All works of movie-making demand attention, but John Krasinski’s horror film A Quiet Place takes that truism to a whole new level. It is almost void of dialogue one must pay attention to every detail unfolding in the screen. The characters do not speak for almost 90% of the movie. Yet, in the hands of Krasinski, who does not only direct the film but also co-writes it and stars in it with real-life spouse Emily Blunt, the tension is cranked several notches up with the simplest of things: stairs, corn kernels, nail, some objects you wouldn’t expect.
The story is set in a not-too-distant future wherein the entire population has dwindled to a couple few and the world is infested with blind homicidal creatures gifted with exceptional hearing. The slightest sound sets them off in a murderous rampage. It is never explained where these monsters come from, but what it known is that an incident with one of these has left the Abott family traumatized. Lee (Krasinski), Evelyn (Blunt), and their children have managed to survive, thanks to their familiarity with silence. The eldest child Regan is deaf (played astoundingly by Millicent Simmonds who is a deaf American actress), thus, the family communicates in sign language way before the dystopia began.
Even if the Abotts live a secluded life now heavily constrained by rules—never speak a word, do not use plates and utensils, only walk on sand paths to dampen any sound—some things are just bound to happen, like in most horror movies. But A Quiet Place is not just a horror movie. Although the premise could easily be in a Shyamalan film, the whole setup is saved from ludicrousness for being wise instead of simply being clever and for having wisdom instead of having gimmicks. There is more to tell but to divulge any further information might lessen the impact of that brilliant, flawless ending.
The movie’s near total absence of sound is oppressive like it is a character in itself that heightens all the other sensations. The dripping water goes in cadence with your racing heartbeat and the creaking floor weighs on you like a ton. Basically every scene just rattles your nerves. The accomplishment of combining spare dialogue with high suspense speaks to the genius of Krasinski’s solid vision and craft. It helps that he has a team of actors and film professionals who is up to the demands of this crazy idea.
It is not difficult to see A Quiet Place as a mirror to our current reality. Each day there’s the confusion that tries to rob our logical reasoning, the unspeakable horrors shrugged by many as ordinary. In fact, the creatures must be an embodiment of incessant noise that invades our waking moments—political conflicts, fake news, never ending acts of prejudice and hate. And if that is the case, obviously, a quiet place is what we all need
[ photo borrowed from this site ].