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.
Stargate SG-1 Review: Thor’s Hammer
Whilst exploring Cimmeria, Teal’c and Colonel Jack O’Neill are transported to a labyrinth where any Goa’uld will die if they try to escape, leaving the host free. The two nevertheless attempt to find a way out, but are found by an unwanted visitor who will stop at nothing in killing them as it attempts to escape. Meanwhile, Captain Samantha Carter and Dr. Daniel Jackson use Kendra, a former Goa’uld host, to guide them to the labyrinth.
Good episode this! I forgot that we get (kind of) introduced to the Asgard this early on in the shows run. It’s actually great fun to see what they started out as in the franchise, giant Norse Gods with booming voices and a tendency to lean towards the dramatic. It’s ever so amusing considering what we know they actually look like. The importance of the Asgard is apparent right from the off to with the clearly impressive technology they have at their disposal. The Government kept saying that it was important to find a race with tech that can help them- they were on the right track here.
Onto Teal’c then as this is very much an episode that puts him in the spotlight. Christopher Judge does great work here and gets to show new sides to the character that we haven’t seen before. He actually looked scared at one point when he first saw the Unas and that’s not something we see very often. Through Teal’c we also learn more about the Goa’uld and in particular these first hosts. We go on to see the Unas several more times over the course of the show, but it’s interesting to note that for a long time they were considered to be nothing but a myth. I also appreciated that Teal’c’s actions as a first prime continue to haunt him. He points out that Daniel’s wife was taken with some help from him and he still feels as though he should pay the price for that. It must have been quite the relief for both Jack and Daniel to show that they don’t blame him. As for the Unas himself, he was actually quite effective. I loved the shadow he cast on the wall as he first appeared and he was a different type of foe to those we have seen thus far. It was always obvious how they were going to defeat him, but the predictable ending didn’t detract from how great it was.
Interesting one for Daniel too. He and Carter are searching for the others, but he wastes no time in finding out all he can about Kendra and how she was able to free herself from the Gao’uld. I actually really appreciated Daniel’s fixation on this. Quite often, it comes across like Shar’e is a mere afterthought, but here we see that she is still very much the main thing on his mind and he isn’t close to giving up on her. That makes his gesture to destroy the device that could save her even more impactful. It’s a clear indicator that he holds no resentment with Teal’c as to what happened and that he considers him to be a vital member of the team. We haven’t had a great deal of Teal’c and Daniel one on one moments yet, but this told me all I need to know about the respect between them.
So a good episode, but there are some things that didn’t make it quite as good as it could have been. Kendra was an interesting character but on the whole, she felt a bit flat. I was really waiting for this part of the story to spring to life and it never really did. The villagers of this world were a bit bland too and it really felt like I was just watching a bunch of extras rather than a new civilisation. Still, when the rest of the episode is so strong, small things like this can be easily forgiven.
Oh, side note. This episode was written by the same person who wrote Emancipation. Imagine my shock when I figured that out.
I Know That Face!
Well, actually it’s voice this time. The Unas is voiced by none other than James Earl Jones. He provided the voice of Darth Vader in a small series of movies called Star Wars.
Thor: This is your prison. Your technology will not function here. There are no luxuries, no worshipers, no slaves to do your bidding.
Jack: Teal’c, I think we just got the answering machine.
Thor: Only basic sustenance, and time.
Jack: Yeah, well, great. Thanks – thanks for the chat.
Jack: Water. Give it enough time and it’ll bring down walls, even walls just like them. So in a couple of hundred years, we’ll be free.
Jack: Teal’c’s here now.
Teal’c: And here I will remain. I was with those who took the ones you love.
Jack: No. You’re part of this family now. We’re not leaving you behind.
The best episode of the first season so far. It may not have seemed it at the time, but this is the most important one yet since the pilot. It also has a fascinating story and some brilliant character development for Teal’c and Daniel.