A Quiet Place, directed by John Krasinski, is one of the most effective horror movies in recent times. It’s a breath of fresh air amidst a genre populated by a slew of disappointments like Insidious The Last Key and the overrated Veronica. A Quiet Place is not exactly what you might expect from an ex-The Office actor and it surprises the bejesus outta you and how. I guess comedy actors turned good horror movie directors are all the jazz these days.
The year is 2020 and most of humankind is wiped out by heavily armored, sightless creatures who senses and mauls down anything that makes the slightest sound. One of the surviving families, The Abbots, leads their lives in extreme caution. The father, Lee (John Krasinski) makes sure everybody’s safe by taking utmost care in not making a sound regardless of what they do. His pregnant wife Emily (Emily Blunt), the deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and sons, Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau tread on their father’s trail making sure of the same. Things obviously go downhill for them when the baby is on its way and a tragedy that befell them causes more rifts amongst them.
Imagine a tense sequence from thriller movies where you’d be holding your breath, clinging onto your seats anticipating something grim, a la ‘War Of The Worlds’ or Alien’s ‘Death of Dallas’ scene and now imagine a singular tense moment stretched over 90 minutes, that’s what A Quiet Place feels like. Nerve-wracking is the right term here. If you’ve played The Last Of Us‘ Clicker sequences, you’ll have a sketchy idea of what’s to be expected from the movie which serves you almost the same for an hour and a half. There were, of course, adorable scenes of the family bonding and fighting like any normal family but in a world like this, things are bound to go awfully wrong. Krasinski does resort to a few jump-scares but it never ruined the movie. A Quiet Place seems to share some with other horror movies and an obvious comparison would be Don’t Breathe but its apples and oranges once you’ve seen A Quiet Place. The creature design was good for what was required for the movie but it did seem a little too Stranger Things-esque. There was little novelty in the design but due to the script and the concept, it felt intimidating enough.
In a movie where dialogues are far and few between, performances matter and I have only two thumbs up to how closely knit and real the Abbots feel like. Director and lead, Krasinski himself do a mind-blowing job of portraying Lee with all the nuances. Emily Blunt, his real-life wife, plays Emily and with such wide array of emotions, she is a force to reckon with. Millicent Simmonds stands out playing the daughter Regan and is a superb actor in the making, especially considering she’s deaf in real life. Noah Jupe, already having made his mark appearing in Wonder and The Night Manager offers a decent performance as well.
It’s a feat to have a near full-house of an audience in utmost silence. No annoying popcorn crunches, no disgusting ‘movie-commentators’, no whispers and not even toddler whimpers and that’s exactly how much the A Quiet Place immerses the audience. Part of the immersion was also due to the theatrical experience and it begs to be seen only on the big screen. A Quiet Place might not have been the same experience had it been seen on a smaller screen. The movie owes a lot to its brilliant sound design too. It plays such an integral part in the movie that you will twist and turn in your seat due to the sheer absence of sound. Marco Beltrami’s haunting score also paves way for some superb atmosphere.
A Quiet Place is one of the more original horror movies to come out in recent times. Original, not in terms of plot but in terms of execution and how Krasinski was able to stretch a paper-thin plot over a thrilling 90 minutes and not losing pace – it’s just great. It had been long since a horror movie had gotten full points for being scary. A Quiet Place is not exactly scary, it’s an anxiety attack in the making – its tense and it’s disturbingly unsettling – a disquieting edge of the seat thriller that I’d urge anybody to go and watch if you haven’t already.