Director: John Krasinski
Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds
Review Author: Tony & Adam
As both Adam and I were very eager to discuss our thoughts on the film and due to both being pretty much on the same page we decided to do a joint review so we both get the opportunity to share out thoughts.
Working up the confidence to finally see A Quiet Place was no easy task. Firstly I wanted to find the right time to see the film where it would be a minimal and respectful audience due to the silent nature of the film, secondly, I’m a genuine coward at seeing horror films in the cinema as I can’t pause it when it gets too intense for a tea break. I’ve explained many times before that I have a weird relationship with horror films. It’s a genre that has generally disappointed me due to the abundance of low effort, poorly written films but I’ll always come crawling back. When a horror is done well then it’s well worth the wait and the abundance of high concept, well-executed horror films in recent years is a very exciting prospect.
Clocking in at 90 minutes, A Quiet Place has some of the best use of pacing I’ve seen on the big screen. Not one second of this film is wasted with every look, shot and music queue expertly laying out the narrative without the need for dialogue, Krasinski masterfully communicates the film across with barely a spoken word throughout. The level of detail in every shot really sells this bleak apocalypse as the characters effectively soundproof their lives. On a technical level, A Quiet Place is one of the most impressive of recent memory.
The film shares an interesting similarity with last years Academy Award nominated hit, Get Out. Both have directors coming from a comedy background tackling the horror genre with a high concept approach to the genre. Another film I was reminded of was It Comes at Night, both begin with a family tragedy and have families in an isolated setting guided by a strict set of rules to survive, although A Quiet Place actually has something come at night.
There are a few niggling issues which are just nitpicking but due to the standard this film sets, it’s hard to ignore. The creatures degree of hearing is never really outlined leading to some pretty inconsistent logic on what they can and can’t hear and from what distance. While I have full praise for the world building and the attention to detail its also hard to ignore other details such as the families access to electricity which is probably sourced from a generator (not the quietest of devices) and the use of an old creaky silo as a lookout. Again, these are only minor drawbacks to an excellent film.
A Quiet Place was a fantastic cinematic experience, largely due to the virtually empty screening I had but the few patrons in attendance were just as enthralled and unnerved as I was. It’s an overwhelmingly intense film that had me on the edge of my seat throughout and putting my hands over my ears. The inner hipster in me would have loved for a complete absence of music though as the sound design and moments of deafening silence were fantastic.
There were two instances of me violently sprinting through Vue Cinemas in April, the sort of short sprint that makes you breathe funnily and leads to people making weird eye contact with you in the lobby when you return abruptly to a walking pace. This film caused one of them, (the other instance was me not wanting to miss a second more of Infinity War!).
A hand trembling need for a piss during this film at a pivotal, scary and silent moment lead to me walking down an unnecessarily dark corridor connecting the screen to the outside world and absolutely losing all rational sense of how much danger I was in, and bursting into a run. I ran because
it was dark and scary I was so engrossed in the silent tense world of A Quiet Place that I was convinced something was going to jump out and eat me…or whatever the creatures did. I watched most of it through my hands when they showed up so I still don’t know.
This film had my curiosity from the first trailer, and upon more research, it had my attention.
I love a film that goes the extra length to ensure accuracy, and John Krasinski pushing to use an actress who is deaf in real life really had me excited to see what other attention to detail and meticulous care would be paid to ensure a solid film experience. Every scene has some sort of clever, well-worn feature to it that shows just how much world building this family has had to do since the deaf-pocalypse started and sound became a death sentence. Even from the first scene, and Jesus Christ does this film open heavy, the tone of tension, fear, but a strange sort of resilient acceptance is set. No exposition lines needed, or possible, and the background images and solid acting give you all the info you need.
Sure, if we want to nitpick, we can say that the clues dropped along the way are a little on the nose, a series of useful, but upon proper reflection, clunky facts are sprawled on his little research whiteboards- but I would rather a small decision like that to keep the integrity of the film strong than boring useless filler to catch me up.
An entire medium of storytelling has essentially been removed in this film, we’ve dropped a sense, and that could have gone really really bad for them. But it’s done so well, and with so much care that it not only gives you an incredibly concise introduction to this world but forces you to explore the entire frame in every scene and pick up on information you would otherwise miss if there was this forced and lazy exposition scene played out.
Normally in survival films, we need a ‘newcomer’ to join an already established survivor tribe as the ‘newbie’ whose only function is to be your ears as a viewer so they can make mistakes and further the plot, and that’s passive. A Quite Place doesn’t need lazy narration, you’re trapped in your seat watching this super prepared family simply have their shit absolutely fall apart and you have to quietly deal with the consequences with them.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Glasses of Brandy