Review by Carson Hearne
Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror and some bloody images.
Directed by: John Krasinski
Written by: John Kraskinski, Scott Beck, and Bryan Woods
(based on a story by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods)
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe
In his third directorial outing, John Krasinski creates a depraved, psychological thriller that will chill even the toughest moviegoers. Before this film, Krasinski had only directed a couple flops and a few episodes of The Office. A Quiet Place is definitely a flawed film in certain aspects. But, it surpasses those flaws by breaking the modern horror film formula to create a truly refreshing experience. As long as you have a very well behaved audience, that is.
Taking place not very long from now, a family is trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world plagued by vicious monsters who are attracted to sound. After a tragic incident occurs, turmoil arises between the family members as they attempt to cope. The father (John Krasinski) is only interested in ensuring his family’s safety and finding a way to kill these creatures. After the mother (Emily Blunt) becomes pregnant, uncertainties raise to a boil and the film refuses to give you any breathing room.
The performances brought in this film are nothing short of astounding. I have never been a big fan of child actors; but, these children portray their roles in such a believable manner. At first, I was unsure about John Krasinski casting his wife, Emily Blunt, as his wife in the film. But, it really creates this chemistry on screen that I don’t think could have been recreated with any other actress. There are some truly beautiful moments that are scattered throughout. In particular, there is a scene where the mother and father are dancing while listening to music through earphones that fills you with comfort even in the midst of such an uncomfortable situation. I won’t spoil anything, but the climax will just crush your soul and can easily turn you into a weeping mess if you give it enough thought.
The beginning of A Quiet Place is very similar to 28 Days Later, but shot without the Danny Boyle style. The writing and the production design are both very well done in making the film very atmospheric. But, the sound design is what really makes A Quiet Place work, and deserves a nomination (at least) at the 2019 Oscars. This is not a film for you to wait to pick up on DVD/Blu-Ray. It is meant to be seen in a movie theater, or at least with a very good surround sound set up, to get the full experience of how they use silence to their advantage. A downside to seeing it in theaters is that it is so popular, that you are very unlikely to see this in an empty theater. You more than likely will find yourself having a very hard time watching this film with annoying audience members. In the theater I was in, I was lucky enough to only have a couple people that were somewhat distracting. I highly recommend seeing this film on a weekday, at the earliest time you can make to avoid any distractions.
This film is subject to a few flaws that kept me from considering it a perfect film. First off, I really wish that they would have kept the creatures more mysterious. After a few scenes into the film, you’ve already gotten a good look at them. I felt that it diminished some of the fear that could have been very well incorporated. In fact, the most terrifying scenes are the ones where you can only hear the creatures but can’t visually see them, but sadly most of those are saved for later. I have to say, there is a scene where the creatures show up on the security cameras; it is one of the most frightening shots in recent years.
Another flaw that bothers me with most modern films is that lack of stylized cinematography. If Krasinski would have only spent more time and thought into creating cinematography that would really create an original view of this very interesting landscape. To give him credit, it is his first successful film that he was in charge of, and I will be keeping an eye out on him in the future. Finally, there was one jump scare in this film that I felt was very unnecessary since the scene could have ended up being very moving. But, instead they tried to go for the scares and I did not agree with that decision. They did also use jump scares in the right ways in other sections of the film, there was one that made me almost jump out of my seat; it takes a lot to scare me as bad as A Quiet Place did.
Despite it’s flaws, A Quiet Place is one of the most intense films to come out in this decade. This is the best film I’ve seen so far this year, and the fact that such an entertaining film was made with little to no dialogue is astonishing. It is incredibly easy to ruin a normal film; it is twice as easy to ruin a film that loses half of what makes it up. Without much audio, you put so much emphasis on the screen and every little sound that is heard. It makes you realize that you have to make everything you see and hear twice as interesting, or else the film will crash and burn. Overall, A Quiet Place is a very technically smart film that shows you can still make an inventive horror film.