A Quiet Place review
One of the most important tips to creating horror is that "what's not seen is the scariest thing". While I'm not sure who said that, I first read it from a book on Alfred Hitchcock and how he implemented that philosophy to his works like Rear Window, The Birds, and most prominently, Psycho. Tension featured in those movies was very high and it was accomplished all without showing the monster. It's not to say it didn't, but Hitchcock understood that fear does more then create a barrier. Fear clouds judgment and can even turn the rational irrational.
Filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, and James Wan have all used this tool to their storytelling advantage. The only rules are that they can either never show the creature or they have to deliver on what's gotten people so frightened. Much of what's been done is what we could see. Today's movie focuses on what we can hear. Alien invasion stories are popular and the idea of creatures that hunt based off of sound is actually intriguing. How would society or even people continue to live in a world of forced silence? Can we be completely silent? Let's see if A Quiet Placecan deliver on that idea.
In the near future, the world seems to have already gone through an invasion of aliens that can't see, but have extreme sensitive hearing, and therefore, hunt based on sound. We get the idea that a mass extinction has happened and that people try their best to live in silence to avoid being eaten. The struggle is such for a farming family, the Abbott family. This consists of father Lee (played by John Krasinski), mother Evelyn (played by Emily Blunt), daughter Regan (played by Millicent Simonds), and sons Marcus and Beau.
During one scout for food, Regan gives Beau a space shuttle toy, in which it's noise unfortunately, causes him to get eaten. A year passes and the family seems to have set itself up well with everyone speaking in American Sign Language and taking every precaution to make no noise of any kind (I guess this means no potato chips!). Regan still blames herself for Beau's death and starts to become more rebellious. Her father Lee does everything to help everyone survive, including making a soundproof basement for radio contact and his future newborn son.
You may have noticed that while described the world and characters of A Quiet Place, I didn't fully explain the story. That's because the plot, while small, is actually well done and would spoil the movie if I did. A Quiet Placeis actually very entertaining. Is it a masterpiece? Almost…if more questions would have been answered about these aliens. Now while the plot does implement the "what's not scene is the scariest thing" element, I don't think it delivers completely. Some of the questions I had included, "if they can't see, how could they have found Earth?" and "wouldn't the loud noise of gunfire and missiles and scared them away?". I expected answers to these that would have given these aliens more credit, but I didn't get it.
How are the humans? They are all great. Like the recent The Shape of Water, these actors have rely on body language and facial emotion to communicate. Both John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are expressive enough to pull off the unseen tension while raising their children. The breakout star here is really Millicent Simmonds. Not only does she look like a "real" teenager, but she uses her real deafness to her advantage, giving her not just a honest look into a world of silence, but how to respond to people who could never understand her.
It's said that the movie has an underlying theme of parenthood and the responsibilities that it comes with. I wouldn’t say it's underlying, and much of the plot is about accepting responsibilities and understanding that no matter how bad things look, your parents will always care for you. This in turn, does make A Quiet Placemore family friendly then you'd think. It's certainly a scary movie first, but this is something that I think most families could watch together and I think that was director John Krasinski's plan all along.
I'll give this four hearing aids out of five. As far as a movie, it's entertaining. I can't call it a masterpiece like Jawsor Psycho, but if this does get people to talk about it, then A Quiet Placeis doing something right. You can't silence this review; go and see A Quiet Place.