WHY SEE IT: Crackling with tension and with minimalistic, emotionally charged moments, A QUIET PLACE is a near-flawless horror-thriller bristling with intelligence, creativity, and believable performances. The chemistry of real-life couple Krasinski and Blunt translates nicely to the big screen for this close-knit family saga, and the well-cast children (Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds) deliver volumes of angst, fear, regret, and love with their expressive eyes alone. Showcasing top-notch sound design, the film unspools with an impressive aural soundscape to create its atmosphere; it’s a riveting story that contains minimal dialogue and uses maximum action and interaction to paint its characters and tell its tale.
Krasinski’s assured direction (he co-wrote the film with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck from their story) ratchets up the tension in between tender moments remarkably well, and he has crafted a world of thin ice, a padded silent existence that makes complete sense given the dire circumstances. A QUIET PLACE is full of moments in which one false move may be anyone’s last, and the electricity of these moments keeps the audience on edge from the beginning frame to the last. As for the design of the antagonistic creatures in the film (courtesy of Industrial Light & Magic), they come across as fierce, alien, and awfully frightening due to a solid mix of practical and visual effects (enhanced by CGI when appropriate). Bravo to the filmmakers for creating tangible monsters that sound and feel very real onscreen.
THE FLICK FLACK: I have very little criticism to dole out for A QUIET PLACE. As genre films go, this is a solid, entertaining entry. There have been many similar films in the past that have set up a situation in which protagonists are surrounded by deadly creatures and one false move ends in disaster. These stories set up their own rules and must adhere to them in order to sustain efficient tension and suspension of disbelief. That being said, and without spoiling the film, A QUIET PLACE does a very good job following its own rules — for the most part. But it starts to show a few cracks towards the end when a pivotal scene involving water feels like some explanatory footage got lost on the cutting room floor. By being so intelligent throughout, this film holds itself to a higher scrutiny and almost passes with flying colors. It reveals itself to be a little less than perfect, but that’s okay. The little slip-ups do not sink the ship or represent a deal-breaker by any means. A QUIET PLACE remains a must-see for horror and Sci-Fi fans looking for a great popcorn flick.
NOTABLE NOTES: The family in A QUIET PLACE uses sign language throughout the film, both for survival and because their daughter, Regan, is deaf. Simmonds, who plays Regan, happens to be deaf in real life, and Krasinski says that casting her was a non-negotiable element to the requirements of the film. The entire cast learned sign language for the project, and Krasinski says that spending so much time with Simmonds on and off-camera helped the fluency of their sign-language conversations and elevated the film’s authenticity factor.
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