A Quiet Place (2018)
Silence can be a tremendous gift. Living and working in a city filled with beeping busses, hammering construction sites, and shouting homeless, a bit of quiet time is valuable in keeping one’s head from exploding. In John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, silence may just replace the dark as the best atmospheric terror ripping through your self-conscious. Both eerie in it’s silence and unsettling in its sound, each step of the suspenseful horror film introduces every creek and shutter that can spell utter doom for the family in hiding.
After Krasinski’s last directorial effort The Hollars, a shaky drama most heavily hindered by his clunky progression as the good son, this follow up gave me worries of similar pratfalls, glorifying himself surrounded by characters serving individual scenes or aiding his superiority in the cast. A Quiet Place allows the damage of a shredded family reveal through their silent raging. Millicent Simmonds, a young deaf actress already stealing hearts in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, as the soundless daughter living in an aurally phobic world, the moment where the sound disappears, rather than it’s usual muted survival mechanisms, allow a humanity behind the stressful 90 minutes you encounter.
Krasinski’s protective father is service to the plot, but it works with his position within the film. Having been the director, let alone the director directing Emily Blunt (aka his wife), his existence as a father trying to prepare his children, boy first, promotes an expectation of male survivability that immediately feels antiquated. As that is torn apart by Simmonds’ touching performance, filled with enough spirit to launch a rocket, and the son’s unease with his expectations in the family, the surviving generation must understand its changing roles. Noah Jupe, so good in Wonder and given a tricky role here, as the son knows the monsters are just a moment away, but Simmonds’ daughter has never known their shrieks. Experience plays a massive role, and this survival game is a maze of old floorboards and flapping leaves. Time is bound to catch up with you.
Emily Blunt, impossible to ignore, drowns in her silence. A pregnant and grieving mother, knowing her oncoming child with make a lot of sound, is anxiety embodied. Her every scene plays impeccably; her fear at the nightmare situation comes up close with the fear, and we get every grimacing fear. She is surrounded by close encounters of the disembowel-me-kind and no actress would have cringed quite as well. With a intricate, intriguingly crafted farm in which the family can cower and sound design rivaling combining the monster terrors of The Babadook and the character-in-itself mixing of Phantom Thread, the movie becomes a day long smile at home on edge (in a good way) it makes you feel. A good time and a thoughtful film, A Quiet Place is a must see for horror and suspense fans alike; and it does fall more on suspense than horror. Scaredy cats may attend!