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‘A Quiet Place’ is not something to tip-toe around

‘A Quiet Place’ is not something to tip-toe around

‘A Quiet Place’ is not something to tip-toe around
April 15
03:27 2018

“A Quiet Place” is the type of movie you expect to be a pretty standard affair but somehow defies all possible expectations in less than two hours.

Helmed by John Krasinski, who has produced other excellent films like “Manchester by the Sea” but lacks experience in the director’s chair, “A Quiet Place” is a genuinely terrifying horror movie, a panic inducing thriller and a potently thoughtful drama. Although he juggles these genres throughout the film, each concept and theme is fully realized, and it culminates in a superb effort.

It might be early to even start the conversation, but this film is worthy of an Oscar nomination.

Lee Abbot (John Krasinski) and his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) are survivors. The planet has been overrun (presumably) by a terrifying species of monsters who are extremely sensitive to sound.

The couple guides their children through their daily activities, teaching them to be silent and to exist and function in this dangerous world. Evelyn, who goes into labor while Lee and their son are out checking traps, becomes a target as something has drawn several monsters to their home.

Sound plays a key theme in the movie, representing both danger and safety equally. In doing so, Krasinski manages to make the moments where being quiet is key, with dread and fear in anticipation for what could possibly happen next. In the same breath, he elicits comfort and safety as two protagonists sit under a waterfall, free to speak at normal registers, due to the loud nature of where they are. These moments of asylum are so rare and thus create pockets of relief from the intensity.

This masterful command of this central plot point kept me on the edge of my seat in almost every scene, and the decision to have most of the movie shot without speech strips the characters of their ability to create meaningful personalities verbally that would otherwise dictate who is safe and who isn’t.

It’s then up to the audience to interpret who is really in danger. This clever trick means that no one ever really is.

The cast is undeniably loveable through their many melancholy expressions and the way their few lines are delivered. It’s not as if there was no script, however — it’s the verbal minimalism approach that reinforces the themes and dangers surrounding sound, creating a cohesive package that leaves every directorial decision feeling thoughtfully placed.

In addition to a lack of being able to speak regularly, Krasinski uses many other devices to establish this world: newspaper clippings about the invasion, the way all survivors communicate via bonfires, Lee and Evelyn’s use of lights throughout their home to communicate danger and the careful placement of sand to muffle footsteps.

These are all subtle things that exist in their world without needing to be explained. It’s a somber atmosphere that carries both a feeling of defeat and constant fear, and these plot devices represent their resourcefulness in order to escape death and live on.

What’s more is their desire to raise children despite living in this hopeless world. Evelyn is pregnant, and despite the risk a baby poses to their safety, they will not give up on humanity.

Krasinski dedicated this to movie to his children, so this leads me to believe “A Quiet Place” could possibly be a more intimate way of expressing his devotion to family through art. 

The score here carries much of the emotional weight throughout the movie as well. It balances suspenseful violin plucks with somber pianos and cellos perfectly conveying the suffering the cast endures. It is possibly the best thing about the movie because it never lets up. There is constantly a feeling of emptiness from these characters caused by a traumatic moment early in the movie, and the music draws out these emotions perfectly.

The only problem I had with the movie was its liberal use of jump scares.

There were countless moments where Krasinski seemed to have a captivating grasp on true horror and terror, so it was all the more disappointing when he dropped in a cheap thrill in between those masterful horror moments. However, this is a small problem when compared to the collective aspects of the movie.

It’s not often you see an actor who can transcend all expectations. While Krasinski has always been solid in whatever role I have seen him in, he’s never really stood out to me. He’s somewhat of a typecast actor who’s always seemed to be relegated to a few rom-coms and TV shows.

Similarly to Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” the ambition shown in “A Quiet Place” displays the unexpected potential Krasinski has as a director and what an inventive mind can accomplish when Hollywood allows one to spread their wings and get a little more creative.

My rating: 4.5/5

Featured image: A Quiet Place Facebook 

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Zach Helms

Zach Helms

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