The following is a review of A Quiet Place — Directed by John Krasinski.
Actor-turned-director John Krasinski’s third feature film as a director is the horror-thriller film A Quiet Place, which follows the Abbott family in the dystopian near-future wherein the entire world seems abandoned and empty due to the existence of blind, mysterious, and violent creatures that hide and wait for something as harmless as the sound of a pin drop to pounce on any pray alive to be taken.
Parents Evelyn (played by Emily Blunt) and Lee Abbott (played by John Krasinski) are in a tough situation, because not only do they have young children with them, but Evelyn is also pregnant. When all hell breaks loose as the family is unable to stay silent, the lengths to which a parent is willing to go for his or her child are tested while hungry and aggressive monsters are on the hunt because of inevitable tiny mistakes made by the family.
Most people would agree with the notion that the worst thing — for some the only bad thing — about going to the movie theater is the chance that someone else watching the film may ruin the film for you. Sometimes people snicker too loudly, some people eat their candy and drink their soda too loudly, sometimes people explain the plot too each other, and, unfortunately, in some instances other moviegoers may ruin the experience of watching a new film by playing with their phone.
It is really unfortunate that a good film can be ruined by one or two individuals who don’t care about you and your experience. A Quiet Place is one of those films that you absolutely should see in the movie theater, but which also has a good chance of falling apart if just one person decides that his enjoyment is more important than the rest of the moviegoers’. Thankfully, I don’t think that will be a problem in most theaters, because A Quiet Place has this overwhelming and effective power from the very first minute of the film.
More than anything else I’ve watched this year, A Quiet Place has this overpowering demand for your attention and complete silence — and most of those going to see it will be happy to be captivated by it. It really is a weird thing to say — because I obviously don’t talk when I watch a film at the movie theater — but this film is, somehow, so captivating that you find yourself wanting to stay completely silent.
You are expertly compelled to abide by the rules of the film. Going even further, I found that the film held my attention — and kept me in check, really — so well that I only felt able to catch my breath when characters spoke, and, trust me, they don’t do that often. The first half of the film takes you in and punches you in the gut to set the mood for the excellent tension-filled second half, which is so thrilling and, to me, so horrifying.
With his first horror film, John Krasinski has managed to conjure up some solid scares and a genuine sense of tension. He is aided by top-notch work from the sound department, which is so important in a film so reliant on small noises as well as sharp and sudden scares, but also from Danish cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen. A Quiet Place is a well-made film from top-to-bottom, and these strong and intimate performances from John Krasinski and, especially, Emily Blunt breathe life into the very silent film.
What didn’t, on the other hand, work as well, for me, was the dialogue. When characters do speak, it is with dialogue that is strangely on the nose. The film’s greater theme of parenthood and its message of telling people what they mean to you while you can is not ruined by the dialogue, but its message was, to me, unsubtly expressed via dialogue.
There are also some leaps in logic that you need to sort of ignore to have a great time with the film — for example, who would want to have a baby in this world? Another issue that I had with the film was that the importance of an in-universe device, which may solve the central problem of the film, is so telegraphed that you see its utilization coming from a mile away.
I should note that while I do think the film’s jump-scares are justified, they are also slightly annoying and, for some, it might be too much. Also, the creature design isn’t really anything to write home about, so to speak. It is a creature that I found to be familiar and somewhat unoriginal, but it absolutely is scary.
However, those issues fall away when I remember this as a great time at the movie theater, which A Quiet Place absolutely was. All in all, A Quiet Place is a captivating horror-thriller about parenthood and responsibility, which is precisely so effective because of how well the premise’s excellent hook is executed.
8.5 out of 10
– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen