A Quiet Place (2018)

  • Time: 90 min
  • Genre: Drama | Horror | Thriller
  • Director: John Krasinski
  • Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds


A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.


  • Actors giving seething performances with the bare minimum of dialogue. A lacquered, low budget setting with cornfields and contemporary homes that looks like rural Pennsylvania (I could be wrong). Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” being played on headphones via iTunes (cool). Mortifying creatures with cartoon chompers who are nimble and really snap to it. It’s all here in A Quiet Place, my latest review.

    “Place” is post-apocalyptic, refreshing silent film eclectic, Quiet Earth resonant, and atmospheric. Hitchcock would wince for it’s a less gory version of The Descent coupled with a less humorous version of 1990’s Tremors coupled with a less religious version of M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs.

    The pic tells the story of a family who must use sign language to avoid being killed by blind, extraterrestrial varmints who prey by way of audible sounds. Said family could’ve used rifles for self defense. However, they don’t seem to figure that out till “Place’s” ninety-minute running time has eclipsed one hour (spoiler).

    Anyway, you remove the whole rifle aspect and A Quiet Place is disturbing, depressing, and readily effective even if it’s almost unbearable to watch. John Krasinski is behind the camera and also stars alongside his real-life spouse (Emily Blunt).

    In truth, I’ve never known Krasinski to be a horror flick helmer and I never knew he was a filmmaker in general. Nevertheless, his art-house direction is pinpoint, rachet-minded, and calculated. He builds a sense of dread and morbid torment right from “Place’s” startling, opening scene.

    Yeah John’s premise doesn’t always wring true. Sometimes the spider-like creatures show up when there’s no sound, sometimes they hold back when there is sound (huh?), and sometimes they’re not as quick when trying to off certain protagonists (a pregnant woman for example). Still, A Quiet Place is worth “visiting” for its fingernail biting statue, its way of keeping you in its character’s shoes as you exit the theater, and its mark of unsettling constitution. See it if you want your blood to curdle. Rating: 3 stars.

    Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

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  • After two fairly unremarkable outings in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and The Hollars, actor John Krasinski finally establishes his directorial credentials with the suspenseful horror drama, A Quiet Place.

    The film begins on Day 89 in a post-apocalyptic world where silence seems key to survival. A family is seen tiptoeing barefoot through an abandoned grocery store, scavenging for food and supplies. The youngest boy is taken with a toy rocket, which his father Lee (John Krasinski) gently refuses to let him have. His deaf older sister Regan (Millicent Simmonds), seeing her brother’s disappointment and knowing that their father has taken out the rocket’s batteries, hands the toy to him. Unbeknownst to her, her brother has put the batteries back in the rocket. As the family make their way home, they’re startled by the sounds of the toy piercing the air. The mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt) watches in terror as her her husband races to their son. Yet it’s too late. A creature sprints over and eviscerates the boy before Lee can reach him.

    One year later, the family has moved on though not quite. Regan still believes herself responsible for her younger brother’s death and there’s a tension between her and Lee, who insists that it was in no way her fault. Lee’s relationship with Regan and his repeated failure to fix the hearing aid connected to her cochlear implant are not the only complications on the home front. Evelyn is heavily pregnant and, whilst Lee has been building a safe room based on his research that water can help mask sounds, there’s no way of truly knowing whether or not their baby will make it past its first wail.

    It may be worth noting that director Michael Bay serves as one of the film’s producers if only because there are certain moments – the usual false scare or two, that final image that is a tad too hokey though, admittedly, it is sure to elicit a rousing cheer from the audience – that seem more Bay than Krasinski. They’re especially jarring since they are so at odds with the rest of the film, which as such a simplicity and sophistication in its storytelling and execution despite the number of narrative contrivances and lapses in logic. Whilst Krasinski and co-screenwriters Bryan Woods and Scott Beck don’t exactly do anything overly ingenious or revolutionary with the genre, they do cleverly lean in to the gimmick of their premise, utilising sound or the lack thereof in such a way that it is more terrifying than the actual creatures themselves.

    Krasinski stages several nerve-shredding sequences with effective economy and visual flair. The passage where Evelyn goes into labour, having already attracted the creature’s attention when she knocked over a picture frame after stepping on a nail may be the film’s predictable highlight, yet Krasinski mostly sidesteps the usual cheap shocks to instead add further layers of suspense on an already fraught situation. Most of all, he never loses sight of the film’s underlying theme – how can parents protect their children from the dangers of the world – which is the fear that every parent has to live with for all of their lives.

