A Quiet Place (2018) Film Review

Silence has never been so frightening...


It is always interesting, given the preoccupation movies often have with colouring-in, to see a film succeed despite (and perhaps because of) a deliberate lack of concern for its backstory. A Quiet Place is perhaps the best example of such a film made in recent years.

This disregard is partially (though not wholly) necessitated by the film’s premise. Blind monsters, who rely entirely on their incredibly acute hearing to negotiate their surroundings, appear to have wiped out much of humanity. John Krasinski (who also directs) and Emily Blunt play the parents of a rare surviving family, who must live life in almost perfect silence to negate the threat of discovery. They communicate with their children through sign language, they walk barefoot in trails of sand that connect the corners of their farm, and they play board games with pieces modified so as to make no sound.

As alluded to above, this makes exposition somewhat challenging. Our knowledge of the world outside the slice of upstate New York in which this family live is limited to what we can glean from newspaper clippings and educated guesswork.

Another film might not have survived these limitations. A Quiet Place owns them beautifully.

The silence also poses difficulties in terms of character development. We know that Blunt and Krasinski play loving, resourceful and fiercely dedicated parents, but the near-total lack of dialogue makes it difficult to get to know them, or their children, much better than that.

Another film might not have survived these limitations. A Quiet Place owns them beautifully.

This film convinces you to get swept up in its premise, to ignore the occasional logical stretch and embrace the story as it unfolds before you. It owes its magnetism in no small part to Krasinski’s striking directorial flair. Sound, when it does feature, is used to devastating effect; in the context of overbearing silence, even the smallest of noises adds to the intensity.

Krasinski also draws out solid acting performances. Millicent Simmonds (as the daughter who suffers from congenital deafness) does a particularly laudable job of bringing emotion to bear with only physical expression, not something one would imagine is an easy task.

A Quiet Place is also not too pretentious to allow itself to be classed as a good old-fashioned horror. By the final act, we have wandered onto the better-trodden ground of the conventional monster movie. Unlike many movies that occupy this genre however, Krasinski’s effort is truly terrifying. We see enough of the creatures to appreciate the terror they inspire, but not so much that they are allowed to become unremarkable. They pull off the difficult trick of inspiring fear even while not onscreen, thus making the closing sequence unrelentingly tense.

A Quiet Place is released on DVD this week. If you didn’t see it in the cinema (and you have the mettle for it) it’s most definitely a worthwhile buy.

Director: John Krasinski
Stars: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
Runtime: 135 minutes
Country: 90 minutes

Film Rating: ★★★★☆

1 Comment
  1. Joe Bull says

    Can’t wait to check it out!

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