John Krasinski’s directorial-debut quickly puts him as one of the most intriguing upcoming directors currently working, as he directs himself, his real-life wife Emily Blunt and two very talented child actors, in this incredibly tense and original horror flick. Taking on a unique story that’s sure to spark an interest in any horror/thriller fan by its concept alone, and yet ‘A Quiet Place’ also manages to elevate itself over many other films within the horror genre through its attractive visuals and great sound design.
Plot Summary: In a post-apocalyptic world where noises can kill, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after terrifying creatures that hunt by sound threaten their very survival. But with a pregnant wife soon to give birth, now more than ever, the family must remain unheard…
Continuously throughout the runtime, ‘A Quiet Place’ builds on the concept of its story perfectly, focusing on the various ways the family has adjusted to their new way of silent life. As everything from the family not using cutlery anymore, to the children using pieces of cotton pieces rather than wooden pieces for a board game, to even having the father place down paths of sand everywhere the family walks, all displaying the clear understanding John Krasinski has for this fleshed-out world. Of course, with an idea such as this one, many of the film’s scenes can be nitpicked in small ways, but with a plot as unique and as engaging as this one is, I personally don’t feel these tiny issues take much away from the general experience.
Emily Blunt and John Krasinski both give amazing performances as ‘Evelyn’ and ‘Lee Abbott,’ with Emily Blunt being the true stand-out of the cast, mostly due to her intense performance during one of the film’s most memorable scenes. In which, ‘Evelyn’ attempts to stay quiet whilst going through the agonising pain of child birth, all the while one of the creatures stalks the nearby area. The two children within the film are also brilliant, being portrayed by Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. Millicent Simmonds’ character: ‘Regan’ is deaf, similar to the actress herself in real-life, which actually benefitted the rest of the cast enormously with helping them learn sign language, as there is actually very little dialogue spoken throughout the film due to the family’s restriction on making noise, so sign language is their main form of communication.
Charlotte Bruus Christensen handles the cinematography for: ‘A Quiet Place,’ and does so extremely well, as the gorgeous shots really compliment the beautiful yet eerie and isolated locations of this new post-apocalyptic world, with a majority of shots containing large amounts of movement alongside the bleak yet still appealing colour palette of the film, which surprisingly allows more colour than many other modern horrors that rely mostly on dark greys and blacks.
Throughout the narrative, the film’s tense atmosphere never dies, as Krasinski uses the fantasticly unsettling original score by Marco Beltrami as well as the effective sound design/sound editing to their best extent, resulting in a compelling watch for any audience member. As the film almost feels as if it’s placing its audience in the position of the protagonists, dreading even the slightest sound. However, as great as the tension building is, the film does have quite a heavy reliance on jump-scares, similar to most modern horrors today, which does sadly drag down the film with how frequent they soon become.
Despite not having an enormous amount of screen-time, the creatures within ‘A Quiet Place’ are also quite memorable. As from even their first appearance, the film’s monsters are always both incredibly menacing and enthralling. This is not only due to the tense atmosphere they create whenever on-screen, however, but also due to their otherworldly design, which actually shares many similarities to the inside of a human ear, which is obviously very suitable for creatures that hunt only by sound. Interestingly, John Krasinski actually portrayed some of the creatures himself whilst on set through motion-capture, if only for a few scenes.
To conclude, ‘A Quiet Place’ is surely one of my favourite films of 2018, as the film manages to take its audience through a tense yet still emotional story of parents attempting to protect their children in a newly dangerous world, all whilst featuring some visually pleasing cinematography and scenes brimming with tension whenever it can. The film even manages to contain a decent character-arc for a few of the family members, propelling the film even further forward over you’re standard horror flick, and although there is a bit of an over-reliance on jump-scares, as well as the odd narrative nitpick that stops the film from being flawless, ‘A Quiet Place’ is still an excellent choice for anyone looking for a gateway into this genre. Final Rating: 8/10.