A Quiet Place Review
Don't Breathe meets Pitch Black
The Office's John Krasinski delivers a thoroughly impressive third directorial effort with this gripping and subversive high concept horror.An ambitious project for a relatively new director to take on, particularly one who came up through primarily comedic work, Krasinski has clearly done his homework, taking note of the subversive traits and socio-political commentary that informed such recent gems as Get Out and Don't Breathe, and channeling clear love and respect for Jaws, all refocused through the prism of a terrified parent's eyes. The end result, courtesy of Krasinski's rewrite of a spec script, is a striking little piece that works as a horror both literally and figuratively, playing out as a taut little creature feature as well as a symbol for the waking nightmare that almost every parent endures at one time or another.Although there are similarities to other creature horrors, and A Quiet Place could be simplistically boiled down to Pitch Black by way of Don't Breathe, Krasinski establishes a fresh and distinctive feel, spurred on by the collaboration with wife Emily Blunt, and by the real-world young family they now have, bringing organic characters and family dynamic to a film where you might not expect it, and cranking up the tension to almost breaking point without relying on bodycount, gore, or monster mayhem to deliver thrills. It's a hell of a ride; 90 minutes of near-silent running which will suck the noise out of auditoriums across the land as they hold their bated breath over what will happen next.
The story follows a young family, led by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt's parents, who live a silent existence on a quiet farm, in a land plagued by vicious creatures who are blind but are hypersensitive to sound. Haunted by the loss of one of their kids to the monsters, the dedicated parents have to protect their remaining charges, a son and a deaf daughter, whilst also teaching them how to survive and, perhaps more importantly, not lose all hope.
Certainly A Quiet Place is best enjoyed knowing as little as possible from the outset, establishing the credentials of its high concept right from the harrowing opening prologue, and then cranking up the tension on the farm as even simple things like playing Monopoly or walking up a flight of creaky stairs pose potentially fatal risks. With the daughter's deafness a seemingly insurmountable problem with their limited technological resources to find a hearing aid, the family's inherent familiarity with sign language is a significant benefit as they navigate the treacherous land - a familiar environment beset with dangers.
A minor future classic.
Krasinski and Blunt do the heavy lifting, with The Office mainstay highly expressive despite the challenge of no dialogue, convincing in times of horror and terror (c.f. 13 Hours), particularly when faced with the realisation that one of his loved ones may be in danger. Blunt is great under pressure (c.f. Edge of Tomorrow), afforded some memorable time alone in the house where she really gets to show her horror teeth. The child actors are also superb, including Millicent Simmonds, who is deaf in real life (and who actually helped teach her fellow cast members sign language) and whose scenes are cleverly played out in complete silence, offering an added level of horror to the already terrifying scenario.
Chocked full of memorable moments and standout setpieces, A Quiet Place benefits most from a commitment to character depth and natural family interaction, and even if you enjoy it above the level of its symbolic parental horrors - with Krasinski (and Blunt spurring him on behind the scenes) intent on emphasising the parental metaphors, addressing both the fear that even the slightest mistake on the part of parents could cost their children dearly, as well as the cost of said fear on both parents and their children - it still provides one of the most memorable horror journeys of recent times, sitting comfortably alongside its standout brethren like the recently Oscar-nominated Get Out. A minor future classic.
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