Horror movies, for the most part, rely on a gimmick. For example, a monster who kills you in your dreams or being trapped inside a blind psychopath’s house. A Quiet Place, the low-key horror movie directed and starring John Krasinski, has creatures in it who hunt by sound. The resulting movie is a tense, terrifying film that weaves a heartfelt story of a family into an exceedingly efficient and excellent movie.
An invasion of Aliens who hunt by sound forces a family to live in virtual silence to survive. The impending arrival of a baby and the legacy of tragedy makes life even more complicated.
You can pretty much guess the type of movie that A Quiet Place is from the trailer. It evokes a wonderful roller coaster of thrills and scares. It’s the ratcheting tension of someone being hunted constantly. What makes A Quiet Place stands out from a crowded genre of scary movies is the conceit of living in almost complete silence. It means that every scene is unbearably tense because of the potential of making noise that will alert the monster who wait just beyond sight. It unironically makes for a quiet film where the breeze or the slightest snap of a branch or creak of a floorboard echoes for miles and are to punctuated by the brutally loud interruption of the creature arriving.
For a film that has only a brief running time, it has a surprisingly well-developed world too. There are so many little touches that explain the way they live. Things like sign language, paths of sands and marked floorboards are just some of the little clever things that make up their world. The background of this family is told in a single scene on ‘Day 89’ of the invasion and the actual invasion is seen through newspaper articles and a whiteboard of theories about how they function. Some might call it underdeveloped and in some sense you never the know the name of any of the characters but you have everything you need for the purposes of the story without having wasted time on a scene explaining everything.
Yet despite all the scares, A Quiet Place is best described as a heartfelt story of a family dealing with tragedy. It’s the tragedy of a dying humanity but also far more personal. Without many words, this is demonstrated by strong performances by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt who real-life chemistry translates well onto the screen. A cast of younger actors complements them in a convincing ways.
A Quiet Place is committed as much as possible to the premise of silence but at times it requires the audience to suspend disbelief. Questions of where does all this sand come from or why does a baby only cry when the movies want it to for purposes of tension? These aren’t always glaring problems as the movie doesn’t exactly give one time to ponder. But there are quite a few things to nitpick at that undermine what is an otherwise solid film. You can also kind of see the ending a mile off too.
A Quiet Place Review Cheat Sheet
A Quiet Place is an entertaining and tense horror film with a big heart at its core. Its commitment to monsters hunting by sound is largely an asset in creating a fascinating film but does stretch its plausibility at times. Still for great scares and clever filmmaking you can’t go past this one.
+ The premise and the world of silence is brilliantly realised.
+ Solid performances throughout lend credibility to a touching story.
+Lots of scares and a delicious underlying tension.
-Suspension of disbelief is required sometimes.
-The ending is a little predictable.