A Quiet Place [REVIEW]

Of all the genres, sound plays one of it's biggest roles in Horror. With A Quiet Place, writer/director/actor/Daddy John Krasinski uses sound or rather a lack of it, to create incredible tension.

For those of you not familiar with the stellar marketing campaign or the trailers, clips etc. The film is about a family living in seclusion while trying to avoid making any sounds, as they are being hunted by creatures that track their prey using sound.

This review is going to have some vague spoilers but I won't ruin things. However, if you prefer to go in completely fresh, get yourself to the theatre before reading beyond this point.

The film opens with very little in the way of set up, quickly getting the viewer up to speed by visual cues and the behavior of the family at the centre of the film. They communicate using sign language (which makes sense as they have a deaf daughter), they walk barefoot on pre-laid paths of sand, and every movement is careful and measured. The opening scenes get the viewer hooked into the story and the world building is top notch. The characters immediately feel like a family you want to root for.

The opening scenes also show us that this movie isn't fucking around. After a flashforward, we see that the family is still living if not thriving in this new world order. Emily Blunt's character is almost due with a baby, which helps ratchet the tension up throughout while also giving us some truly heart-wrenching moments in between the action. In particular, I absolutely loved the way they answered the question of how do you possibly keep a newborn from crying and alerting the creatures.

The film plays out over a very tense hour and a half, but at times I felt that it showed it's hand with some heavy foreshadowing. Introducing elements that tell the audience "remember this, it's gonna be important". As someone who lives for movies, especially horror, these beats can sometimes take away from a movie but the acting was so good that it didn't hurt the experience when they followed through on those winks to the audience.

Speaking of acting, everyone gives it 110 percent. Emily and John who are married in real life, make you believe they would do anything and everything to protect their kids. The moments of love and caring, contrasting with the violence and anguish really pull at your heartstrings. It was especially nice that they cast a hearing impaired actress to play the daughter. It gave a sense of authenticity which helped sell the crazier genre elements of the film.

In a lot of ways, this felt like it would play well as a double feature with M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, which the film definitely owes a debt to. However whereas Signs' deus ex machina was an out of nowhere reveal, this movie definitely hand feeds the audience a major part of the ending. But again, with top-notch acting, it didn't matter that I figured it out before it happened.

If there is one thing that keeps this movie as a great movie rather than an instant classic, it's the film's score. Yes, large portions of the film are almost silent, aside from the ambient noises of the character's lives. However during moments that are filled with tension, too often the score overwhelms.

And I get why the film wasn't done without any score. It was obviously a struggle for the audience I saw it with to keep quiet, and without any score, the general audience would never be able to sit in absolute silence for an hour and a half. As it is, 5 minutes into the start of the film (which was over 20 minutes after the listed showtime thanks to trailers) a group of young women came in and sat one seat down from me with one constantly checking her phone and another munching like a tiny hippo. My friend and I moved down the row and it solved that problem.

Even moved from distracting patrons, the theatre had some noise bleed issues during the silent portions of the film that made it seem like there was a radio on in the background. Going full art house and only allowing diegetic sound would have made it nearly impossible for the film to get a wide and successful release, let alone topping the box office. However, the film nerd in me holds out hope for a home video release with the option to watch without the score.

What did you think of A Quiet Place? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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