Review: A Quiet Place (2018)

Director: John Krasinski
Screenwriters: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for terror and some bloody images
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Theatrical Release Date: April 6, 2018
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

A Quiet Place is unlike every horror movie you’ve ever seen.  I’ll admit that I haven’t always liked scary movies, and hated being forced to watch The Ring with some high school friends.  But that was when I wouldn’t even watch movies with lots of blood and such.  I’ve now grown into a person who’s fully capable of watching all kinds of movies, no matter how grotesque or frightening. 

But enough about me.  Quiet Place is something of a miracle, in that it accomplishes so much in the span on 90 minutes.  And movies of this particular genre should be short, as the filmmakers hardly want to scare viewers into oblivion.  This film, directed by Office alum John Krasinski, takes place in a apocalyptic world in which everyone needs to stay silent if they want to stay alive.  The opening scene is in an abandoned store, and features close-ups of this family tip-toeing, shoeless.  The fear of being heard is always there, and in the beginning, a tragedy occurs so quickly that the viewer (or, at least, I was) is immediately hooked. 

The family members are never named, although they are credited with names on IMDb.  Real-life husband and wife couple Krasinski and Emily Blunt (Girl on the Train) are the parents of two children played by Noah Jupe (Wonder) and Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck).  When there is such a small cast, the strength of the movie relies on their shoulders, and this foursome more than lives up to the task.  Krasinski’s first time directing his wife clearly didn’t intimate him or her, as they are both solid.  Blunt, in one particular bathtub scene that has been featured in the trailers, gives so much of herself that she puts all previous horror acting (especially from women) to shame.  There is minimal dialogue, as they all speak sign language; Simmonds’ character is deaf, and it was wise to cast a deaf actress for this role.  Like Sally Hawkin’s Oscar-winning work in The Shape of Water, Simmonds accomplishes so much without uttering a word — and in only her second acting role.  I’m hopeful that this film leads to solid roles for both Jupe and Simmonds.  

Perhaps my one complaint about the movie — and it is a minor one — is that the parents are continuously directing the children to stay quiet (by placing a finger in front of the lip).  To that, I say, “duh.”  There’s no reason for them to keep instructing them to do so; both children are intelligent enough to not when to be quiet (i.e. all the time).  

There are, of course, disturbing, disgusting creatures that surround this family, thereby prompting requiring them to live in silence.  But the creatures aren’t nearly as terrifying as the silence itself, or the sudden sounds that are bound to occur and do.  The script, co-written by Krasinski, fortunately doesn’t rely on jump scares to get the job done.  It relies, instead, on the family’s quiet existence.  Even though it’s a short film, it takes it time reaching the powerful, heartbreaking conclusion.  And, despite everything, there’s hope at the end.  There’s also hope that future horror/thrillers of this nature can be as revelatory, but I doubt that.  

Grade: A-