A Quiet Place review John Krasinksi Millicent Simmonds Noah JupeYear: 2018
Director(s): John Krasinski
Writer(s): Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski
Region of Origin: USA

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Rating: PG-13
35mm, Color, 90 mins

Synopsis: A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound. (Source)

Horror is most potent when unburdened by complication, and it’s this distinct simplicity that makes A Quiet Place so effective. John Krasinksi’s taken the genre back to its roots, using silence to drive story and scares in a way that’s unmistakably visceral. Krasinksi and writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck give us only what we need, and because of that, the tension is taught as can be, and nothing is wasted. The film is also lined with an ensemble who can render complexity from clever minimalism. With less than a handful of moments containing actual audible dialogue, this is essentially a silent film, one that explores how familial bonds and human instinct are all about action, and above all, transcend what words can express.

The story centers on the Abbott family, Lee (John Krasinksi), Evelyn (Emily Blunt), and their two children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe). About two years after a predatory species has overrun Earth, mankind has mostly been driven underground – their blind hunters use enhanced sound and echolocation. As of yet, these beasts of prey have no known weaknesses, but the Abbotts have managed to carve their own niche on a secluded farm in the woods. It all goes downhill in a matter of days, however. Tensions in the family jumpstart a chain of events which disrupt the lives they’ve created for themselves, making the divided family vulnerable just as a pregnant Evelyn preps to give birth to a new child.

Even as it mines the absence of sound, Krasinski’s film is an amplification of what makes modern horror so effective. Without dialogue, the film is more truthful in terms of its scares, featuring extended sequences which are built on the idea of losing a loved one and the desperation that comes from protecting those around us no matter the cost. Because of this, the Abbott’s world is richly detailed and vivid. There are few fake scares, no superfluous dialogue, just raw emotion and instinct driving every scene. With sound acting as a main character in the film, the tone swings from peaceful to oppressive at the flick of a switch, yet never feels gimmicky. This reliance on the genre’s most important sense allows Krasinksi to pull off a relentless succession of memorable set pieces. These sequences never repeat themselves, building the Abotts’ relationship as things ratchet to an inevitable point of no return. On every level, the film’s premise and execution provide a perfect synergy, exploring the importance of communication and how we show those closest to us how we love them.

A Quiet Place review John Krasinksi Noah JupeWithout dialogue or overt exposition, the film’s humanity comes from its cast. Pulling double duty in front of and behind the camera, Krasinksi turns in a tortured father who is determined and focused. He’s the film’s anchor, and helps to drive the stakes in a way that’s wholly relatable. As the matriarch, Blunt provides a hidden strength. With much of the film’s struggle internalized, Blunt has a ferocity that’s understated, making that final act really hit. As Regan and Marcus, Simmonds and Jupe hold their own. Simmonds, who is an up-and-coming deaf actor brings a realism that can’t be beat, bringing much of the film’s conflict to life and proving that she’s a talent to be reckoned with.

Especially for a mainstream horror flick, A Quiet Place bridges the gap between art house and pop sensibility. What’s more, the film doesn’t compromise, never talking down to its audience with rare confidence. Thanks to its no-nonsense approach and original story, Krasinski’s film is a home run that feels like a new classic in the making. This thing is as lean and mean as can be, and at a time when original horror seems to be making a comeback, Krasinksi’s latest is a reminder of how you can say so much with so little.

SG