A Quiet Place is a sci-fi horror directed by John Krasinski who also stars along with his well-known spouse Emily Blunt, as the parents of the five-member Abbott family in a not so distant post-apocalyptic future, 2020 to be exact, where most of earth's population has been eradicated by a race of creatures of unknown origin. These creatures possess incredible super sonic hearing abilities, which they use to hunt their prey. However they are unable to see thus the remaining dwindling human numbers are having to learn to live in total silence for their survival.
The film begins with the family en-route back to their farm house after a foraging trip from an abandoned local convenient store; their youngest Beau (Cade Woodward) foolishly takes a toy plane, fills it with batteries, to unleash a cacophony of bleeps, and of course in a matter of nanoseconds is swiftly whisked away to his death. We know that Beau has definetly been killed, perhaps he is eaten? We never see…..but instead we are fast forwarded to a year later where the family is still mutely traumatized by the event. Obviously not enough, as bizarrely we find Evelyn (Blunt) in the late stages of pregnancy.
As if the killing of her youngest or the even the idea of bringing a child into such a world or even the simple fact of the sheer amount of decibels a birth would create, would that not deter them from having sex? like, ever? Perhaps the derelict convenient store had finally run out of condoms and to be fair what is a married couple supposed to do all the time in a world where they are not allowed to utter a word to each other or make a single peep? For the sake of argument, let’s just roll with it as this turn of events provides Krasinksi with the perfect excuse to construct an utterly gruesome albeit thoroughly gripping birth scene in the film's final stages, which I believe maybe a first for a scary movie.
Although its usual practice for horror to use sound effects for shock tactic, setting up the plot it such a way that sound or rather ‘no sound' becomes the central theme, is a masterful idea. It’s the continuous noise averting tip-toeing that is the catalyst to the film's numerous climactic tremors; making creeks, gasps and whimpers feel like ambulance sirens or the music from a toy aeroplane or a simple light bang of chair being knocked over feel like the end of the world… well it was for the poor boy!
As the story unfolds with various niose-making mishaps and inter-family tensions surfacing, the ubiquitous creatures start to get closer and closer, the new set of circumstances causes family members to split off. Eventually the eldest Regan (Millicent Simmonds) who is deaf, unbeknownst to her throws a life line. Her faulty hearing aid proves a godsend, as it taps into a frequency that renders the creatures helpless and thus making them easy to kill. Of course, the solution doesnt come until some major tragic events are inflicted on our protagonists and audiences are put through the mill beforehand.
Perhaps the only dissapointing element is the xenomorphs themselves. These organic-based creatures with sharp digits, enclosed in burnt looking skin with countless orifices look like a mutated cousin of the beasts that came out of John Hurt's stomach in the first Alien film or the creatures in Cloverfiled Lane or even Netflix‘s Stranger Things. Granted there was no acid spit and I couldn’t see any mention of any of these franchises in the credits, but going by appearances they definitely look closely related. Is Hollywood using the same FX agency? Does Ridley Scott not have the patent? It leads us to believe they are aliens, when in fact its never disclosed and this familiarity in appearance reduces the horror, slightly.
However, let that not deter you from the fact that the film is enthralling, compelling and gripping, a worthy addition to the alien horror genre. Blunt is expectedly brilliant as the caring matriarch, silently carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, but a more notable performance comes from an all grown-up and handsomely rugged Krasinski as the overly protective dad giving us 180 degrees turn from his usual fresh-faced, boyish roles. He further impresses in his directorial role with such as slick and well-executed effort that balances horror, suspense, family drama and sci-fi, perfectly.
A Quiet Place is out now.
Words by Daniel Theophanous @danny_theo_.
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