“A Quiet Place” is directed by John Krasinski and it’s set in a post-apocalyptic Earth that’s now run by alien beings with ultra-sensitive hearing. Humans have to resort to being as silent as possible in trying to survive and the movie follows a family lead by Krasinski and his wife in both the film and real life, Emily Blunt, in their efforts to survive with their children.
John Krasinski has some directing credit that I’m not currently familiar with, but I have heard good things about what he’s able to do behind the camera. Also, I was very intrigued by the trailers for this film. Silence dominated virtually every single frame and I could tell that this was going to be a different type of movie, but it remained to be seen if it’s unique way of storytelling would harm or help the film. Then it started to receive rave reviews and it instantly became a movie on my radar. I saw it last night with a surprisingly restrained and respectful audience who didn’t ruin the atmosphere and it made the overall experience more enjoyable.
A very large majority of the film is silence as you watch this family trying to go about their lives in the most quiet way possible. John Krasinski does a great job in establishing the current situation on a large scale as the movie instantly starts out in them middle of this alien invasion, but he’s also great at setting up a simple scenario between the family and creating tension as they do everything in their power to stay quiet. The sound design really helps as well, something as simple as a crunch of a leaf or the shatter of a glass delivering a massive wave of anxiety that makes you genuinely fear for these characters. The movie is tense all the way through and I can’t remember the last time I felt so anxious watching a film unfold.
The fact that Krasinski and Blunt are married in real life really helps in their onscreen chemistry and they both deliver excellent performances. They have some genuinely emotional and heartfelt scenes together, but by themselves they also do a good job. Sometimes with a performance, the one thing that can sell it is a simple expression. There are moments in this movie when a mere look of fear and panic is the only thing that the actors can express and it’s more terrifying than any loud yell or dramatic bit of dialogue. The two leads are a big part of why this premise works, but the child actors deserve credit as well.
Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe are the two actors portraying the children of this family and I have to give major props to them. Simmonds plays a deaf character and her being deaf in real life certainly helps in the realism of a deaf character, but there’s some serious emotion that builds in her character, it being expresses perfectly by the young actress. Jupe is also very good, playing a son who’s out of his element just as much as any other character, but he makes for an especially good surrogate character who’s arguably the most terrified person in the entire film, that same terror being felt by the audience.
The movie isn’t all just aliens attacking people while they hide and try to remain silent. Yes, there’s some truly intense, nail-biting moments that left me on the edge of my seat, but there’s also a good story surrounding the characters. I won’t delve into too much detail, but these are real characters who have their own burdens in this situation. This is especially felt when the movie focuses on the daughter and it serves as a nice reminder that the best horror/thriller movies are the ones that put characters first.
If I have one criticism aimed at the movie, it’s the ending, and I mean the very ending. As a whole, it feels rushed and it even comes off as if Krasinski and crew didn’t have an actual ending planned, so they just filmed one quick shot and called it a day. Admittedly, the ending isn’t as bad when it’s given time to marinade. It’s been almost a full 24 hours since I first saw this movie and my initial feeling of “That’s it?” for the ending has alleviated a bit, but it’s worth noting that this movie’s end will rub some people the wrong way.
Overall, I was very impressed with “A Quiet Place”. It’s well acted, suspenseful, and there’s an actual story with characters that feel real and serve as nice emotional anchors in this post-apocalypse of a world. We saw last year with “Get Out” that actors known mostly for comedy can direct genuinely great horror films and it’s a trend that I’d like to see continue now that Krasinski has seemed to solidify it.
Rating: Full Price!