For this review, you can watch and listen to it below OR — for those who can’t and need to read my review — you can find my loose transcript below, also.
A Quiet Place is director and actor John Krasinski’s first break into the horror genre, and man, he knows how to scare people. The concept is unique: creatures will hunt you if you make a sound, so the goal is to stay quiet. Of course, the opening sequence shows you just how careful Lee — played by Krasinski himself — and his family have to be.
This world their family lives in is almost completely deserted, and the film opens with Lee’s wife, Evelyn, played by Emily Blunt, searching for medicine at a pharmacy for her ill son, Marcus, played by Noah Jupe. Millicent Simmonds, an actress who is deaf, plays daughter, Regan, whose character is also deaf.
Like I said, without spoiling anything, the film immediately reveals how scary this world is. I found Krasinski’s choice to show the creature early on in the first sequence a bit of a head-scratcher at first, but it worked because the entire film didn’t have to hinge on a big reveal, like most cliche horror films do. The creatures also look amazing, so kudos to the CGI team.
There’s a nice level of detail in A Quiet Place, including the use of sign language. I especially love how the film went silent when it focused on Regan, who doesn’t have a working hearing aid. The family also lays out bags of sand to trace their path and silence their footsteps to safely return to their home. I was consistently surprised at how this family survived.
There’s a lot of great editing in this, also. The cuts between each character’s face when a sound is made, the sound design and score by Marco Beltrami — it all amounts to a solid film.
And Krasinski has a good eye behind the camera — there’s a great sense of the bleak environment thanks to the shot selections capturing so much in one frame during some moments.
Now, while this next point is usually a negative, I found the time jumps to be justified. We start with Day 89 and soon jump to Day 472. There’s no time wasted in getting to the meat of this story, and I liked its pace just fine.
Although, there’s a clear moment where I thought to myself, “What is this movie doing to make me care for any character outside of Regan?” The script provided little to no depth for certain characters, and that took the weight away from some of the more serious moments in the second half. It’s not that Emily Blunt and company were bad, but they were just…fine, but I never really cared for them all that much. Also, some characters are relegated to those dumb “WHY ARE YOU DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING?!”-type moments. That’s the horror shtick that’s hard to separate from, I guess, especially in jump-scare movies.
There’s also a gross oversight on Krasinski’s part: When they used sign language to speak, there were subtitles for those not fluent in American Sign Language. When the characters actually used spoken words in dialogue during the second half of the film, there were no subtitles. So how are deaf people going to understand what’s being said on screen?
Those negatives aside, I love how this movie put Millicent Simmonds on a pedestal. I really hope to see more of her, and A Quiet Place really was a great follow-up after Wonderstruck.
So yes — A Quiet Place is a fun, unique jump-scare film that will get your heart racing. I just wish it was a bit tighter around the edges.
I attended an advanced screening of this film for purposes of this review, thanks to Allied Integrated Marketing and Paramount Pictures. ❤
A Quiet Place is rated PG-13, runs 1 hour and 30 minutes and crawls into theaters on April 6, 2018.