Film Review – A Quiet Place
A Quiet Place
With a hook as devilishly simple as that of A Quiet Place, a post-apocalyptic thriller in which Demogorgon-on-speed like monsters viciously attack humans at the slightest hint of sound, you might wonder how it can sustain itself for a largely silent 90 minutes. Director John Krasinski (*turn to camera*) deftly accomplishes this with haunting imagery and stellar set pieces. A Quiet Place is the real deal.
The title card “Day 89” kicks the movie off, and dad (Krasinski, whose name is Lee according to IMDB but I’ll be damned if I remember it) leads a family excursion to a desolate drug store for some light pillaging. The unfortunate, sudden blaring of a toy summons a creature and seals the fate of a character we’ve just come to know. This tragic unfolding of events quickly sets the harrowing tone for what’s to come and just what is at stake for this family.
We jump ahead about a year and are drawn into the forced-upon routines of the surviving family. Paths of soft sand are strewn throughout their upstate farmhouse and are only to be stepped on with bare feet. Mom (Emily Blunt), forebodingly very, very pregnant, now washes and dries clothes by hand and steams the stored food they have gathered. An early scene (which the incredible first trailer mainly revolves around) in which a run-of-the-mill family game of Monopoly, full with specially created cloth pieces, turns into a fight for survival when their excited son Marcus (Noah Jupe) knocks over a lantern, is just grade-A filmmaking. Krasinski ratchets up the tension, scene after scene. It is unrelentingly captivating.
Another nice touch is the implication that the family was more prepared to deal with this inexplicable event than most as a result of the eldest daughter Regan (Wonderstruck‘s Millicent Simmonds) being deaf. Being ASL fluent sure don’t hurt in this critter-infested wasteland. Regan and her father have some unresolved issues concerning the guilt she still feels for the events of the aforementioned opening scene. Her sorrowed expressions throughout are devastatingly well-played.
Because A Quiet Place is so purposely reclusive in its point of view, it does not provide many of the answers some might desire in their viewing experience. Aside from brief shots of newspapers (“It’s sound!” reads one hilariously on-point headline), we don’t come to know the impetus for the attack or how far spread it is. Dad often hunkers in their basement, hopelessly scrawling on whiteboards and poring over surveillance cameras for an answer. After all, isn’t that baby due any minute now?
Then, of course, there are the sillier questions one must ask: What if you have to sneeze? If the waterfall Dad takes Marcus to really does provide an opportunity to speak, why don’t they spend their summers there, living it up? Why would Mom and Dad knowingly bring another baby into this world when they haven’t even tried out their homemade sound proofing yet?
Ultimately, though, who cares that the CGI is iffy and the ending a little too pat? John Krasinski has given us a one-of-a-kind thrill ride and I can’t wait to re-board it.
Bonus anecdote: given that the movie is primarily visual or close-captioned, I was impressed at how quiet our screening of it was. That is, until a particularly startling image appeared on screen and a woman from the back of the theater matter-of-factly exclaimed “Ah, hell no!” Hell no indeed, ma’am. Hell no indeed.