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  • John Krasinski’s directorial debut is a stunning horror film with a heart.
    His family off survivors must live in silence to avoid attracting the Alien-breed monster. The tension is so concentrated and relentless that the audience feels as edgy and threatened as the characters.
    In this post-apocalypse world, mankind manages to sustain itself. If one son is killed for a noisy toy, another is born. His mother smothers her pangs under the monster’s ear. Daughter Regan feels guilty for having given her young brother the fatal toy. She redeems herself, first by saving other brother Marcus from drowning in a granary, then by bringing down the monster. She discovers the beast is sensitive to the sound — the opposite to her deafness — so she ratchets up the sound waves to stun him. Mother Evelyn finishes him off.
    The film speaks to our moment in a couple of respects. The father, Lee, is the usual Krasinski sensitive man. He’s careful to raise Marcus to self-sufficiency and dedicates himself to trying to make Regan an effective hearing aid. Still, he needs Marcus to remind him how desperate Regan is to hear her father still loves her, after her unwitting part in her brother’s death.
    The film thwarts the genre expectation by granting the women the final victory. As he signs his love to Regan, Lee sacrifices himself to distract the monster from his children. For her part, Evelyn dumbly stares down the beast to deliver and preserve her baby and then guns it down.
    Evelyn has one line which may directly address contemporary America. As she and Lee worry about their missing Regan and Marcus, she feels responsible for not having carried the son who was killed. As she cites the parents’ responsibility to protect their children — Every generation’s responsibility to protect and provide for the next — she pitches the film at the GOP presidency all too eager to sacrifice the nation’s future for its present profit: “Who are we if we can’t protect them? we have to protect them.”
    Tell that to Trump’s EPA and Education directors — and his NRA. Krasinski just did.

  • “There’s a kind of hush, all over the world tonight”.
    Rating: 10*.

    What a masterpiece this is! The most novel, the most tense, the most exhilarating, the most edge-of-your-seat Indie horror movie I could hope to see this year.

    It’s 2020 and 89 days after “it” happens, the world is a very different place. Making any noise at all becomes a death sentence…. that bad cold could kill you and nothing seems to be able to prevent mankind from being annihilated one sneeze at a time.

    In what could be a nice “Cloverfield”-style series, the action here focuses in on the resourceful Abbott family: the father Lee (John Krasinski, “Away We Go”) is handy with electronics and back-woods skills; the mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt, “The Girl on the Train“; “Edge of Tomorrow“) has medical training. So they are well suited then to take care of their offspring: the profoundly deaf Regan (Millicent Simmonds); Marcus (Noah Jupe); and their youngest Beau (a cute Cade Woodward). It’s a battle of brains against vicious, relentless and malevolent alien brawn: how far will Lee and Evelyn go to keep their family safe?

    Man, this is a tense film! It doesn’t pull its punches from the get-go and thereafter there is an air of brooding and ever-building menace that gets right under your skin. This is certainly not helped by the fact that there is a ticking clock of an oncoming ‘event’ – no spoilers here – to worry about. As incessantly and inevitably as the rising tide in “The Shallows” a clock ticks down. Thank heavens then that the ‘event’ and the outcome of that ‘event’ are both traditionally such quiet affairs!

    While all of the buzz at the moment is on the 80’s Easter Eggs in “Ready Player One”, here is a movie packed with delights for movie lovers. There are recognisable elements here from such classics as “The Road”, “Signs”, “Witness”, “Alien”, “Jurassic Park”, “Jaws”…. even (traumatically) “Home Alone”! So is it then just a rag-bag collection of stolen moments from other films? No – not at all. This stands tall and proud as a master work in its own right, the standout and unique quality of the movie being its use (or rather absence) of sound… something that works so magnificently as a concept in a movie-theatre.

    I was lucky enough in the late September of 1979 to see (at 10 am in the morning as I remember!) in the Odeon Leicester Square in London, the first ever UK (and probably worldwide) showing of a little film called “Alien”. The cinema was pretty empty, but I have never sat through such an electric viewing. This had some of the same aura about it: a hushed audience, totally gripped. (I agree with Simon Mayo on this though that all snacks, and especially popcorn in scrapy SCRAPY cardboard boxes, should be banned from these screenings… I had to physically move seats away a noisy muncher as the film started!. But for sure, distractions accepted, this is a classic communal movie experience and so is a movie you should most DEFINITELY see in the cinema.

