If they hear you, they hunt you.
"A Quiet Place" is a film that intricately plays upon primary senses and fears, that creates scenes and atmospheres that are the downfall of many other modern horror films. Yes, John Krasinski's nerve-shredding modern classic puts some of the most primal aspects of human interaction into an amalgam of 'edge of your seat' moments, truly 'jump out your skin' moments and particularly 'cry your heart out moments'. Krasinski created a horror movie that wasn't just ghosts lurking in the shadows or a murderous titan on the loose- he created a movie that was unique, investing and unforgettable.
Before the film began, and the lights slowly turned off, an ominous voice spoke to us, "whatever you do, don't make a sound, turn all mobile devices off and refrain from any communication"- now this wasn't your usual reminder to turn phones off, this actually meant something. This film was around 85% silent. With sign language used and subtitles to carry the conversation along, I never thought I'd be so engrossed in a film of such uniquity and brilliance. The main focus of the story was on the Krasinski family (yes Director John Krasinski also stars as the lead father, along with his real-life wife Emily Blunt as the mother).
Also in the film is the incredible Millicent Simmonds portraying one of three children. Simmonds portrays the 15 year old, independent, strong willed deaf daughter of the family that is a large focus for the majority of the film. She perhaps gets the most character development throughout as she goes from ultimately causing the death of her little brother to helping save her mother and brother from the creatures that are coming, through the use of interference with her hearing aid.
The suspense throughout each and every scene is perhaps one of the best put to cinema. I mean, can we all talk about that nail in the floorboard scene? WOW. Never did I once think that a mere nail could cause me so much stress, anxiety and palpitations. When the poor mother, portrayed incredibly well by Blunt, accidentally impaled her foot with it, along with experiencing contractions and her water's eventually breaking (Yes, a baby was also thrown into the mix!) and being stalked by the creature that feeds on the sound of those around them, could it get much harder?
Speaking of the baby, co-writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck perfectly execute logical ways in which the family could go about preventing the creatures from hearing the birth and other noise making scenarios, including the bunker, walking barefoot and utilising the families love for each other, right until the last second. Some of the hardest scenes to watch are the ones that play upon those fears we feel when someone comedically sneezes in horror-comedy sketches (i.e Scooby Doo- yes somehow we mentioned that, here) and the villain hears them and we don't know what happens next. The whole film is an extrapolated version of that, with added emotion, excitement and tragedy,
“A Quiet Place” is a no-nonsense, clean cut movie—the best kind when it comes to thrillers. It feels like every shot has been crafted carefully with utmost precision as the it ticks like a clock on a bomb, perfectly balancing scares with scenes that set up the emotional stakes and the world of these characters.
One of the most noticeable aesthetic choices Krasinski made was that the film has a beautiful sense of geography, almost all of it taking place on a farm that the director and his technical team lay out in a way that allowed us to feel like we had lived there for all the days we followed them. Also, from a directing standpoint, the colour tone varies drastically between acts, it begins with a rather settled, dusty yellow tone, to a darker more black colour scheme and then finally to a red and black combination that signifies a possible end to the trauma- or possibly just the beginning.
One small criticism that can be made from the film is the score can overtake the tension from the scene. With a film so reliant on the purity of silence, Marco Beltrami's score felt a little out of place. Perhaps if the score only came around when characters were in safe locations to talk such as the waterfall or underground bunker then that would add another little piece to the almost perfect horror movie.
The penultimate final scenes that left me welling up with tears was the sacrifice the father of the family made to save his children in the Jurassic Park -esque scene in which the creature was ripping the roof off the car. Krasinski perfectly acted this and each line of dialogue prior to this lead perfectly to the 'I love you' that he told his deaf daughter at the end.
“A Quiet Place” completely shreds and destroys the nerves, but it does so in a way that feels rewarding and I have to say, once leaving the cinema, it almost felt odd to talk. It made you question whether there are creatures out there that are listening- but not the ones you expect. You don’t just walk out of this film having experienced a thrill ride, you walk out on a high, the kind of high that only comes from the best horror movies.
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