REVIEW: “A Quiet Place”

QUIET POSTER

From the very outset “A Quiet Place” develops a central conceit which it fully embraces throughout its tight, lean 95-minute runtime. But while it’s undoubtedly a genre flick, this John Krasinski directed horror thriller has more of an emotional punch than you would expect.

In addition to directing, Krasinski also co-writes and stars alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt. They play Lee and Evelyn Abbott who live on a remote farm in a not-to-distant future. The human race has been ravaged by creatures with no sight who hunt via their heightened and lethal sense of hearing. The Abbott’s along with their daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and son Marcus (Noah Jupe) are still coping with grief after a family tragedy while trying to survive in a world where the slightest sound could mean immediate death.

QUIET1

The great trick of this film is causing us (the audience) to lock in to every sound we hear. We become much more attentive and attune to what we hear rather than what we see. Krasinski does a great job of leading us in that direction both with the sound design and some clever visual cues. It’s also seen in numerous details – trails of sand to silence their steps, crocheted Monopoly pieces, etc. The most everyday things take on a new perspective in this world.

It goes without saying this adds a natural tension to “A Quiet Place”. Even in quieter scenes (no pun intended) the dread of an accidental bump or the smallest sound constantly looms in the background. Krasinski leans heavily into it without going overboard. When sound is employed it can be pretty profound and Marco Beltrami’s score ratchets up the intensity by both adding to the stillness and accentuating the terror. Yet at it’s core you can see the film constantly tipping its hat to the silent film era.

The movie also works because of the small but superb cast who flesh out their characters despite having little dialogue. Kasinski conveys so much through his tired and concerned eyes. Blunt knocks it out of the park as an emotional anchor for her family. But there is also Millicent Simmonds, great in last year’s “Wonderstruck” and just as good here. The young actress (who is deaf in real life) is a fundamental piece of the story and Simmonds is asked to juggle a range of emotions. She does so magnificently.

A QUIET PLACE

And this gets to where “A Quiet Place” scores the most points – the characters themselves and its story of family. Many have looked for more political meaning, but I find it most piercing when observing the family dynamic. I couldn’t help but sympathize with Krasinski’s Lee, a man who would do anything to protect his family, especially his children, yet on some levels struggles to connect with them. Blunt speaks to this particularly in one line where she says “Who are we if we can’t protect them? We have to protect them.” These characters and their relationships matter. The film does a keen job of making us care about what happens to each of them.

You could call “A Quiet Place” an old-fashioned horror picture. It’s smart, light on gore, but heavy on tension. It knows its premise and fully embraces it. Never does it feel the need to give us tedious and uninteresting exposition nor does it overstay its welcome. There are a few instances where you could question the movie’s logic, but for the most part Krasinski cleverly covers all of his bases. In the end he delivers an exhilarating and surprisingly heartfelt experience that is a huge win for the horror genre as a whole.

VERDICT – 4.5 STARS

4-5-stars

21 thoughts on “REVIEW: “A Quiet Place”

  1. Great review! This is easily my most anticipated movie of the year but yet, I’m hesitant to go see it in the theatres. Cell phones lights flashing on and people munching on popcorn just doesn’t seem like the perfect environment to completely enjoy a movie like this so I’m waiting for it to release at home then I could shut off the lights and put on noise-cancelling headphones to get the full experience. Nice to hear that it delivers! 🙂

    • It most certainly delivers! I went to a pretty big theater at 10:30 in the morning so the crowd wasn’t an issue (thankfully). That’s not always the case. I think you’ll have some fun with this one!

  2. I’m so glad I caught this in theaters (albeit alone! I didn’t want to wait on friends haha)! It’s definitely one I could see again, and probably appreciate more that I likely missed the first round. Great review!

    • Thanks! I’m with you on seeing it again. I was impressed with the emotional layers – grief, coping, family, forgiveness. It’s all handled really well.

  3. Wonderful piece for a wonderful little surprise of a movie. John Krasinski’s charms as a comedic actor I felt really enabled us to sympathize with his character, hes such an innately likeable dude. Like you, i really latched on to the family aspect. This came across to me as a very personal project for the real-life husband and wife duo. That sincerity you feel in the tone doesn’t come about from writing workshops

    • Thank you my friend and great points. It’s impossible to dislike Krasinski and I’ve been a proud Blunt apologist for a while. The two certainly allow their real-life relationship to bleed through with their characters. Such a fine surprise!

  4. Nice review, Keith. If you are looking for modern horror, this movie doesn’t satisfy (negative posts). But if you have a young family or a family man (like you) it’s not hard to empathize and jump into the movie. Great job John and Emily! What a power couple.

    • Thanks Cindy. That a good point. It has a great central focus on family. But it also works as an exploration of grief and forgiveness within the family structure. I really loved this one.

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