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March 25, 2020

A Quiet Place (2018) --- “If They Hear You, They Hunt You. Silence Is Survival”


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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     In the not too distant future, Earth has been overrun by mysterious and extremely dangerous extraterrestrial creatures with ultra-sensitive hearing. Two parents (John Krasinski & Emily Blunt) struggle to survive in a desolate New York City in a new era of utter silence. Since this new enemy is attracted to sound, even the slightest of sounds, like a whisper, can be deadly. It’s been 12 months since the invasion and while an otherwise joyous event is threatening already frail stability, this resilient family is still going strong. The rules to surviving this muted dystopia are simple: No matter what, don’t ever make a sound. Directed by John Krasinski (A Quiet Place Part II), co-written alongside Bryan Woods (A Quiet Place Part II, Haunt) and Scott Beck (A Quiet Place Part II, Haunt), A Quiet Place (2018) is a highly original sci-fi horror thriller that is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. 
     Most great horror films have achieved greatness because they make the audience become actively invested in the fate of the characters and involved in the events that are playing out before us. Rather than being a passive observer in an unfolding horror flick, A Quiet Place is designed to make audiences an active participant in a game of tension. It is a tight thrill ride that quickens the heart rate and plays to the audiences’ expectations while at the same time never treating us like idiots. Very early one we learn that sound is dangerous in this new world and that danger is intensified with the film’s opening 10 minutes. The rest of the film takes place nearly a year after that tragedy and now the unnamed family is preparing for the arrival of a newborn baby in a world where noise is deadly. Director Krasinski knows the kind of monster it takes to make a successful monster film and here he is smart in how he regularly and unexpectedly sets up auditory expectations and yet he manages to not overplay his hand. This is a world where sound is deadly and the story is told in a very subtle, no-nonsense, and clever way to build tension and pull the audience into this world, encouraging us to experience what the characters experience. A Quiet Place is definitely the kind of film where less is more and no audible dialogue conveys an entire conversation.
     Since we live in a world where we use noise to express ourselves it's hard to imagine that constant sound being taken away. Noise is such a big part of who we are as humans and the film uses it in a way that charts new ground for horror survival films. There are times when the silence becomes claustrophobic and feeds into the growing tension by amplifying the impact of even the faintest of sounds. In place of no audio dialogue, the characters communicate through American Sign Language which helps add a layer of the importance of silence. And since there is almost no dialogue, the film relies heavily on its visual storytelling, especially when it comes to the aliens. Taking a page out of Ridley Scott’s 1979 template, Krasinski mostly avoids long, lingering shots of the creatures choosing instead to only focus on fleeting glimpses of them here and there until the ultimate final scene. In addition, Marco Beltrami’s (A Quiet Place II, Underwater) musical score is understated by utilizing only a slight emphasis on certain scenes without ruining the carefully controlled sound design and editing. 
     The film takes time to establish the Abbott family throughout the course of the film. John Krasinki became famous on the American version of The Office for being able to express a myriad of thoughts and feelings with just a simple look at the camera. Here he puts his skills to use but in a more dramatic context as Lee Abbott. He describes his character as being a survivalist whose main focus is getting his family through each day alive and possibly finding a solution to fighting back. His real-life wife Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place Part II) portrays his character’s wife, Evelyn Abbott. She gives an equally strong performance where she sensitively raises her children to be fully-formed and fully thinking people, and all while preparing to give birth in a world where a baby’s cry could be deadly. Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck) and Noah Jupe (Suburbicon, Wonder) are great and compelling as the children Regan and Marcus, especially Simmonds whose real-life deafness adds to the authenticity of her performance.
     Overall, A Quiet Place (2018) is a gripping, compelling, and expertly made a film that is unlike anything I have seen before. The film demands you to watch it silently as every piece is calibrated for maximum tension. The acting is incredible and solid throughout especially since there is no audio dialogue between the characters. If you a fan of films like Netflix’s Bird Box (2018) or just simply Jim from The Office then I highly recommend that you check out this film.

Final Vote --- 9 of 10 stars

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