Review: A Quiet Place (2018)
A Quiet Place: Does John Krasinski's suspenseful monster movie silence any doubts of his greatness?
This is John Krasinski's third outing as a director and first foray into horror. Receiving much praise for it's depiction of a nuclear family surviving in a new, silent world, it stands as proof that former 'The Office' lovable funny man has range and is more than happy to step out of his comfort zone. With a raw and emotional performance from Emily Blunt and Krasinski himself we're invited into a dangerous and almost hopeless apocalypse where the slightest whimper can be your last.
A Quiet Place
John Krasinski's 'A Quiet Place' has already made waves in the minds of horror fans, depicting a bleak and silent world where humans are hunted by sightless monsters whose only sense is hearing. Directing and starring alongside his real world wife, Emily Blunt, Krasinski creates a dangerous world where the only valid language is sign language, footsteps are deadly and childrens toys are as dangerous as a loaded gun.
Do you blame her? For what happened?
- Marcus Abbott.
After a tragic prologue, a difficult year passes in the lives of the Abbott family. A family who live in total silence, under strict rules to never speak or make a sound or even mourn properly. Lee Abott (John Krasinski) is a practical, intelligent and resourceful father and protector of his family of four. Dedicated and stoic, his fairness and loving nature somewhat suppressed by his need to be firm and dutiful; his every waking moment is focused on the safety and preservation of his family. He scavenges, fishes, crafts and when he is not doing this he may be found in his basement - a kind of doomsday bunker, where he attempts to make contact with others through morse code and theorises the weaknesses of the creatures that prowl and hunt outside.
His daughter; Reagan (Millicent Simmonds), is deaf, granting herself and her family an advantage - sign language, their only language. Often frustrated by the additional protection she receives due to her disability and her desire to contribute to a higher degree, Reagan leads a more solitary life than the rest of her family, struggling to cope with her feeling of guilt over tragic events which occurred a year earlier. This is driving a wedge between them throughout the film as Reagan mistakes her families concern for distrust. Her little brother Marcus (Noah Jupe), will one day be the protector of the family when Lee no longer has the faculty to do so and is gradually being taught by his father how to carry on the work. The responsibility on this young boy weighs heavily and he fears the things that lurk in the woods and wishes he and his sister could have a normal childhood. Emily Blunt's Evelyn Abbott is the primary caregiver of the family, teaching the children, managing the food supplies and preparing for their new arrival; yes, a baby. As if life wasn't hard enough for the Abbott's, what should be a joyous future event is actually a danger that must be prepared for with military precision and care. As the birth draws ever closer, the loving mother Evelyn is pushed to her mental, emotional and physical limits, never illustrated better than during her untimely labour, a scene which will go down in infamy for it's suspense and a stellar performance by Emily Blunt.
Father, Lee and son, Marcus during a close encounter.
A Quiet Place
I can still feel the weight in my arms. Small but so heavy.
- Evelyn Abbott.
Silence is deadly.
The Abbott homestead and surrounding area is an intricate array of simple, yet effective noise prevention protocols. Sand is laid along every path which is to be walked on barefoot, stable floor boards are highlighted with paint, even monopoly pieces are replaced with fluffy trinkets and Christmas lights are hung all around to act as a warning system. Even with all these measures in place there is nearly always a sense of fear hanging in the air as the slightest bangs and clatter could bring the carnivorous creatures screeching to their home.
A scene sure to go down in infamy.
The harsh reality.
This is a film built around the idea of grief, how it is processed, expressed and finally relinquished. Each family member carries with them a separate experience of the tragedy that befell them which acts as a weight tied to them. Without the proper opportunity to verbalise these feelings this grief festers and forms a dangerous divide in the family. These relationship dynamics form the backbone of the movie. The entire family have the same desire for a normal life. Lee and Evelyn want nothing more than to give their children a safe and innocent childhood but know in their heart of hearts that with flesh eating monsters triggered by sound ever present it is impossible and so do their best by creating as perfectly as possible a sound-tight world of comfort and protection. Only fleeting moments to express their grief present themselves to the family as the creatures close in to their haven, with the second half of the film ramping up into a literal fight for survival. Despite some generous early visuals of the creatures (slightly too much for a film built around stark suspense) the film remains captivating, it's the tiniest whines and winces that fill the silence that put us on the edge of our seats and keep us nailed there right till the credits roll.
© 2020 Joe Reynolds