“A Quiet Place” combines the genres of horror, drama and science fiction to deliver an unforgettable, gripping cinematic experience from start to finish.
Although it is predominantly classified as a horror movie, at its heart, it tells a melodramatic story of the strong love in familial bonds, with touching themes of strength and sacrifice.
The movie strays far away from general modern-day horror tropes, evident through the title and the basic premise of the movie.
“A Quiet Place” takes place about three years from now, in a future in which the world has been overrun by alien creatures that hunt by sound. Humanity seems to be completely wiped out, with the exception of a few surviving isolated patches. One family of four struggles to survive in the quiet world.
Typically, in horror movies when things get very quiet, it means a jump scare is coming and the viewer sits in suspense. As this film is mostly silent in its entirety, this effect lasts the entire time.
In a world that cannot stop talking, the eerie silence persisting throughout the film is extremely uncomfortable for the viewer, while also making the scenes in which the creatures appear all the more unsettling and terrifying.
The film completely immerses the viewer within the world of its characters. During moments of suspense, the viewer will feel their nerves running high. This effect is completed through characterization and sound editing.
Forced to live in silence, the family must communicate using sign language. The daughter Regan is played by the excellent Millicent Simmonds, who is deaf. Her hearing aid becomes a vital part of the plot, as she discovers it is a weakness of the creatures.
The young actress shows incredible depth and understanding in portraying her character. The challenges and love in the dynamic of a father-daughter relationship play out before the audience and the viewer cannot help but attach a place in their hearts for the characters and yearn for their safety.
By silencing verbal speech, sounds such as the rustling of the cornfield, creaks of floorboards, footsteps and ringing of Regan’s hearing aid are intensified so that the audience is forced to feel the terror playing on screen.
The family must communicate through sign language and facial expressions, which reveals characteristic traits while further showcasing the brilliant acting abilities of the cast.
The father (John Krasinski) uses short and deliberate signals. The viewer can see the sense of urgency and fear in his eyes. His only concern in life is keeping his family safe.
On the other hand, the mother (Emily Blunt) wishes to see her children live a full life despite their current situation; therefore, her hand motions are more flowing and poetic, while the sympathy and the longing she feels for her children to live complete lives is evident in her eyes and facial expression.
The movie is the epitome of the golden rule of screenwriting: show, don’t tell. Character traits are revealed through facial expression and the choices the characters make under pressure.
While the movie elicits obvious fear of the creatures, the family dynamic also drives home the fear of helplessness when one cannot protect their family. In one of the few lines of spoken dialogues in a moment of intense emotion, the mother says, “Who are we if we can’t protect them?”
The fact that Krasinski and Blunt are husband and wife in real life with two daughters further emphasizes the theme of family. Krasinski describes the film as a personal film and love letter to his kids.
As the movie is only the third film that Krasinski has directed, “A Quiet Place” promises a bright future for the actor, producer and writer best known for his role as Jim Halpert on “The Office.”
The film serves as a metaphor for family and the painful decisions and sacrifices parents must make to protect their children. In a world that is in shambles, all the family has to hold on to is the love they have for each other. Despite the depressing reality for humanity, the family unit is set on living and thriving together.
“A Quiet Place” is a 10 out of 10.
With its stellar storyline, cast, use of sound and characterization, “A Quiet Place” provides a truly unique and terrifying, yet deeply touching and enthralling viewing experience.