    If there is one Oscar for February 2019 that I think should already be a shoe-in for a nomination, if not a win, it is the sound team led by Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn: breathtakingly spectacular. This is assisted enormously by the musical score of Marco Beltrami (“Logan“, “The Shallows“) which helps augment and annotate the action jump-scares brilliantly.

    Another critical member of the crew for a film like this is the editor, and here Christopher Tellefsen (“Joy“) delivers the goods with tight and effective execution of those cuts (the film sort) that made me leave my seat at least a couple of times.

    Real life couple Krasinski and Blunt share such obvious and tender chemistry that it is impossible to not get emotionally involved. Millicent Simmonds, who is actually deaf from childhood in an inspired piece of casting, is also an acting force to be reckoned with: her only other movie is last year’s “Wonderstruck” that I have yet to see.

    Writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck (with contribution to the screenplay from Krasinski) also deserve praise for an intelligent and highly satisfying plot that never fails to disappoint to the last drop. Every detail, down to the painted footsteps on the un-squeaky floorboards, is just pitch-perfect. It’s also a film that very wisely doesn’t outstay its welcome: 90 minutes of such adrenaline is almost too much for anyone to stand. Krasinski as director keeps everything deliciously tight during that running time with no time to breath, particularly in the frenetic final reel.

    I’ve gushed enough. This is a must see for sci-fi and horror fans of all ages. And with a “BvS quotient” of just 6.8%, it’s enormously good value for money. Go see it!

    (For the graphical review, please visit bob-the-movie-man.com or One Mann’s Movies on Facebook. Thanks).

  • (RATINGS: ☆☆☆☆☆ out of 5 stars)

    GRADE: A-


    IN BRIEF: A modern horror classic that earns its scares with taut direction and strong acting.

    JIM’S REVIEW: Are they man-made robotic predator destroying humankind? Or are they savage alien invaders? It is never explained but the evidence is there…deserted towns, empty stores, streets with nary a person in sight. They’re here and waiting for an iota of sound to signal their swift attack in John Krasinski’s tension-filled horror film, A Quiet Place.

    A family tries to survive these dire conditions and live in a hushed world. Any sound could equal death. The moviegoing audience immediately emphasizes with their dilemma from the start. That is the clever premise behind this thriller. Interesting, but not such an original idea…the hunter being captured by the game theme, but it is handled with a high degree of skill and execution that seems refreshing and innovative. (In fact, I recently a similar effective plot and formula in an episode of the Black Mirror anthology series called Metalhead which was also very well done.) The lean screenplay by Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and the directorconsists of efficiently paced scenes of peril and, just as the stalkers are of the slice-and dice variety, so is Mr. Krasinski’s sparse and razor-sharp precision in creating a frightening world. He eliminates much exposition and hones in on the central theme of a family in crisis and a parent’s responsibility to protect their children at all cost. Yes, there are a few logical missteps dealing with decibel levels rationale…(and why not just throw an object farther away from oneself to distract the attacker since it goes directly for the loudest and closest nearby sound?)

    In A Quiet Place, the family communicate through sign language and gestures. The slightest sound can bring doom to their doorstep. The movie wisely has minimal dialog with subtitles, and utilizes sound effects and visuals to convey the fear. It also makes the moviegoer “listen”, a rarity with today’s annoyingly loud dissonant movie blockbusters that ratchet up the noise. Credit to the sound design and CGI artists, Marco Beltrami’s atmospheric score, shadowy photography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen, Jeffrey Beecroft’s claustrophobic farmhouse design, and, oh yes, the acting.

    What makes this film have its overall impact is the actors involved who show the sadness and madness of their life-or-death situation. The child actors are perfectly cast in conveying their camaraderie and familial ties. Noah Jupe and deaf actress Millicent Simmons are wonderful in their roles. Emily Blunt (Mr. Krasinski’s actual wife) exudes a gamut of emotions and her chemistry with her real-life doe-eyed husband is quite palpable and convincing. (There is a lovely shared moment of the two dancing in silence before Neil Young’s Harvest Moon comes into play.) And it is those quiet “real” moments that give the film its power.

    Without given too much away, the film has many scenes of nerve-wrecking suspense…a scene in a grain silo, a water-filled basement, an invasion in a cornfield, etc., to name a few. There is much to admire in a film that relies less on its gore and violence and more on its characters and actions to deliver genuine scares which are frequently earned.

    A Quiet Place pumps up the volume and its sound of silence rings true. It is one of the year’s best.

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    ANY COMMENTS: Please contact me at: jadepietro@rcn.com

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