500 Days Of Film Reviews A Quiet Place Starring Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds And Noah Jupe
In a terrifying post-apocalyptic world, the Abbott family must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threaten their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.
Is I Any Good?
A good horror film always leaves you with a question - what would you do? In the same set of nightmarish circumstances, would you be able to survive? Sadly, in my case at least, the answer is usually no. I feel particularly ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of a horror movie and I doubt very much that I would become a final girl.
This is what is so smart about the concept of A Quiet Place. John Krasinski’s superb film (his third as a director) asks us if we could live a life of silence in order to survive. This is something that seems, at least at first, within the realms of possibility (particularly considering the alternative).
However, moment by tension-fuelled moment, this little horror gem shows us just how oppressively difficult a silent existence could be - until making noise becomes an undeniable, albeit suicidal, primal urge.
In this way, after its devastating opening scenes, A Quiet Place asks us not one but two terrifying questions. Could we survive in this world and, more importantly, could we protect the ones we love?
A Quiet Place is far more than just a clever concept, however. It also looks and sounds great, boasts a series of smart narrative twists and features an impressive cast. Emily Blunt shines brightest. She is (as ever) superb - expressing abject terror in a single expression. It is the raw emotion of Blunt's performance as Evelyn Abbott that draws us into this incredibly tense story.
The consistent sense of threat against a family we genuinely care about elevates A Quiet Place into the realms of future horror classic. Such tension is by no means easy to achieve - Krasinski has really proved himself to be a master of suspense.
The Abbotts have survived largely because they are used to silent communication. Their daughter, Regan (a powerful performance from Millicent Simmonds), is deaf. Some of A Quiet Place’s most suspenseful moments come from showing us her experience of this horrific world.
Krasinski’s film (which he co-wrote with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck) uses Regan’s hearing impairment to great effect. Like the central character in Mike Flanagan’s Hush, it both empowers her and also makes her incredibly vulnerable.
Strangely, perhaps, in a film about silence, sound plays a critical role in A Quiet Place. Created by Oscar winning sound designers Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn, each distinct noise is delicately balanced and has a key role to play in the movie’s storytelling.
Some critics have started picking holes in A Quiet Place’s narrative. However, by over-thinking the film’s stripped back and simple concept, they are missing the point.
The fact is that we are told very little about A Quiet Place’s monsters. We don’t know how they invaded the world, whether they are all the same or the exact nature of their hunting skills. As a result, any questions one might have about the plot of A Quiet Place could easily be explained by a backstory that is (thankfully) absent from the film itself.
However, while we may not know much about them, we do get to see the monsters in all their glory. As a bit of a horror nerd, I loved the creature design here - reminding me of Alien and The Descent (and also, strangely, Jurassic Park). These monsters are the stuff of nightmares, true, but there is also something oddly compelling about them. Not that I would want to come face to face with one...
A Quiet Place is a horror gem that deserves to be seen in a cinema (with, of course, a silent, code compliant audience). Go and see this movie.
Have you seen A Quiet Place?
If you have, what did you think of this film? Let me know in the comments section below or come find me on Twitter (@500DaysOfFilm).