With the sequel, A Quiet Place Part II, being released next weekend, I figured I’d revisit where it all started…
(Slight Spoiler Warning)
Set in a post-apocalyptic world where making a sound can get you killed, A Quiet Place is about a family who not only must navigate survival in an unforgiving environment, but the growing pains of being a family too.
A Quiet Place is one of the most iconic horror films of the last decade. It made $340 million at the box office, and inspired Netflix to produce a Sandra Bullock rip off. Upon its release, the film’s genuine characters, impactful monsters, and clever scares all made for a refreshing change of pace in a genre that can all too quickly become muddled with movies that are carbon copies of themselves.
What makes A Quiet Place special is how it takes one of the tensest moments in cinema, instances where our protagonists must remain silent as to not be caught by whatever is chasing them, and under the shrewd direction of John Krasinski, stretches it across a 90-minute runtime. In one of the most surprising and heartbreaking introductions to a film, A Quiet Place instantly sets the stakes and steals our breath; the movie demonstrates no one is safe – not even children. The film never lets up from its heart-stopping opening, as the Abbott family is consistently thrown in and out of distress.
I also found A Quiet Place’s exploration of what it would be like to survive in such a world to be interesting. The Abbott family utilizes several nifty techniques such as laying sand where they walk to soften their footsteps or using cotton balls as monopoly pieces, and it’s in these details the film is able to do a lot of world building with minimal exposition.
What I love most about A Quiet Place is how it engages with the viewer. I remember my experience watching this film in theaters, being absorbed in the deafening silence of a relatively full crowd – not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Even the quietest of sounds had become loud; I remember having a panic attack half-way through the film when my stomach began to growl. The film, in its lack of noise, forces the viewer to replicate that volume level and in doing so, produces a wholly unique experience.
John Krasinski and the child actors, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, are all great but most spectacular is Emily Blunt…who can do no wrong. She layers her character with the compassion and strength of a mother who will stop at nothing to protect her cubs and flourishes in scenes that are excruciating to watch, such as when she hides in a bathtub and goes into labor with one of the creatures breathing down her neck. Blunt gives a true tour de force performance.
A Quiet Place is not only a testament of how far a simple premise can go when under the guise of smart direction, but also the impact sound, or the lack thereof, can have on a film. 9/10