A movie that I thought would quietly come and go from theaters without much notice, actually hooked audiences with a unique horror premise. Despite having a fraction of the budget of Ready Player One, A Quiet Place opened to nearly the same opening weekend grosses. What was its recipe for success?
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
The film begins a couple of months into some form of invasion by gruesome creatures who are completly blind, but hunt based on a very acute sense of sound. Only the quietest of people can survive in a world made hostile from their violent attacks; as any sounds attracts the monsters from miles away.
After the crew from Gabbing Geek is killed instantly, the story picks up with a lone family trying to survive.
Because they have a deaf daughter, the family is able to communicate through sign langauge and so much of the film’s dialogue is subtitled based on the signing. After a tragedy befalls the family in the early days of the horror, they settle into a defensive existence at a remote farm compound.
As the family tries to quietly survive, they must prepare for the impending birth of their next child; no noise there, right? You gotta wonder about that conception… Because nothing gets people hornier than sound based attack monsters.
It is an aphrodisiac.
Page 24 of the Kama Sutra!
John Krasinksi (you gotta say “Jim from the Office” here) does a magnificent job as a first time director (he also co-wrote the script) of creating a universe where he could play so heavily with sound or the lack of sound to create suspense. So often in horror, we are waiting for the monster to jump out and scare us, and often experience a horrific musical score to increase the terror. Here, the risks are more subtle.
Don’t stub your toe and shout.
Don’t have labor pains.
Don’t drop the soap (for two reasons).
Krasinski creates such tension and dread in life’s more mundane moments.
Krasinski as an actor also delivers a strong performance and connected very well with his real life wife, Emily Blunt (Sicario), who gave an equally strong turn as a mother fearing the birth of her unborn child. Between the two leads and the kids who rounded out their family, the group chemistry was amazing even with mostly non-verbal communication.
Finally, the “rules” of the universe were interesting. This is a cool concept that was a lot of fun to explore. Though I am sure there will be a half-dozen sequels to get into the minutia, A Quiet Place does a magnificent job of answering the basic question of what would realistically happen to civilization if (fill in a fantastic or supernatural scenario).
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
Boy, not much was off in this movie! It was a pretty solid film… The only thing that took me out of the movie was more around the theater experience itself. There is SO MUCH silence in this film that the noise of the next theater inevitably bleeds into yours and impacts the enjoyment of the total quiet enviroment.
It is hard to focus on the suspense of the moment, when one theater over they were blaring the 40th anniversary showing of Grease. I found it challenging at times to invest in Emily Blunt’s terror when I could clearly hear Danny, Sandy, and the gang belting out “Summer Nights” in the backdrop…
I love a good “rules movie” and this was a damn good one. Those aren’t always pulled off well; leaning on the concept as a crutch rather than a springboard to tell a smart story.
I want to see more from Krasinski behind the camera because so much of the success of this film was the small choices he made as a director. Let’s give this guy a DCEU movie and see if he can breath the humanity into that universe the way he did this world. Pretty impressive stuff!
Overall, I give A QUIET PLACE 9.5 “Noise Space Shuttles” out of 10.