19 April 2024

Film Review – A Quiet Place (2018)

How do you fancy getting the pants scared off you by Jim from The Office and Mary Poppins? It’s a strange notion for sure but A Quiet Place offers up such an invitation. It’s also a somewhat strange time of the year to release a horror film of this kind but don’t be fooled into thinking this one has been “dumped” on the schedule – for you will not have a scarier, more brilliantly executed thrill-ride than this, no matter what the date.

In a post-apocalyptic “present day”, the world has seen a catastrophic sequence of events that has decimated much of the resources and indeed people that inhabit it. Out in the wilderness somewhere in America, a young family (led by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) are forced to fend for themselves in the most extreme of circumstances, for whatever has sent the Earth on its current course is all around them – and ready to pounce at the merest heavy footstep, crack of a tree branch or a child’s toy with sonic sounds attach to it. The less we say here the better but as you have guessed from the title, silence is golden.

Krasinski, making his third film as director, perhaps isn’t the obvious choice to take the hot seat for this one given his career thus far but that’s exactly the reason why he orchestrates such a phenomenal piece of work that is both a nerve-shredding horror film but also a heartfelt story of a family’s will to survive amidst the impending doom around them. Building the tension around the simple premise may sound like an easy thing but it takes inch-perfect precision to truly deliver and Krasinski has achieved such a feat with his use of startling visuals and superb sound design (or lack of it in many places) that pulses through the film with every sequence, every moment etched with fear and claustrophobia as the family and pushed further and further to their breaking points. If you haven’t crushed your cinema chair arms by the end of this one it will be a miracle.

Krasinski is able to expand the scope of the following with four exceptional performances from his cast who are flawless to a fault. The director himself is superb as the cautious and over-protective father whilst Blunt is as magnificent as she ever has been – she deserves all the awards under the sun for one particular sequence that will leave you as breathless as she is – and in a change to typical off-camera/on-camera relationships, this is as compassionate and loving as you could imagine. Then there’s Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds, both hot off other stellar turns in the last year (Suburbicon and Wonderstruck respectively) but this soars them to new heights. Imagine being a kid without the ability to play, to explore, to have to abandon your childhood because you almost can’t move for the threats outside but both portrayals are glorious and will probably be the best of its kind this year.

Not many horror films get the tag “flawless” given the subjective nature of what frightens us but if such a thing is possible, A Quiet Place is one of those rare breeds. Intoxicating yet deliriously intense, Krasinski’s film is simply unforgettable and can proudly take its place as not such the year’s horror to beat, but one of its very best films, period.

Scott J.Davis | [rating=5]

Horror, Drama | USA, 2018 | 15 | 5th April 2018 (UK) | Paramount Pictures | Dir: John Krasinski | Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe,

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