Shh. No seriously, Shh!
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe.
Written by: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and John Krasinski.
Directed by: John Krasinski.
It’s 2020 and the world has been invaded by creatures that attack upon hearing the slightest of sounds. One family attempt to survive whilst being as quiet as they possibly can.
Well, that was an experience. A Quiet Place is one heck of a ride that rarely eases up on the tension throughout. You know those moments in horror where you know that something bad isn’t just about to happen? The moments where you can breathe and relax for a minute? This really doesn’t have many of those- perhaps only about four of five. The rest of the time is spent fully in the middle of the horrors of this world and it’s an almost breathless experience.
We don’t really get much background to the characters or the situation that has unfolded on the planet when these creatures arrive. As such, it’s a disorientating experience to be dropped in almost in the middle of the story. That disorientation works to the movie’s effect though. We, the audience, are playing catch up and trying to piece together what is happening. That makes the first appearance of one of the creatures that much more frightening. As for the creatures, they’re a great design and whilst we don’t spend too much time with them, they’re wonderfully effective. These are the sort of creatures that I don’t want to be explained, I don’t want any backstory or sequels delving further into them; the mystery makes them far scarier.
And boy is this film scary. It’s not a typical horror movie that’s filled to the brim with jump scares (though it does have them). Instead, it’s a movie that uses its premise to make a terrible situation that much worse. Given that noise is what attracts these creatures (and they do attack within seconds of hearing something), it is to be expected that a lot of A Quiet Place would involve not making much noise. What I didn’t expect was for there to be almost none throughout the entire thing. Characters don’t really talk here and when they do it’s extremely rare. They all communicate via sign language that I assume they all learned due to having a deaf child in the family. If they do talk, it’s normally at such a whisper that subtitles are needed to let us know what they are saying. That makes the whole film so much more tense and suspenseful. When we do hear a noise, we know that something bad will most likely be descending on them in a matter of moments. I actually found myself scanning the rooms they were in, checking for things that could fall. One thing I noticed from having next to no dialogue was how much I was able to hear all the other sounds. Everything was heightened as a result and that only made the tension that much worse.
As great as all this is, it would be nothing if there wasn’t a great cast to anchor it. A Quiet Place definitely has that. All four leads are superb and they are pretty much the only human characters for the entire running time. Everyone needed to bring their A game and that they did. Krasinski and Blunt are both fantastic actors and this is some of their best work. The two obviously have a head start when it comes to having chemistry and the ease they have with one another makes the characters come across as real and genuine people. As for the kids, well there are two stars in the making here. Both of them are given some really serious material to work with and they absolutely pull it off. Nothing is oversold by anyone here. Every second of fear and terror is played perfectly and as such, I found myself sharing these emotions alongside each one of them.
A Quiet Place does have a few issues. It’s never clear what the ultimate plan is for the family, particularly with a baby on the way. What are they planning to do with it in the long term when it’s born? Babies are known for crying and not being quiet, so it was a little distracting to not have that addressed. There is also a moment to do with that pregnancy that felt extremely glossed over, but I’ll avoid specifying exactly what at the risk of spoilers. These are minor niggles though. This is a great movie that is a blast to watch. I do have a feeling that there are some that may find the ending to be a little frustrating, for me though, I thought it was perfect.
Oh, and as for John Krasinski who was on starring and directing duties, this is a great project for him that he comes out of brilliantly on both counts. This could be the film that throws him into A-list movie status and whether it’s in front or behind the camera, I’m eager to see what he does next.
A tense and relentless thriller that piles on the tension while rarely letting up. A must see.