[WARNING: This review contains spoilers. Turn back now if you haven’t seen the movie!]
Although I never had the chance to review it, I was able to see A Quiet Place a while back while I was on vacation in Florida, and I definitely wanted to discuss it.
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting in which monsters have killed off millions of people. The monsters have excellent hearing abilities, and when someone makes even the most subtle noise, such as walking on leaves or whispering, a monster will likely jump out and kill them within like five seconds.
It’s somewhat rare to have a theater experience in which the audience is dead silent throughout the entire movie, but that was surprisingly the case when I saw this. It was so quiet in the theater that I was afraid to even take a sip of water. The film’s near-silent atmosphere is so perfectly set-up by John Krasinski, who expertly directs this movie. “Show, don’t tell” is one of the most commonly heard suggestions for screenwriters, and this movie is a perfect example of how a setting can be explored without any dialogue whatsoever. The imagery alone provides you with all that you need to know about the characters and the world in which the movie takes place.
I can’t really say I’ve ever been genuinely scared by a horror movie, and this one didn’t exactly terrify me, but there is no doubt that this movie has an incredible amount of tension, and it cleverly places the characters in creepy scenarios that achieve this. If I had to come up with the worst thing that could happen to someone while being pursued by these monsters, I would probably say having to give birth. Welp, that happens in this movie to Emily Blunt’s character, and man is it intense. Watching the characters trying to suppress noise, even in the most chaotic situations, was so enjoyable to experience.
The performances are a major part of why this movie works so well; every single one was excellent. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s real-life marriage definitely added to the romantic chemistry that their characters had, and Millicent Simmonds, who plays their deaf daughter, was also fantastic. There are many different tender moments between the members of this family, and I really did feel like I connected with them as an audience member. They are a normal family, with realistic and emotionally stirring family issues, that are thrown into a world in which there is virtually no hope for anyone or anything. This allows for solid character development, such as when John Krasinski’s character tells his daughter that he always loved her, and that he does not blame her for her brother’s tragic death. All of this adds to the movie in a really positive way and makes it a very satisfying viewing experience.
Despite how well-crafted it is, I do have some issues with the movie. Many of them are in relation to the logic of some character decisions. For example, why would John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s characters decide to HAVE A FREAKING BABY in this violent, cruel world where a tiny noise can be the difference between life and death? Why would their youngest son decide to turn on a loud spaceship toy when he almost definitely knows the ramifications of that? Questions like these occasionally arise, but they don’t severely hurt the movie. I also didn’t particularly care for the ending; it was alright, but I felt like rather than creating emotional poignance, it tries to be action-packed and fast-paced. The last stand that the family makes against the monsters, during which Emily Blunt’s character shoots them, felt like a tonal departure for the rest of the movie. The ending is no longer tense and frightening. It even shows the monsters up-close, despite them being bathed in darkness previously, which makes them less scary. By the end of the movie, they just look like unintimidating CGI creatures. I think a different ending could have greatly improved the movie.
Overall, as a big horror fan, I most certainly recommend A Quiet Place; it is a well-directed movie with great performances and truly intense sequences. It may not be perfect, but in regards to creating tension, it does an amazing job.
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