John Krasinski’s come a long way. Admired for his role in The Office, John has leveled up in a big way in 2018. Despite initial skepticism, A Quiet Place silenced all my doubts. I’m not a horror film fan. However, this suspense thriller toes multiple genre lines. There are spooky scenes, jumpy scenes, bloody scenes. However, nothing here hovers the realm of grotesque. This tasteful take on horror caught me by surprise. I’ve seen it twice in theaters. And I might go a third. While more could have been added to the film’s final scene, the 90-minute runtime flat-out works. Consistent suspense propels this story forward. Nevertheless, it is not the only impressive factor. A balancing act of action, stillness, and tension make A Quiet Place a compelling visual feat. Rather than opt for cheap scare tactics, Krasinski and Co. let the plot do all the talking.
At times, this film features heartbreaking emotion. I didn’t expect that. In 2020, a post-apocalyptic New York suffers dramatic changes. Unknown alien predators scour the Earth in search of prey, using sound frequencies to hunt. Revealed in the second act, these hunters only detect sounds louder than their surroundings. So, if a thousand bees are buzzing around, you’re free to carefully walk past them. But stub your toe on something and it’s lights out. That’s the general idea, at least. A family of four, consisting of actors Emily Blunt, Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe, strive to survive. Yet they were once a family of five. The opening scene shows Evelyn and Lee’s youngest son scurrying through a pharmacy. I loved how this film began. Four-year-old Beau’s tip-toeing set an eerie mood. His curiosity eventually gets the best of him as hunters sweep him away travelling back home.
Even though I love this movie, its first stylistic transition bothered me a bit. The film’s title fades in after the hunters snatch Beau. The words dissipate like sand blowing in the wind, which I enjoyed. However, the hard cut into the title took away from the emotion of the moment. Krasinski’s Lee rushes towards his son, trying to save him. He’s too late nonetheless. And the title screen cuts off his running motion. This detached me from Beau’s character, despite his brief appearance. I would’ve liked to see Lee finish his motion, allowing reality to sink in. That’s a minor complaint, though. Anyway, Beau’s death creates a rift between Lee and his daughter Regan, who I assume is around 13. They only specified Beau’s age. Although Jupe is 13 in real life, his character, Marcus, looks about 9. Born deaf, Regan wears hearing aids developed by her father.
Blaming herself for Beau’s death, Regan resists Lee’s authority on multiple occasions. She feels he no longer loves her. How tragic a feeling that must be. One of the best aspects of A Quiet Place is its character development. Throughout the story, each family member has their own interconnected dynamic. I appreciated this detail. My one gripe would be that Evelyn and Regan didn’t interact much. Considering Regan’s disdain for her dad, you’d think she would cling to her mother. But I guess not. In spite of that, every other family tie receives a touching moment or two. Of them, Lee and Marcus’s waterfall scene was a great piece of cinema. Lee took his son out for some father-son time while Regan stayed back with her mother. Of course, she wanted to go instead of her brother and stormed off. She returned to Beau’s grave site.
Meanwhile, Marcus informs his dad that Regan blames herself for Beau’s death. He asks Lee if he still loves her to which he quickly corrects. On their way back, they come across an old man standing over his wife’s dead body, torn apart from the waist down. He emits a suicidal scream, triggering the alien hunters’ sensors. They devour him in seconds. Lee and Marcus hurry home only to find red SOS light bulbs glowing in the distance. Evelyn flipped them on due to a clumsy mistake. During her errands, she stabbed her foot with a rusty nail and dropped a framed picture. A hunter caught wind of her mishap and swiftly investigated. As suspenseful as this situation is, another component heightens the severity. Evelyn is 9 months pregnant. I won’t spoil any more, but the bathtub scene in this movie is nothing short of gripping.
I was on the edge of my seat for about 40 minutes straight. I’ve never sat in a film such as A Quiet Place. Its silence breaks the mold. Approximately 65% of the movie is silent or very quiet. This film stays true to its word. Sound, and the lack thereof, plays a crucial role. It’s almost like a side character how the sonic atmosphere steals certain scenes. This results in prime suspense and scare opportunities to keep viewers engaged until the credits roll. A Hollywood plot hole or two arise. However, the flaws I see with this film do not hinder its overall impact. As soon as I finished watching it the first time, I knew I wanted to see it again. Very rarely does that happen for me. I anticipate an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay next February. With A Quiet Place, Krasinski proves silence speaks volumes.