A QUIET PLACE, the latest from actor/director John Krasinski, is a powerhouse of a horror film that blends the terror of a creature feature with a unique story that will tug on your heart strings. The film, which is written by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, who penned the screenplay with Krasinski, stars Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow), John Krasinski (“The Office”), Noah Jupe (Wonder), and Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck).
The film focuses on the Abbott’s, a family of four learning to navigate life in silence after mysterious creatures arrive on Earth, destroying anything and everything that utters a sound. With the knowledge that these creatures kill based off of sounds, the Abbott’s do whatever it takes to form a life for themselves and their children based off of silence in order to survive. As the tagline for the film goes, if they hear you, they hunt you…
The buzz surrounding A QUIET PLACE has been electric ever since its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival last month. Critic after critic praised the film for not just it’s scariness but also it’s emotional and heartfelt story. When it came time for me to see this movie I was eager with anticipation, though trying to make sure I wasn’t hyping the film up too much. If there is one thing I can tell you about A QUIET PLACE it is this: BELIEVE THE HYPE.
The film opens with the Abbott’s family rummaging through an abandoned pharmacy. Here we are introduced to Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt), her husband Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) and their kids, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe). It’s clear from the first scene that something has gone terribly wrong which is made apparent through the presentation of the store, which has been ramshackled and pillaged, and the hushed whispers between our characters as they quickly retrieve what they have come there for. We learn that Reagan, played beautifully by Millicent Simmonds, is deaf and though one would think that should be a cause for a concern, it actually plays an important factor into the entire storyline. When tragedy strikes, and man oh man, for a PG-13 rating it’s a hell of a punch, we quickly understand why silence is necessary and why so many people have gone missing.
There is a lot to dissect with this movie. From one direction you could analyze the creature feature aspect. From another direction you could analyze the immensely effective storyline. I’m going to try my best to find a middle ground while also making sure not to give away any spoilers. A QUIET PLACE is a movie that has some of the best creature designs I have seen in a long time mixed with family turmoil that may just leave tears in your eyes. As much as this is a horror movie, it’s also so much more than that, it’s a story about love and family and the unbreakable bond between the two.
To start things off, the acting in this film is marvelous as well as heartbreaking and you’ll be hard pressed to not become emotionally attached to the characters. I don’t know if it’s because John Krasinksi and Emily Blunt are married in real life, but the chemistry between our four leads is so believable that you’ll think you are watching an actual family go through these horrific experiences. As much as I loved all the talent involved, I need to give a shout out to Millicent Simmonds, a deaf actress who embodied her role so perfectly and with such sincerity that all her emotions were easily conveyed on her face. I am so glad that Krasinski did not go with a non-deaf actress because I think that had he done that it would have taken away from a beautiful performance by Millicent and it would have done the deaf community a huge disservice.
What sets A QUIET PLACE apart from so many other horror movies before is that there is barely any dialogue in his entire runtime. Most of the film is conveyed through sign language and facial expressions and it’s done so well that the absence of dialogue is barely noticeable. On top of that, the sound design is fucking spectacular, especially when it goes back and forth between Reagan’s complete absence of sound against that which her family can hear. The differences are so effective, especially in regards to specific moments within the film, that it’s hard not to have a visceral reaction to it.
As for the creatures, well, they are terrifying. From their looks to the sounds they make, there is nothing about them that makes you feel at ease. As for the design of the creatures, I was completely and utterly mesmerized. I can definitely see people hating on how they look, but for me personally, I found them to be incredibly fascinating and unique against other monstrosities seen in films. Sure there is CGI that is used to achieve their look, but I thought it was done in a way that wasn’t overwhelming so as to make the creatures look as realistic as possible.
Lastly, I need to make note of the story. Writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck crafted a genuis story that plays on both the terror of the unexplained while also showcasing the trials of parenthood and the importance of family. Being able to weave all of that into a film so beautifully is a rare commodity, especially within the horror genre. With that said, there were a few moments within the story that I found to be a hard selling point, mostly relating to the ending, but I could also argue as to why it plays out the way that it does. I can see both sides of the coin, but I think the revelation on how to defeat these creatures was a bit too easy, making me question why no one was able to figure this out beforehand. Regardless, this didn’t deter me from the overall impact that A QUIET PLACE had on me.
Overall, A QUIET PLACE is easily one of the best horror films of the year. With a talented cast that was able to bring forth their characters in a relatable, emotional way, along with a complex and terrifying story, A QUIET PLACE is an undeniably a powerhouse film within the genre. I felt stressed, and at time genuinely scared, through the film, while also feeling a connection toward the characters as their stories played out. A QUIET PLACE is a rare gem and a film that I highly recommend fans of the genre, and outside of the genre, to see when it comes out this weekend. Don’t wait for it to come on home video, experience everything this film has to offer on the big screen.
A QUIET PLACE arrives in theaters April 6, 2018 from Paramount Pictures.
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