‘A Quiet Place’ scares with silence

Tyler Manning

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John Krasinski and Noah Jupe in A Quiet Place (2018). Photo Jonny Cournoyer

I have to admit: I was not all too thrilled to watch “A Quiet Place.” I am lukewarm about Emily Blunt‘s acting capabilities. I thought the fact that she was making the movie with her real-life husband John Krasinski (most notably known for playing Jim Halpert on “The Office”) was just a marketing ploy, and I wasn’t incredibly thrilled with the trailer.

After seeing the movie, though, I am glad to have spent my money on it.

“A Quiet Place” is a genuinely tense and heartwarming movie that builds its entire tone around an incredibly solid premise and never cheaply scares its audience.

It is noteworthy to mention this movie is the directorial debut of its lead actor Krasinski and this is an impressive start to, hopefully, a future in directing movies as well as acting in them.

The movie is edited concisely. Krasinski and editor Christopher Tellefsen never include a wasted moment. All is spent toward building the characters and their complicated relationship with their environment and each other. A great example of this is the opening of the movie. It effectively builds the tone, the premise and characters all in the first 10 minutes of its runtime. I knew the movie was in good hands just after seeing how well the movie is set up.

The film is about a family living in an apocalyptic world in which humans live in fear of monsters. However, these monsters are blind and have heightened hearing. The family quickly learns to navigate through this world without getting caught by learning sign language and walking around barefoot.

The atmosphere of the film is a strong point. Part of my apprehension with seeing this movie came from the disappointment I had with the two previous horror movies I saw this year, “Winchester” and “Insidious: The Last Key.” Both were examples of movies with weak, cliché premises that relied solely on “jump-scares” to scare audiences. None of the characters in either films were well-developed or interesting, just flat. Fear and suspense should come from the audience liking characters enough to hope they survive, which is where “A Quiet Place” excels.

Character dynamics are complicated and genuine. The character of the daughter feels guilt because she thinks she is responsible for the death of her brother early on in the film. The father, at times, shows resentment to her because she partially was at fault for the death. The mother is ridden with grief and feels blame because she froze and did nothing to save them. Good character tension like this is what makes a movie engaging and rewarding.

Sound design was also a strong point in this movie. Being a movie about a family having to stay quiet, the sound design requires the movie to focus on quiet though not having score. The daughter character is established as being deaf (and the actress, Millicent Simmonds, is actually deaf in real life) and the sound design reflects her inability to hear as opposed to everyone else in her family. The sharp contrast between quiet and loudness in this movie adds to the tension and fleshes out the movie.

Overall, I respect this movie. “A Quiet Place” is just a genuinely good movie. It has solid acting, a great sense of tone and never bores its audience. It is tightly focused, well-paced and a great film to watch in a packed theater. Do yourself and the film industry a favor and watch this well-crafted, low-budget horror film. You will not regret it.

Rating: 8/10

Still out in local theaters