Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
Director: John Krasinski
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: In the modern horror thriller A QUIET PLACE, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threaten their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.
Over the last couple of years, we have seen two factions emerge in the horror film industry. One side relies on using jump scares and gore to make people feel uncomfortable when watching the movie. The other side focuses on building suspense and tension and creating a world that captures the audience and instills a feeling of dread. The latter is so much harder to accomplish, but to the pleasure of the audience, A Quiet Place seems to have mastered the art of building tension and using it effectively. Pair this with incredible physical performances by the cast and we get one of the greatest original thrillers in recent years.
The film follows parents Evelyn (Blunt) and Lee (Krasinski), and their children Regan (Simmonds) and Marcus (Jupe) as they try to survive in a world where strange monsters roam the land hunting humans. These monsters are blind and only go after things that they hear, which means the family must soundproof their entire life and never say a word. On top of all this, Regan is deaf, making an already complicated situation even harder due to her disadvantage. The casting for all these roles was absolutely spot on as the actors had a natural chemistry and were able to play off each others strengths. Blunt and Krasinski are married and act in a way that a real family would in a time of crisis. The best casting choice for this movie has to be the inclusion of Millicent Simmonds. Simmonds is a deaf actress, so she looks very comfortable using sign language and acting in a role that requires no dialogue. That energy meshes so well with the rest of the cast as she probably gave them tips on how to use sign language effectively based on her own personal experiences. Moving on to the horror elements, A Quiet Place provides a perfect combination of the feeling of hopelessness as well as genuinely scary moments. The issue with many horror movies today is that focus exclusively on jump scares and loud noises, which very quickly become predictable and boring. Due to the fact that A Quiet Place is such a quiet movie and we only really hear non-human noises, the few instances of jump scares are incredibly effective. Other horror movies need to take notice, as this is the proper way for jump scares to be used. Finally, many of the cinematic elements add a level of depth to this film that I have not seen in this genre for years. Marco Beltrami’s score is absolutely beautiful and helps change the mood throughout the film. Whether there are huge swells during the intense scenes or if there are soft string instruments setting a lighter and more loving tone, the score is almost on the same level as a film like Psycho. Outside of that, the cinematography of Charlotte Bruus Christensen is such a precise and level experience that is really a testament of her talent as well as the situation these people are involved in. The camerawork is so still, as if to be as silent as the characters, and adds an almost fourth wall breaking experience. The one scene I was worried about where Marcus is running through a cornfield only had a little natural shakiness, but it was so refreshing to see a movie that did not make me feel like I was on Space Mountain the whole time. Christensen has worked with some talented directors like Aaron Sorkin, Tate Taylor, and Denzel Washington, and continues her illustrious career with another knockout performance.
Overall, A Quiet Place is a neo-revolutionary addition to horror-based thrillers and I believe it will be held in high regard after its theatrical run. Movies like this are usually too big of a risk for Hollywood to make nowadays, so thank you to everyone involved who made this release possible for all of us. While A Quiet Place may not be on the same level as a movie like Jaws, it certainly adds a fresh perspective to the genre and shows companies that quality can make just as much money as a by the books B-list horror movie with no proper story or acting.
Overall Score: 9/10