A Quiet Place (2018)
One thing that never fails in literature and films is when someone has an idea that proves to be very popular and suddenly a similar premise pops up in other books and films around the same time. The Hunger Games is a recent example with other books and films such as The Maze Runner following soon after. As the audience we consume these great new ideas and find ourselves desperate for more. In approaching John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place I find myself on a similar journey to what I’ve had before. I have previously watched Bird Box and The Silence on Netflix and both are in a similar vein to A Quiet Place, but it is this film that was critically acclaimed. Naturally, I was anxious to find out why.
The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world where alien creatures roam the land. They are blind but have an amazing sense of hearing so the slightest sound they can detect and rush in to kill their unsuspecting prey. Consequently, the world population – and indeed the animal kingdom – has seemingly been vastly reduced and people can now only survive by living in silence, not just in words, but in movements and general interaction with the world. We focus on one family – parents Lee and Evelyn, and their children, Regan and Marcus. A third child, Beau, has sadly been killed by the aliens, the memory of his passing haunting those left behind. We watch as the family struggle for survival, wandering into local towns for supplies, before taking refuge in their remote home in the countryside. With daughter, Regan, being deaf, the family have learned to communicate with sign language, rather than words, but they know one mistake could be fatal. Their concerns are not helped by the fact that Evelyn is heavily pregnant and naturally worried about giving birth. After all, any woman would be forgiven for not doing this quietly.
The premise here is similar to The Silence which would appear in 2019 but is actually based on a 2015 horror novel. That film also had creatures that hunted via noise, whereas Bird Box concerned a threat that people had to blindfold themselves from to stay safe. You can sort of see the similarities across all three films released within a year of one another. A Quiet Place manages to outclass the other two films and there are various reasons for this. By focusing on just one family we have a very intimate portrait, a group of characters haunted by the death of Beau and living their lives on eggshells. We have more time to care about them and want them to be safe. The film is aided by some excellent acting, especially Emily Blunt, where the actors here utter barely a word. Instead, their facial expressions and body language have to convey their emotions and they each accomplish this very well. John Krasinki’s careful pacing really adds to the experience; he also stars in the film as Lee so is not shy about multi-tasking. For me, the film is not jump out of your seat scary but it is often very tense and unpredictable with fine margins dictating this young family’s existence, the slightest lapse threatening to be just around the corner. That in itself is a nightmare. I’m kind of sorry I saw the other films mentioned first as they may have diminished A Quiet Place for me slightly. Talk of an upcoming sequel raises alarm bells with me also. This is an effective enough horror film on its own.
Verdict: Not overly scary but still a well-acted and incredibly tense horror flick.