If you’ve never truly appreciated the magic of no sound, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place will make you. Silence is golden and for this film, it’s that golden it will save your life.
Earlier this year the actor come director’s pulsating tension-filled horror loved by cinephiles and critics alike, which itself there is a rarity. Now that visceral experience can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home…sshh!!!
A Quite Place stars Krasinski himself alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt as Lee and Evelyn. We first meet them on ‘Day 89’ with their family as they try to navigate their lives in near complete silence. They must do this every day in order to avoid the mysterious creatures that hunt humanity by sound. Even the slightest whisper or a footstep can mean death and Lee and Evelyn are determined at all costs to protect their children and find a way to fight back.
When it comes to less is better, A Quiet Place is that perfect example. The less known about the film, the more likely you’ll enjoy this exhilarating journey. This puts our focus on the family in question despite not actually knowing their names.
There’s no narration or introductions to us about the family or what happened or whose responsible for the apocalyptic event we find our family is in. From the word go we meet them on ‘Day 89’ and something dreadful has happened. They wander the aisles of an already pillaged supermarket for supplies. Outside cars are abandoned, the streets are deserted and tumbleweed populate. Soon after they start to head home we soon learn the enemy is sound and a pin dropping could mean death for them all.
Who attacked them? The family finds out in the worst possible way, a harrowing experience for anyone. From the early scenes, we get subtle little clues from the newspapers, television in their purpose-built surveillance room. An invasion has happened but are these mysterious killer aliens from space? A failed government experiment or a fragment of our imagination? Not actually finding out gives these killers an extra fear factor.
One of the newspaper headlines ‘Stay Silent, Stay Alive‘ gives us the biggest indicator of how they kill, by sound. From this, we start to understand the measures Lee and Evelyn go to ‘sound proofing’ a safe environment their children can live in. They communicate via sign language (Millicent Simmonds who plays Regan is deaf), when out they walk on sawdust covered paths in barefoot. Those paths even stretch outside their own home into the town, suggest their way of living is working and many had perished.
After the opening scenes, we meet the family in ‘Day 472’ and Evelyn is now pregnant and close to giving birth. This presents them with sounds they had heard since pre-invasion, new challenges. Lee is constantly creating new ways to soundproof his family even more, and we see some of them in action. If you need any more evidence of sound, when Evelyn enters their old home, eventually leads a nerve-shredding labour/birth scene with aliens closing in.
When you strip away the horror of the aliens, what we get is several family drama story arcs. The first is a family deep in the grief of a loss of a child. Guilt may be taking precedence especially with the daughter Regan (Simmonds) who feels the most responsible. Her relationship with her father deteriorates as her frustrations get worse simply as she is aware whats going on. As she wants to be treated like an adult she soon cherishes her father’s protection and true love for her. This gives the film a Coming Of Age tone, she quickly grows up when her young brother Marcus (Noah Jupe), still doesn’t understand the terror, he needs his big sister to protect him.
The film also highlights the anxiety of parents, Evelyn even laments ‘What are we, if we can’t protect them?’. If you can’t protect yourself how are you going to protect your children?
A Quiet Place is an exhilarating, masterful horror which strips back to the basics tropes of the genre to deliver maximum tension. Keeping what we know about what happened helps push the focus onto the family. The trepidation you have for the family increases by each gripping scene. Fantastic all round performances from the cast, you truly feel they are a real family, you urge them to survive and win.
A pulsating horror thriller that will make you fear the power of silence for a very long time.
Paul Devine | [rating=4]
Horror, Drama, sci-fi| USA, 2018 | 15 | 13th August 2018 (UK) | Blu-ray, DVD | Paramount Pictures | Dir.John Krasinski | Emily Blunt, John Krasisnki, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe