A Quiet Place Review
Review by Owen Herman
Directed by and starring John Krasinski, A Quiet Place is an intelligent modern horror that opens with a startling sequence and doesn’t let up for the entirety of its ninety-five-minute runtime. It stands out against the rest of the genre, providing an intense, emotional, scary, and utterly gripping experience that will leave audiences shaken and acutely aware of every little noise they make.
The premise for A Quiet Place is simple: noise will get you killed. Mysterious creatures roam around the world, hunting anything they can hear. A family must try to survive by living in near silence, resulting in them being consistently on edge as every tiny movement, even a breath, could be their last. The film features almost no spoken dialogue, with the family communicating through sign language. The fantasy element aside, A Quiet Place is a fascinating glimpse at life for those who really live without sound.
The premise enables the filmmakers to really have fun with sound. The low volume creates a constantly tense atmosphere. The score never overpowers this, and the film knows when best to use more traditional musical beats and when best to revert to complete silence. This combination results in some great scares, even if there is a slight reliance on quiet quiet bang jumps. The best part of the sound design comes with how different characters hear, for example the sound cuts out completely when it is demonstrating the perspective of a deaf character. This is intelligent filmmaking that adds another unique dimension to the overall experience.
Emily Blunt stars alongside her real-life husband, with the couple’s fictional children being played by Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, and Cade Woodward. Simmonds, who is deaf both in the film and real life, helped Krasinski in portraying deafness in a convincing manner. Both her and Noah Jupe’s performances are surprisingly compelling, particularly when you consider their youth and relative inexperience. The two enable the film’s more emotional moments to really hit home, thanks to their strong performances. Emily Blunt gives a magnificently physical performance, with a nail biting scene featuring her hiding in a bathtub being the movie’s highlight.
A Quiet Place is a testament to intelligent filmmaking. The way it builds tension and releases it is stunning. The runtime makes for the perfect enjoyably scary experience – had it been longer it might have been unbearable. While the sound design will be rightfully recognised as brilliant, the writing (by Krasinski, Scott Beck, and Bryan Woods) may escape due praise. To write a screenplay featuring little dialogue that still manages to create a sci-fi scenario with no unnecessary exposition, an engaging story, and characters we root for, is exceptional. A well-crafted horror that delivers in almost every aspect. Just hope that you’re not sat next to a noisy popcorn eater.