Tuesday, April 10

A Quiet Place Review

A Quiet Place

Dir: John Krasinski

Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds

If you live in or near the city, go outside and listen to the world. There is constantly some kind of noise humming about in the atmosphere. When you venture into nature or far outside of the city limits, the quiet can be comforting. However, I also think that it can be somewhat unnerving and lonesome. 

Silence is a powerful tool in cinema, it can heighten a scene of drama, play a critical role for a punchline in comedy, or rattle the nerves in horror films. Alfred Hitchcock was a master of using silence to heighten suspense to effectively craft perfect horror scenes. Think about the moments of silence in “Psycho” or the wordless moment in “The Man Who Knew Too Much”; Hitchcock understands that silence, in its many different forms, is one of the most effective tools in a filmmakers skill set.

John Krasinski, famously of “The Office” television show, writes and directs the new horror film “A Quiet Place”. Playing with silence as the tool for tension, Mr. Krasinski crafts an exceptional horror film that utilizes an effective arrangement of classic horror movie tropes and setups to make a simplistic premise pulse with suspense.

Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt), like most parents, only want to protect their kids Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) from the perils of the world; however the world they live in makes this a very difficult task. This family, who communicate with sign language and walk barefoot through their desolate home in the forest, has survived the threat of extinction at the hands of unstoppable creatures who hunt with heightened sound awareness, forcing the family to live in silence.

The easy premise here may sound somewhat one note, another creature feature with people running panicked from a destructive force; however, Mr. Krasinski composes this film with such precision that you almost forget that the whole concept revolves around the aspect of survival. What makes it so engaging, which in turn makes the tension and suspense work so effectively, is the construction of the family dynamic, the drama that engages the family to function with some kind of normalcy in an situation that is far from normal. The brother and sister quarrel, the husband and wife share romantic moments, and the parent and child relationship is filled with growing pains; when danger comes and these moments are interrupted with aspects of sound, the terror is palpable and the concern for the well being of the family is real. Krasinski composes the film with a clear understanding of how and why fear has such a grasp on people.

The design of the film is also quite effective, in particular the sound design which is a mix of subtle and sharp moments that heighten the scenes with suspense. Understanding that the creatures hunt by what they hear, the director utilizes this aspect to toy with the viewer, leading them to predict what might happen which is often times the worst case scenario. 

Krasinski and Blunt, who are married in real life, imbue the film with emotion and heart. The children, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, also help with grounding the narrative structure here, being the catalyst that promotes jump into action many times. 

All the best horror films understand that fear is more than scary monsters, it’s a culmination of different emotions that contribute to the power that fear has over the mind. “A Quiet Place” effectively plays with this aspect of emotion in clever ways through the character design, the sound elements and secluded atmosphere of the film, which help in crafting some truly exciting and terror-filled moments. 

Monte’s Rating

4.25 out of 5.00

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