A Quiet Place (2018)
A Quiet Place (2018)

Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.

Release Date: April 6th, 2018 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: John Krasinski Actors: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward

 


 

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t’s Day 89 of some unforeseen, postapocalyptic disaster. Countless people have gone missing. Houses and shops are abandoned. Regan (Millicent Simmonds) peruses a deserted Larkin’s store, as her mother, Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt), just a few aisles away, carefully scrounges for medicine for her son. And children Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward) are close behind, foraging for playthings. Their father, Lee (John Krasinski), scavenges for hardware, hoping to boost the signal in their radio.

The entire family is barefoot, struggling to make as little noise as possible; clearly, they’re terrified at the prospect of generating loud sounds. And they communicate predominantly through sign language, which is obviously quieter than whispering. Yet disaster strikes when youngest child Beau discovers a battery-operated toy rocket, which makes just enough beeps and whirs to alert an insectoid/simian monster nearby, bursting from the bordering woods to zero in on its prey. By Day 472, the Abbotts are unsure if they’re the last people on the planet, as the population has been overrun and consumed by these enormous creatures, which are blind and hunt by sound.

“A Quiet Place” could have been a zombie movie, what with the rundown locations, the uncomfortable isolation, and the nomadic movements of small groups of survivors across desolate cities – always cautiously observing their surroundings and attempting to signal for help from some possible pocket of thriving civilization. The added predicament of remaining silent all the time is a unique twist, though the activities and fears are comparable to those of undead invasions. Here, facial expressions and reactions lend to the most impressive scenarios, as looming horrors are revealed in advance through wide eyes and visages taut with paranoia.

It’s impossible to maintain total silence, however, which crafts some sensationally scary moments. Accidents are one thing; random, fallen leaves on a hardwood floor are almost comically daunting. Of course, the Abbotts also make some questionable choices in their pursuit of perseverance, such as in their decision to have another child, which is something the film must cleverly handle, as giving birth – and a newborn baby – is anything but a quiet undertaking. Their lives are morbid enough without introducing such a specific risk, though this condition provides outstanding thrills, even if the actual delivery shies away from its full potential. It’s nevertheless a highly cinematic component to build into this premise.

Familial drama similarly plays a significant role in complicating the Abbotts’ plight, particularly with deaf Regan, who, despite having a superior grasp on communicating without sound, toils over her handicap (as well as from guilt over previous tragedies). Effectively conveying emotions to children is difficult as it is. Here, additionally sharing such heavy subjects as death and anguish and blame are excruciating, paired with a major dependence on the young ones’ ability to cope, to aid in survival tactics, and to comprehend the seriousness of their situations.

The use of foreshadowing is also masterfully orchestrated, prying extra tension from an already white-knuckle series of chills. Even flooding and darkness are concerns – as if the constant threat of man-eating hellions wasn’t enough. Just when their worries seem insurmountable, another problem arises; and the inability to warn one another is a tremendous part of this nerve-wracking ordeal.

Impressively, there’s never a dull moment, even if there’s a bit of aggravation from inconsistencies in the antagonists’ levels of hearing sensitivity. Still, once the terrorizing begins, it refuses to let up. By the end, “A Quiet Place” isn’t a complete adventure as much as it is a small, confined exercise in horror and suspense; it isn’t concerned with introductions or reasons or solutions to its chaotic world – just a nonstop episode of jump scares and excitement. It’s also worth mentioning that the acting is exceptional, especially since the dialogue is essentially nonexistent, and that the use of limited sets and characters doesn’t detract from a remarkable entertainment value.

– Mike Massie

  • 8/10