Silence is survival in “A Quiet Place”

A movie review

Silence is survival in

Katie Thompson, Editorial Board Member

I’m usually not a fan of horror movies. Many horror films, especially recent releases, either have a stereotypical or cheesy premise and rely too heavily on gore or unsatisfying jump scares. However, the new movie, A Quiet Place, directed by John Krasinski, defied all of my expectations of what a horror movie can be.

The premise is simple, a deadly alien species has invaded Earth, and they hunt by their acute sense of hearing. If you make a sound louder than feet walking on sand or the softest whisper, you’ll be dead in less than 15 seconds. A Quiet Place begins on “Day 89” of the post-apocalyptic world, and focuses on a family of five, gathering supplies at a mostly cleared out pharmacy store. As they move in careful and deliberate silence, the audience is engaged, searching for the reason for silence. When the youngest son finds an old, battery-powered, noise-making toy, we quickly find out why. Within a few minutes of the movie, the family has been reduced to four, the stakes are set, and we know that no one is safe in this new world. The family consists of the father, Lee (played by John Krasinski), the mother, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), the deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and the son (Noah Jupe).We then jump more than a year forward to find the family as we left them except for the minor detail the Evelyn is pregnant. We are shown a world that is carefully engineered for silent living. From the family using sign language to communicate and sand pathways created to muffle footsteps, every part of everyday life is constructed for survival, and the approaching arrival of a newborn baby (not known for being silent) throws the family’s existence into question.

This is a minimal spoiler review, so I won’t go in depth into the plot, but just the construction and concept of A Quiet Place makes it worth seeing. It’s the first movie I’ve seen that has me nerve-wracked the entire time, and despite the obvious impediment of almost no dialogue, the audience becomes deeply invested in the fate of the small family. Something that makes A Quiet Place unique is that loud sounds and jump scares aren’t the only sources of terror. Moments when the family is trying to stay silent and hidden are just as terrifying as the rare noise that escapes them. Sounds in nature, like running water, put me on edge. I’ve also never seen an audience as invested in a movie as this one. Because there is hardly a sound, people watching focus closely on body language and facial expressions and are more completely invested in the fate of the family. I’ve never heard a theater collectively nervous laugh after a jump scare we expected never came. As many critics have mentioned, the theater actually became more silent as the film continued, as more and more people realized exactly how much noise popcorn makes in a theater. The unanimous sigh of relaxation as the movie concluded seemed almost like the end of a bonding experience for the audience, everyone was releasing after an hour and a half of constant tension.

In addition to being just straight up scary, A Quiet Place touched on several themes for the audience to consider, like the difference between living and surviving and the love of a parent for his or her children. The combination of tears and gasps is what caused A Quiet Place to gross $50 million dollars in opening weekend. The film produced $20 million more than projected, and basically guaranteed a total revenue greater than $100 million. A Quiet Place also secured itself a spot on the list of foreign films allowed to be screened in China. These accomplishments have already produced rumors of a sequel, although there’s no word yet on what co-writer, director, and star John Krasinski thinks about the concept. One small thing about the movie is that the logic of the movie doesn’t always add up. Think about a technicality or continuity for too long and the plot begins to crumble, but these points are ultimately too minor to pick up until post-movie reflection. Even then, the craftsmanship and intrigue of the movie makes me feel comfortable overlooking the few logic errors. Overall, I highly recommend seeing A Quiet Place. It’s a relatively family friendly PG-13, and is showing in most theaters in the region.


Rating: 4.5 / 5

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