A Quiet Place
- John Krasinski as Lee Abbott
- Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott
- Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott
- Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott
A horror thriller that taps into many fears and is ruthlessly tense throughout, A Quiet Place is terrifying and at times quite moving in how it examines people surviving in near silence from director/star John Krasinski.
The year is 2020 and blind creatures have overtaken most of the world. Despite having no sight, they hunt via hearing which is exceptionally advanced. Any significant noise can attract these beings to potential prey. The Abbott family( mother Evelyn, father Lee and three children, Regan, Marcus and Beau )are surviving the best they can in times of darkness and crippling fear. They communicate using sign language, which they know anyway because Regan is deaf. It appears that they are some of the last remaining humans given how abandoned and desolate everywhere around them is. Though they have survived for a long time, a tragic incident robs them of one of their children. When we pick up with the family again, they are living in a farmhouse and Evelyn is pregnant. As heads of the family, while terrified of day-to-day life, they are determined to protect their family by remaining as quiet as humanly possible. They have forged an existence for themselves, with many areas of the house insulated and cameras to observe outside. Lee is the main provider for them, going out to forage for food and attempting to fix Regan’s hearing aid. Evelyn is preparing for the birth of a child while raising her other two children, plus mourning the loss of one. Anxiety hangs in the air as Evelyn’s due date is approaching and the prospect of a baby terrifies all as it spells potential horror for all if they can’t remain quiet. And ever since the loss of one child, uncertainty has grown within the right family unit. But in this time of panic, can the family survive for much longer without becoming victims of the creatures?
Director and star John Krasinski crafts suspense and an uneasy atmosphere right from the beginning and keeps the nerves frazzled with efficiency. His direction is confident and skilled at scaring us and cranking up the tension as events continue. The pacing is just on the mark, building and building to a chilling and relentless last act that will have you gasping for breath with nervousness. I dare anyone to not feel panicked as the family are menaced by the scary creatures and they are separated. Sound and the ability to use it, which we can so often take for granted is crucial to this film as noises are both amplified and subdued. This gives the creepy effect of not being able to express things and the difficulties involved when we are robbed of this essential thing. Jolts of terror and As the family has to live in almost always silence, a lot of the story is told visually. We gain information from facial expressions, symbols and sign language, which gets us involved and has the attention from the start. The life these characters have crafted offers much in the way of intrigue, helping us realise just how precious sound and especially silence are in making sure you don’t become victims to the creatures that terrorise the characters. What surprises in A Quiet Place is that as well as being frightening, it has you emotionally invested too. If anything, the main theme is parental anxiety. It’s amplified here but nonetheless shines in presenting two parents doing whatever they can to shelter their brood from harm. Especially in the case of the mother being pregnant and the collective worry of what will happen when the child is born into this startling world. The creatures are fleetingly glimpsed at the start, but when revealed are truly alarming and well designed to be etched into the memory. Marco Beltrami is on score duty, ratcheting up the scares and overriding eeriness of the piece. And speaking of sound, the effects and design are sublime in dialing up creepiness and oodles of ambience. Every sound could possibly be the last for these characters so it’s imperative that noise is well used and the often deafening silence matters. Just like the characters, we become scared of sudden sound.
The relatively small cast all convince in this merciless horror film. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, who are a married couple in real life, excel as the protective and resourceful parents. Using body language and facial expression, they get across the terror and will power of this mother and father who are doing whatever they can to ensure the safety of their children. The fact that they are married in real life adds to the closeness of the two and how they complement one another. Krasinski’s survivalist and Blunt’s warm, nurturing matriarch are fully realised and performed admirably. The two children in the film, Noah and Millicent Simmonds exceptionally convey the uncertainty and horror that’s thrust upon their young shoulders. Millicent Simmonds is especially marvellous as the daughter who is dealing with feelings of guilt and loss . The fact that Simmonds is also deaf in real life brings a lot of authenticity to her performance as well as her expressive face.
A nerve jangling exercise in tension, A Quiet Place sustains the interest and induces terror with its story and atmosphere. This is strong stuff from John Krasinski and marks him as a director to watch.