A QUIET PLACE Review
So, a comedian is directing a horror film? It’ll never work!
Is what I would have said had “Get Out” not blown everyone away and become an Oscar Winning Film. Retrospectively, it makes sense that comedians be deft at horror; layering tension and guiding the audience to an effective pay-off. Now, where “Get Out” was a dark-comedy with a beautifully devastating commentary of racism in Western society, “A Quiet Place” is a more straight forward yet emotionally gut-wrenching.
“A Quiet Place” focuses on a typical Nuclear-family with Krasinski as a desperate father figure, real life wife Blunt as the emotionally core of the family; Noah Jupe as a son who rejects his grooming as protector of the family; and an astounding turn from Millicent Simmonds as the deaf-daughter who feels ostracised from the family dynamic. They must survive a terrifying world together: an analogy for new parenthood (in the form of alien/monsters that have an incredible sense of hearing).
It is inconsiderate of Krasinski’s directing to call this a horror film (unless you hate farms and family emotions). This is a taut thriller with a masterful use of the film medium as a story-telling device; a lingering shot on a nail is an effective use of the ‘Chekov’s Gun’ theory. The story is not as air-tight or intricate as Peele’s “Get Out” but the draw of this is the emotional investment the audience will have with the family.
Most horror films can be separated into two characters: the artistic film that focuses on tone more than scares and usually has the monster represent something (“The Babadook” (2014)); or the horror where the scares are not as effective but made so due to the strength in the characters (i.e. “IT: Chapter One” (2017)). “A Quiet Place” leans closer to the latter, with a reliance on effective jump scares, built on the audience’s attachments to the characters. Much like an action movie, you only care about the spectacle if you care about the characters in it.
Krasinski and Blunt have a great dynamic; almost as if they’re actually married. The real stand-out if Millicent Simmons, real-life deaf actress. She conveys more range in her face and hand gestures than most actors double her age. One scene is made raw by the emotional baggage she brings to the scene; the frustration at failing to hear.
One stand-out (for either positive or negative reasons) is the ending, which is badass but jarring given the consistent tone of tension throughout the film. It is a cathartic, fist pump of a moment that doesn’t feel deserved.
“A Quiet Place” is an effective thriller due to the focus on the characters, with masterful use of the film medium as a storytelling device from first-time director John Krasinski, that surprises and is simultaneously heart breaking/warming.