It’s ironic that the most striking thing about a film called A Quiet Place is the sound. The first thing to hit you while watching the movie is the silence. Not just the silence on screen but also the silence in the theater. There are a number of movies that go long stretches without any dialogue but I can’t recall anything quite like this one. It’s not just a lack of dialogue but the haunting lack of any other sounds. The faint sound of footsteps are the only thing you hear at times. This serves to create a creepy, tense atmosphere and it makes every sound above a whisper resonate like a gunshot.
A Quiet Place is a movie about a family trying to survive in a world overrun by creatures that hunt by sound. These creatures are big, scary and vicious. The tension is turned all the way up from the beginning in this film and it never really lets up. You become so aware of the lack, and consequences, of sound that even the cough of a fellow theater goer will make you jump.
The movie has a ton of jump scares. That’s usually a knock on a horror film but not in this case. These aren’t the cheap jump scares that you will find in lesser made movies. There is nothing manufactured about them. A Quiet Place is so well crafted that it earns each and every one.
The cast of of the movie is very small. The story centers around four main characters, the Abbott family. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt play the parents. They are both good actors who deliver high level performances here. Their efforts are matched by Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, who play their children. Having such a small cast means that there is a lot riding on each of the performances. This is a risky proposition when half of those roles are being played by children. The risk is increased when those children are playing non-speaking roles. Clearly this had the potential to go off the rails in a terrible way. The kids delivered though and it’s impossible not to be impressed with what they have done. Anytime an actor plays a non-speaking character, who is a large part of the story, and they pull it off it’s a huge accomplishment. Simmonds and Jupe show a range of emotions in this film with just the expressions on their faces and the look in their eyes. To be able to pull that off at their young ages is nothing short of incredible.
Whenever there is a great performance from a child, the director gets a lot of the credit. I have no idea how much credit Krasinski (who also co-wrote the screenplay) deserves for what the actors did. I do know that he just jumped onto the list of directors that I will be playing close attention to. The atmosphere that he was able to create, the world that he was able to build and the decisions that he made were all spot on. The movie looks great and it sounds great.
A huge part of that soundscape is the score by Marco Beltrami. Initially I questioned the use of a score in the film at all. Those doubts faded away quickly however. The music is beautiful and haunting and punctuates the big moments perfectly. Although there is still a part of me that wonders how the movie would play without the score, I have no doubt that including it was the correct decision.
It’s only the beginning of April but I believe that A Quiet Place is going to be one of the best horror films of 2018. If I had to put money on it, I would say that A Quiet Place is going to be one of the best films of 2018 period. Get to the theater and see this before it’s gone. I don’t think that the immersive experience can be recreated at home and it’s not an experience you want to miss.