A QUIET PLACE
Director: John Krasinski
Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds
Funnyman John Krasinski is shaking things up by turning his focus to the horror genre by directing, co-writing, and starring in A Quiet Place. Krasinski and real-life wife Emily Blunt play married couple Lee and Evelyn. Along with their three children, they are some of the only remaining survivors after a mysterious force has wiped out their small town. The movie picks up on Day 89, and we first see their family rummaging around in an abandoned pharmacy that’s been ransacked for the last remaining goods. They leave to find shelter making as little noise as possible. We learn through an extremely shocking moment that noise attracts these ravenous creatures that pop up out of the woods killing everything in sight. The story jumps ahead to Day 472. Evelyn is now pregnant, and the family is living in a semi-secure house where Lee has set up security cameras, a fallout bunker, and a lighting system to aid in their family alerts without relying on noise. Lee and Evelyn may have a safe space, but the same can’t be said for the other villagers in hiding who start to crack as the days and pressure to stay quiet become too much to handle.
Krasinski is best known as lovable prankster Jim Halpert on The Office. He’s distanced himself from roles like that in an attempt to diversify his post-Office career. Much like Jordan Peele did with Get Out, he’s branching out to the horror genre for his third outing as a director. His last turn was the family drama The Hollars with Margo Martindale. Directing horror takes fine precision, which is why it’s extremely rare to find a scary movie that truly earns its scares. Krasinski, along with his writing team of Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, has created one of the most original and daunting genre films in recent years. The concept to remain as quiet as possible sounds simple, but it’s another thing to keep the audience in suspense the whole film when you can’t rely on dialogue to keep the action going. Krasinski creates so much tension as the intentionally silent atmosphere naturally leaves you on the edge of your seat the entire time. You sit with full attention waiting for a loud clatter, a creaky floorboard, or something to go bump in the night. There is a huge “jump scare” early on that’s extremely startling and warns you of what might be out there.
The film’s writers keep this as naturalistic as possible as to what could happen to this family and the survival skills they need at any given point. Lee and Evelyn are smart characters who have thought out every possible detail. They’re not helpless victims flailing through the woods. It’s all of the little choices Krasinski makes along the way that matter like seeing the family walk barefoot through the woods or laying out paths of sand to walk across that demonstrate a fully realized survival mode for the family as well as demonstrating his skills as a newer director who understands the importance in the fine detail.
The family’s primary mode of communication is through American Sign Language as their daughter Regan, played by Millicent Simmonds, is deaf. Simmonds is a deaf actress and is proving to be a phenomenal young performer as we see here and in last year’s Wonderstruck. I can’t help but think that the use of the name Regan is homage to Linda Blair’s character in The Exorcist. We see her struggle with being deaf and how she seeks to defy her father along the way. Without giving spoilers, we see this play out and turned into a tender father-daughter element to this story. There are times when the movie goes completely silent offering what it must be like for her character in these moments not knowing when/if the creature may be behind her.
The runtime is kept short at 90 minutes and moves at a brisk pace. There’s never a dull moment as it’s completely nerve-wracking and unpredictable. Krasinski has a pitch-perfect small cast with Emily Blunt giving another phenomenal performance. The final act sees Evelyn by herself, in labor, and defending herself against a creature. It’s shocking and sheer proof Blunt can handle any character or tone regardless of the film’s genre. A Quiet Place feels reminiscent of the early M. Night Shyamalan movies mixed with Ridley Scott’s Alien. The desperation to stay silent seemed to permeate in the audience. You can feel people wanting to scream but trying to keep it in as to not conjure the demon creatures in real life. It’s simple, suspenseful, and will have you in a sheer state of paranoia as you leave the theater.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? A good old-fashioned monster movie that will have you jumping in your seat.
RATING: 4 out of 5 Ticket Stubs