A Quiet Place is one of the most creative and nerve-wracking thriller/horrors this decade.
Lee (John Krasinski) and his wife, Evelyn (Emily Blunt, Sicario), don’t know what led to highly sound sensitive creatures terrorizing the planet. It doesn’t matter. Their only concern is keeping their children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) safe.
In a world where sound equals a quick and brutal death, the Abbott Family has learned how to survive. Through using sign language, walking on sand trails and being almost paranoid about making a peep. The film opens nearly four months after the event that’s left the world, a shattered and all around quieter place.
We don’t get a lot of family thriller/horrors for a reason. They largely cheat the rules of the genre with family members surviving longer than they should for the sake of preserving the unit.
Early on, director/co-screenwriter Krasinski establishes the tone that no character is safe. That shocking opening act lets viewers know the unwritten rules of thrillers/horrors won’t apply here.
That’s key so every subsequent potential scare has maximum effect. And with such unforgiving rules, it is vitally important there’s no flukes or lucky breaks for the characters.
Krasinski and co-screenwriters Bryan Woods and Scott Beck don’t insult the audience by keeping the rules fluid. The rules are simple: don’t make a sound or at least don’t make the loudest noise.
But the beauty of the film’s family focus is the connections are deeper and more meaningful.
When Lee pleads with Marcus to trust him, it’s touching and not the standard father teaching a son how to be a man moment. Regan struggles with lingering guilt from an earlier incident and her quiet fuming rage is understandable in her desperation to make amends.
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Evelyn is busy preparing for another major change for the family. The family has just begun to put itself back together after an earlier tragedy, but the emotional scars haven’t fully healed yet.
One of the most impressive aspects of the film is how much love and care is expressed without words.
The cast is incredible. Krasinski has evolved from a likable comedic presence on The Office to becoming a steadying performer who can be a more than credible leading man.
Blunt is one of my favorite actresses. She is so versatile, but no one’s better than playing a kick-tail bada$$ who can also show vulnerability. This might be her best performance yet as she gets to convey so many emotions with another well-rounded and developed character.
Simmonds, who has been deaf since birth, was absolutely terrific. I loved how the film incorporated sign language and subtitles without making Regan look anything less than capable. Jupe is also really good and believable as a scared boy who just wants a normal life with his family.
This is Krasinski’s third directorial effort, but he shows an impressive comprehension of how to stage a highly effective thriller. One of the main keys is how he avoids a crushing and overwhelming tone throughout the entire film. There’s tender moments that reinforce the power and hopefulness that comes from loving relationships even in the face of despair.
With a tight running time of 90 minutes, there’s not a wasted moment.Thanks to the sparse dialogue and advanced timeline, there’s not a lot of background on the creatures. Where they came from, what they want and their number. The lack of answers leads to the uneasiness instead of frustration with plot holes.
A Quiet Place is a superbly crafted thriller with genuine scares and gripping performances. It’s easily 2018’s best thriller and one of the genre standouts for the past decade.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures