As film fans, there’s always a handful of films that we allow to pass us by. This isn’t usually a comment on their quality or our willingness to enjoy them – sometimes, we’re just a little late to the party.
High-concept horror is often risky. Its success hinges on the competency of its actors and its director, and as such, A Quiet Place could easily have been doomed to inadequacy.
However, thanks to the efforts of John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe, A Quiet Place hits the mark in resounding fashion. The film’s story follows a family attempting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by blind monsters who hunt using their ultra-sensitive hearing, and though its premise alone is fascinating, A Quiet Place really thrives on its attention to detail.
Every aspect of bringing the film’s story to life has been meticulously thought out. Its characters get around by walking barefoot along trails of sand and communicate almost entirely using sign language. A Quiet Place demonstrates the family’s ingenious methods of survival in the silent apocalypse, and in doing so, it manages to build an adequate sense of fear around the idea of making sound.
A Quiet Place achieves this with such success that it’s almost impossible to turn away from. Even in its most tense and horrifying moments, its unrelenting attention to detail is mesmerizing, and this foundation is built upon by absolutely staggering performances from its cast.
Blunt and Krasinski in particular deliver powerhouse performances without hardly uttering a single word, but there’s no weak link in A Quiet Place‘s acting, as Simmonds and Jupe also share good chemistry as siblings. The family at the center of A Quiet Place‘s story feel organic, and the way in which their lives have been altered by the apocalypse and the creatures is intertwined with their family dynamic.
A Quiet Place‘s expertly built tension sees the film culminate in a handful of quietly terrifying and heartbreaking scenes. The genuine emotion this inspires is a testament to Krasinski’s abilities as a filmmaker, as the film’s presentation of its premise is a large part of what makes it work so well.
Rarely do films with central gimmicks work on so many levels. By paying particular attention to the way in which the premise affects A Quiet Place‘s story, the post-apocalyptic horror takes on a stark realism that makes it feel all the more real. Its bleak and nerve-shredding narrative affords it a weight reminiscent of The Road, as its horror elements more a matter of implication than of actual danger.
A Quiet Place is a deeply interesting film that demands the viewer’s attention. Its lack of any substantial dialogue works brilliantly both within its premise and in reality, as it manages to build a sense of fear around something as basic as sound.
Summary: A Quiet Place thoughtfully builds upon its interesting premise, weaving a deeply engrossing tale of fear and survival.
Highlight: The film’s emotional climax is perfectly understated, making it feel all the more real.