A Quiet Place (2018)

DIRECTOR John Krasinski
STARRING Emily Blunt, John Krasinski
RELEASE DATE April 6th, 2018
RUNTIME 95 Minutes

A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

A Quiet Place is not a popcorn flick. Let’s just get that out of the way first. In fact you want to get most of your masticating done during the previews, as you will be slack-jawed and awe-stricken or tight-lipped and anxious for the roughly two hour run time of the film.

A Quiet Place is a nearly perfect horror film.  It’s also a perfect thriller and a very good bit of science fiction. In summation it’s a very very very good film. One that you need to go see as soon as possible.

Written, directed, produced, and starring John Krasinski, this film is something very unique. It’s an exercise in precision filmmaking and laser focused writing. None of the scares in the film are unearned and none are played on the cheap. In fact, this film shines in that it sets up each gag perfectly, telegraphing what is important and what is detrimental to our protagonists, even if they have no idea how a glass lantern or a loud raccoon or a loose nail could change their lives. Krasinski builds the tension to unbearable heights and the audience is swept away by what the mundane events on screen slowly collapsing into a nightmare scenario from which there may be no escape or hope of surviving. Krasinski, in only his second feature, has achieved the heights of Hitchcock and Shyamalan with his unrelenting and unforgiving lens work. This is a film that demands your attention and once it has that attention, it will not release it for the duration of the film.   

That’s the how, the why is alien beasties. They are unstoppable killing machines that hunt by sound primarily. These creatures are terrifying and lethal and incredibly well designed. But that is exactly what I am trying to convey here. The creatures are only part of it. They are here and the world is in desperate need of someone who can stop these monsters, but instead there is no savior, the world is ending and they are all just trying to make do. The world that is built and the rules that are established are iron clad here, and that is refreshing. The plot points were created in service to this world, and they exist as part of the overall world building. From sand lined paths to watch fires being burned atop roofs, each and every bit of minutiae serves a purpose. These bits and bobbles are used to build tension to unbearable heights and when the scare or the set-up pays off you can feel the audience around reacting even as you are. It’s masterful manipulation. The sound design is next level as well.

There’s a reason I said that A Quiet Place is not a popcorn flick, it is too quiet to be one. As the film started, I noted that the rustling of bags and the crunching of popcorn ceased as the tension began to build. Even more impressive was the acting on display. Emotions are conveyed in a glance, a whole spectrum of emotions, between husband and wife. The film is mostly told in sign language, a thing our family of protagonists did not have to learn as their daughter is deaf to begin with. Like I said, the whole thing makes perfect sense from beginning to end.  The acting here is top notch. Emotion drips from each and every gaze. The children are great, Krasinski is better but the heavy lifting is done by Emily Blunt. She commanded every scene she was in. More importantly, thanks to the commitment by the actors and the careful plotting of structure of the film, you never doubt that these people are this capable, or that their plans are slowly unraveling despite their best efforts.

Ultimately that’s what this film comes to, control. We have none, and despite everything we try to do, the world winds up disrupting even our best laid plans. It’s what you do next that matters, and you should go see this film as soon as possible.