A menacing horror movie set in a pitilessly silent world, director John Krasinski’s latest film A Quiet Place is also a fine sample of smart sci-fi, solidly buttressed by arresting human drama.
Written by the genre specialists/screenwriting duo of Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (Nightlight ), Krasinski, who further developed the screenplay with them, also co-stars along with brilliant actress and wife Emily Blunt. Unraveling in an eerie, post-apocalyptic world where childhood innocence, family life, and joy have been swept away by hard-to-fathom ferocity and intense fear.
The following list will briefly touch upon the affective, transformative and spellbinding elements that make A Quiet Place not just a richly rewarding horror film, but also one of the most exciting and satisfying sci-fi films of the decade.
9. A deceptively simple premise
While being economically sparing with the details, A Quiet Place is immediately open about its premise. In a not-too-distant future a race of mean, massive, unmanageable, multi-appendaged spider-like monsters have appeared –– from where exactly, we do not entirely know, though headlines speculate deep outer space or perhaps deep within the earth, like killer cicadas.
These horrific creatures are blind, so they can be outsmarted that way, however their hearing is so perceptively honed that even the tiniest noise, such as the tinkling of a faucet or the mild commotion caused by a children’s toy can summon them, with ruthlessly fatal and terrifying results.
In this bleak tomorrow, the scant survivors have to adapt to a world of deliberate silences. Such are the Abbott family, Lee (Krasinski) and Evelyn (Blunt), who along with their three young children — sons Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward), and deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) — have turned their remote farmhouse and environs into an efficacious survivalist ranch, and make the occasional reconnaissance into the ruins of a nearby town for extra supplies.
The Abbott family endure a startling loss that leaves them reeling, and after a while Evelyn, now very pregnant, and her rueful family begin careful and elaborate preparations for the challenges that will come with raising an infant in this viciously sound-sensitive setting.
On the surface, much of this preamble traces a fairly predictable horror movie trajectory, and a great deal of overly familiar tropes rear their all-too-familiar heads. As our likeable and extremely vulnerable protagonists repeatedly enact the stock fright flick scene of hiding from the baddies and trying not to make a peep, this boilerplate scenario is well-played out again and again. The audience get nearly as nervous and taut as the overly stressed out characters.