At first glace of the title, ‘A Quiet Place’ sounds like it should be a full-fledged drama film: a young attractive couple seemingly raising their children out in the middle of a rural area. Long country walks, fishing, and board games by gaslight is what you would expect.
The reality is this family lives in fear of making a sound in a post-apocalyptic world.
(This review is spoiler-free.)
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt stars as two parents who, along with their children, must use tactics to remain silent in a post-invasion wasteland that is crawling with man-eating alien predators. In order to survive, they must use sign language and make sure they don’t attract the creatures, primed to strike at the slightest sound made.
“Stay silent, Stay alive” is the motto of the film, and this is apparent for the entire film. Krasinski, who also directed and co-wrote, summoned a tense, breathless trick for this movie around that motto: for 90 minutes of watching this family survive was crafted with little sound. At maximum, I would say that ten percent of the film has dialogue of the characters actually talking (not the sign language subtitles). This strategy earns well-earned jump scares from the audience. To be honest, I was sitting on edge the entire film when you didn’t know what would happen with this family. From the start, in which the invasion has come and gone, the story establishes the ground rules – which is already broken by an early tragedy – and then focuses on Blunt’s heavily pregnant mother character (why are we still having children in this kind of world? Really?) and their children (Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, who were both great).
Near the third act, the dialogue starts to creep in. While it does break the spell of the film a little, it doesn’t overtake the danger of the film. Krasinski’s character is smart and that’s obvious as you witness the lengths he goes to protect his family. However, those clues does make it feel like he doesn’t trust the audience to keep up with the film. But if that’s my only gripe, I can look past that and still declare this film as an entertaining ride.
The mood that Krasinski set from the start of the film does not dissipate; feeling both modern and pleasingly honoring old-school horror films. With a finger on the mute button and a thumb pressing the panic button a few times, A Quiet Place is a thrilling horror film.