Joke #97591 about Dwight taking his prank on Jim way too seriously. In the very near future, the world has fallen to some mysterious cataclysmic event. In its wake, it has left many dead bodies and frightening, nameless, and sightless creatures who stalk prey through sound.
The Abbott family—father Lee (John Krasinski), pregnant mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt), daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and son Marcus (Noah Jupe) have managed to live among these extraterrestrials in the countryside, taking any and all precautions from sign language to lettuce plates to minimize noise while a solution to defeat these beings hasn’t manifested But as the expected due date rapidly draws near, being silent is unavoidable. The Abbotts are quickly drawn into a fight for survival.
They’re not perfect comparisons nor should they be compared, but, it is kind of impossible not to see similarities between Get Out and A Quiet Place. Both on pretty minuscule budgets took the box office by storm in their first weeks with no indication of slowing down. Both feature traditionally comedic actors who while not first-time directors, have made their names in front of the camera rather than behind it. Both are immersive horror films. And yet—if we’re comparing—A Quiet Place is the antithesis of Get Out in many ways.
Whereas Peele’s feature encouraged and even demanded immersion through verbal audience interaction with the events on screen, Krasinski’s commands immersion through complete silence. To whisper, to eat, to even go to the restroom during this is to commit a sin of the highest regard that breaks that hook and spits in the face of what the director and the writing team have pulled off. For 90 minutes of runtime, Krasinski vision is methodical and compact, taking some inspiration from movies and media of yesteryear in Signs, Alien, War of the Worlds, and even Fallout but never bogging down A Quiet Place with too much backstory. This isn’t that type of movie. Sure, it’s tempting to wonder how exactly this post-apocalyptic world came to be, but that unanswered question allows for more immersion and legitimate tension, if nothing else. Krasinski also follows the golden rule of monster movie reveals: Less is more. Paired with the adept camerawork and composer Marco Beltrami’s tight score, it’s more than enough.
Less is more goes for the script as well written by Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and Krasinski. Though not without the occasional holes in logic (more so on the world than anything the characters do), their story being so trim and effective doesn’t call massive attention to them. This is a lean monster movie that isn’t concerned with making any grand statements or metaphors.
However, it does possess substantial character moments and builds to a sobering one in the climax, and there is one heady question that is alluded to without explicitly saying so. Just why would anyone want to bring up children in a dilapidated world? There isn’t one specific answer to this, but one can imagine it comes back to our basic human needs/desires to communicate with and love people and share our bad times and our good times with as many close ones as possible. Life, particularly like the one depicted in A Quiet Place, may not be worth living and going on without some family bond, no matter how dire things might be.
Of course, it makes it easier to buy into that silver screen bond when silver screen husband and wife are real life husband and wife as Krasinski and Blunt are. John, from his many legendary nonverbal moments on The Office, taps into that well to deliver drama, while Blunt shows again the natural charisma and ability to be an audience vessel. But the standouts might be the child actors in Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds, a beautiful performance from the latter for real life reasons widely known at this point. What everyone does so well in this movie is display the visible emotional distress that this doomsday scenario has on their way of life. These people look tired, even in small moments of happiness. Every step, every creak, every glance has the potential to be fatal and seeing this simply ratchets the tension up tenfold.
Big Tuna did it! Taking a rule of survival in the horror genre and expanding it into a full-length film may not be 100% original, but it’s hard to think much of it when the execution and overall presentation of A Quiet Place is so strong.
Photo credits go to screenrant.com, syracuse.com, and syfy.com
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