What’s worse than living in a world with a monster that kills whenever you make a sound? Being the only American family with both a pregnant wife and a deaf child in a world with such a monster.
A Quiet Place portrays the perfect storm between a horror scenario and its characters. Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski) Abbott are trying to survive in a world overrun by blind aliens with extremely powerful hearing. They have to be completely silent lest they be heard by lurking monsters.
This becomes especially difficult since Evelyn is pregnant and one of their children Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf.
A Quiet Place is Krasinski’s third directorial helming. Undoubtedly, it’s his best. More than a perfect storm for horror, the film is a perfect storm in terms of production.
Krasinski and Blunt are partners in real life. The chemistry between them shines in this bleak world. You can feel the tension and love in every scene that they share. It created a lot of poignancy between their characters.
Additionally, besides playing a deaf character, Simmonds herself is deaf in real life. She (and her co-stars) deftly used her experience to amplify the film’s premise—maneuvering through silence in a world where sound is of the utmost importance.
In fact, A Quiet Place draws its horror from this exact lack of sound. Instead of visual terrors, the film uses silences to create tension. Much of the film is set with only ambient noise. It creates moments when even the creak of a floorboard can wreak havoc on your nerves.
Similarly, this plays a huge part in the actual cinematic experience. You’re invited to play along and be quiet with the characters. Even the crunch of a single piece of popcorn can be heard throughout the entire cinema. It’s either the most engaging or the most annoying cinema experience you’ll have. Regardless of your stance on the cinematic experience, every moment of silence is poignant. Make a sound and you’re dead.
Because of its reliance on silence, A Quiet Place has a fair amount of jump scares. If you’re a horror film aficionado, you might find jump scares as one of the most tiring tropes in modern cinema. Thankfully, the film’s use of the technique is always masterful. There’s almost never a jump scare that got on my nerves. Krasinski knows when to both position jump scares and release the pressure from them.
The risk of a jump scare movie is an absurd treatment of its main characters. Usually, these types of films feed their characters as cannon fodder for the brutal monster. Thankfully, A Quiet Place’s characters aren’t just script fillers. They’re well-developed characters with great arcs from beginning to end.
Even Krasinski’s method of storytelling is top-notch. A Quiet Place shows it story, rather than simply telling it. It doesn’t have a single piece of expository dialogue. With just background scenery, you can piece together what happened to the world and how its characters are moving within it.
A Quiet Place wraps up its strong storytelling with masterful horror techniques. In recent memory, Krasinski is the second comedy man to make the move to horror (following Jordan Peele). If this is how comedy writers do horror, more writers should try their hand at it, rather than settling for cheap gimmicky comedies.