Quiet Place taps into the fears any parent faces with as they raise their child, am I doing enough? Are they as happy as they can be? Will they know that I love them? A Quiet Place takes on these questions at several stages in a child’s development,from birth to early teenage years. The nonstop paranoia of being bad parents drives Emily Blunt and John Krazinski to give their kids the most they can whilst leading them to survival.

Although the film has a unique spin on the horror genre, it does continue the most cringe-worthy aspect of horror film making, also known as the infamous jump scare. Jumpscares are my kryptonite in the film industry and it’s by far the cheapest way to get a reaction from the audience. When the film does utilize jump scares in the first act of the film, it crosses a generic horror film but thankfully Krazinski goes for more psychological and body horror in the 2nd and 3rd acts of the film.

A Quiet Place preys on our nerves just as viciously as the noise driven monsters destroying our world. Krasinski brings the best out of the small cast whilst showing immense potential as a director. Krazinski takes a unique concept for a film and adds emotional weight to the characters, rather than just being fodder for the monsters. A Quiet Place carries a certain level of paranoia, reminiscent of Signs(2002) and the unpredictable and suspicious nature of 10 Cloverfield Lane (2017) that will make horror fans and movie fans in general giggle like a five year old on Christmas morning, or you know, me on Christmas morning as it delivers a unique and fresh spin on mainstream horror films.

Grade:A

 

Ananth Para
paramana@mcmaster.ca

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