A Quiet Place – Movie Review – A suspense-laden tour de force.

A Quiet Place follows Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski) as they are forced to adapt and survive in silence, to protect their children from creatures that hunt and attack anything that makes a loud sound.

From the very beginning, this film introduces the audience and begins to familiarise them, with how both sound and the lack of sound will be utilised in the film. The use of sound is absolutely terrific and plays a significant part in the overall experience. The script is superb, there’s an element of mystery and intrigue that quickly forms as the narrative unfolds, but the screenplay smartly chooses to avoid all clear explanations as to what has caused the world, to be in the current state that it’s in. I love that there’s a strong emphasis on visual storytelling, there’s next to no expository dialogue and as a viewer I was left to use the visuals as a way of piecing certain things together. At it’s core the story is fairly simple. We are following this family as they try to survive whilst living amongst creatures, who hunt based on the loud noises they can hear. Due to this, the family is forced to live in complete silence and often use sign language as a regular form of communication. What this helps to provide is a unique horror film that features very little dialogue, and instead focuses on using the sound and the musical score to drive the suspense and the narrative.

The opening ten minutes are excellent and successfully set the stage for what is to come down the line. What occurs during the opening is also the catalyst for the development of the characters through out the story. I was surprised at how emotionally invested I became with the family. The screenplay develops the characters in such a raw and realistic way, I truly began to care for them which made the moments of peril, even more suspenseful. Some of the key elements the screenplay explores such as parenthood and loss really engaged me on a dramatic level. There’s a consistent sombre atmosphere that the film maintains, the world seems desolate and devoid of hope. It’s impressive how all of this is established without too much of a direct focus on it. This is a very personal story about this one family, yet the screenplay still manages to give me a strong impression of how the world is, without having to spend much time doing so.

The performances on display in this film are wonderful. Emily Blunt is incredibly nuanced as Evelyn, as is John Krasinski as Lee. Their lack of dialogue means the film relies heavily on their ability to convey a rich spectrum of emotions, through their body language and facial expressions. Both characters are emotionally exhausted and despite not being shown much outside of the situation they are currently in, I still managed to feel like there was plenty of history to them and what they had been through. They felt like real people who have experienced many things that has altered them over time. They both handle the drama with such finesse, and their chemistry on screen feels undeniably authentic. That isn’t too surprising considering John and Emily are actually husband and wife outside of the film, but that definitely assists in making their relationship in the film feel very palpable. The younger actors were great as well, especially Millicent Simmonds who portrayed Evelyn and Lee’s deaf daughter Regan. I found myself completely invested in Regan and her character’s arc emotionally, in fact there was a couple times where I had tears in my eyes watching some of the scenes. The emotion and the performances worked hand in hand so well, and Millicent was really impressive. I was also surprised to learn after watching the film that Millicent is actually deaf in real life, which brings a greater level of authenticity to how Regan being deaf is depicted in the film.

This is one of the most suspenseful and utterly gripping experiences I’ve ever had in a cinema. The film posses the power draw the audience in and engage them so much, that it physically makes you want to be as silent as you can possibly be when watching it. It’s very enthralling, and what that creates is a sustained sense of dread that never really lets up. Even when a loud noise occurs, it startles you but the usual relief of tension that you’d get from a jump scare doesn’t occur here. This is because we understand that in this world, loud noises have frightening ramifications. Therefore when we hear a loud noise, it doesn’t release the tension, it just begins to heighten the tension even more. Jump scares don’t typically work for me because I tend to find them predictable, but every moment in this film that featured a loud noise actually startled me which is very rare. And aside from one moment where a non diegetic loud sound was used, the jump scares never felt cheap. They were so well orchestrated using the diegetic sound of things within the scene, to the point where labelling them as jump scares feels like I’m doing those moments a major disservice. Every sound department working on this film are worthy of award recognition, they’ve done a truly fantastic job. The film is extremely intense and suspenseful due to the sound mixing and the sound design, as well as the highly effective dread filled musical score.

John Krasinski not only stars in the lead role but he also directed the film. He constructs some extremely creative sequences that really amplify the terror, it’s pure genius. There’s a handful of very memorable sequences that I love. I spent most of the film with my hand covering my mouth, because I was that engrossed and thrilled with everything I was witnessing. The cinematography is great as well, there’s more than a dozen shots that were stunning for a multitude of varying reasons.

Now I don’t really have anything substantially negative to say about this film, if I were to nitpick I would highlight that the creatures themselves weren’t actually scary. But they were utilised in some interesting and frightening ways. The reason I didn’t find them scary is because you do get to see them multiple times from the second act onwards. Whereas during the first act they are more obscured, that being said I really liked the design of them.

Overall A Quiet Place is a fresh and simply superb addition to the growing list of exceptional modern horror films. It’s provided me with one of the most unique experiences that I’ve ever had in a cinema. It’s frightening, it’s emotional, it’s immersive and it’s a must see. This is a special film.

★★★★★

(5 Stars out of 5)

T.Graham

A Quiet Place – Starring John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe.

Directed by John Krasinski.

Opens in U.K. Cinemas April 6th.

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