Best seen in a quiet place.
Synopsis: In the modern horror thriller A QUIET PLACE, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threaten their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you. (Paramount Pictures)
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, and Millicent Simmonds
Writers: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski
Director: John Krasinski
Rating: 14A (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 90mins
For showtimes and more, check out A Quiet Place on movietimes.com.
Even without watching any of the trailers, it’s pretty easy to figure out the premise of the film which was sound or the lack thereof. The film uses sound in an inventive way, creating a palpable sense of tension throughout. Mysterious creatures that hunt by sound have terrorized a desolate New York countryside some time in the near future, leaving a family of four struggling to survive.
Because sound played a large role in the story, there would be large stretches without dialog with characters communicating via sign language to not alert the monsters. The film fails to explain how the monsters arrived or the extent of their destruction, offering a snapshot of the situation from the perspective of the Abbott family, Evelyn (Blunt), Lee (Krasinski), Regan (Simmonds), and Marcus (Noah Jupe). They were just trying to survive but it wasn’t easy as we were just left waiting until one of them would trip up and alert one of the monsters. This was suspenseful to watch as the film showed us the consequence of this early on.
To the film’s credit, the use of sound contrasted with the lack of sound added power to the film’s many jump scares. Just hearing the sound of the monsters nearby was just as effective as seeing the monsters up close. The monsters did make an appearance later on but they did not look nearly as menacing as they sounded. The excellent score nicely filled in gaps within the story, conveying emotion and acting like another character in the film. The film also looked as good as it sounded with some great camerawork and cinematography.
Despite the lack of dialog, the film did a terrific job at making us care for these characters and to want them to survive. Instead of using their words, there was plenty of emotion to be had between the characters. While the story was compelling to watch, the lack of dialog may leave some bored but the end of the film more than made up for it, albeit the end may disappoint some as well. A few plot holes are also hard to ignore. Either way, it’s a relatively short film, clocking in at 90 minutes, so it’ll be over before you know it. The other side of that is that it’s done way too quickly.
The acting was exceptional across the board. It certainly isn’t easy to act in a film with little dialog so where they couldn’t use their words, they used their many emotions and body language which were easier to hone in on. Blunt and Krasinski were great as the caring parents and Simmonds and Jupe were equally as great as the kids. Simmonds stood out here as a deaf actress, continuing her great start to her career, by giving the best emotional performance, especially since her character couldn’t hear what was coming.
Overall, this was a great, well-written, well-directed, and well-acted horror thriller with an original premise that utilizes sound to create an immersive and suspenseful experience within a simple yet compelling story that finds the right balance between emotion and horror. Also, there are just a few too many hard to ignore plot holes that will take some people out of the experience.