Movie Review: A Quiet Place
A Quiet Place (2018)
Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds
Directed By: John Krasinski
The past few years have seen some of the strongest genre pictures in recent memory make instant and long lasting impacts on pop culture. Films like It, The Witch, Get Out, and It Follows have all become new instant classics, and folks, you can safely add A Quiet Place to that list. The John Krasinski directed film, in which he stars alongside his wife Emily Blunt, is one of the most original and tense horror films I’ve ever seen, and, despite the “don’t make a sound” gimmick, deserves to be seen in a theater with the speakers at full blast.
Set a few years after a devastating apocalyptic event, A Quiet Place finds John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s family trying to survive in a world where the slightest sound can mean the end of your life. Strange reptilian/praying mantis creatures stalk the forest with incredible sense of hearing to offset their complete blindness. The slightest sound that’s out of the ordinary means instant death. It’s a brutal and exhausting existence, as the family’s children need to use felt and cloth pieces to play simple games like Monopoly, and can only communicate through sign language, a skill already achieved through the fact that the oldest child of the family is deaf. But while there’s danger at every cough and pin drop, the mother of the family is pregnant, and the clock is ticking down until her due date…
The key things that make A Quiet Place work so well are the performances and the sound design. I’ll get to the technical stuff shortly, but let me say that this movie would not work as well as it does if it starred other actors. Every one of them, from Krasinski to Blunt to especially Millicent Simmonds as their eldest child, bring their A game to this film, and it really pushes the family dynamic to the forefront of the movie. There’s an underlying tension between Krasinki’s father and Simmonds’ daughter from a tragedy early on in the film, and that tension is the driving emotional force of the film. Despite the fact that neither actor can raise their voice to yell at one another, there’s still emotional heft to their scenes from the quick and forceful use of sign language. That relationship, and Krasinski and Simmond’s performances, give A Quiet Place an emotional heft that I honestly wasn’t expecting.
Of course, much as been made about the intensity of A Quiet Place, and I can easily state that it is just as intense as you’ve heard. Every sound, no matter how small, immediately puts you on edge. The smallest drop of water or moving of items gives you a jolt that stays with you the entire 90 minute runtime, and it’s a true testament to Krasinki’s skill as a director and his sound team that they were able to pull off this movie. The “no sound” gimmick could’ve gone horribly wrong, but it’s used so well here that I wouldn’t be surprised if this movie got some technical love at the Oscars next year.
A Quiet Place is an assured and excellent horror movie, and in all honesty, it’s going to go down as a new horror classic. It’s a movie designed to be seen in a theater with a full (and silent) audience, building off of your anticipation and dread. Go in cold and be prepared for a terrifying experience.