When it comes to the horror genre, the hype train seemingly runs on every hour on the hour. If it isn’t “the scariest film you’ll ever see”, there’s a good chance it is “based on the terrifying true story”. You may even hit the jackpot and get a film that’s “the scariest true story ever”! Whatever the case may be, everyone is looking for the next big thing. The remake avalanche is coming to an end (thankfully), and original horror is where it’s at (see: The Babadook, The Witch, Don’t Breathe, Get Out).
A Quiet Place instantly joins the ranks of the films above as an absolute must-see, one that transcends the horror genre and manages to convey almost as much heart as it does fright. Simply put, A Quiet Place is one hell of a fantastic film.
If any project is going to get the world to realize his name is John Krasinski and not Jim Halpert, it’s this one. Krasinski served as executive producer, writer, director and star of the best horror film of the year so far. And no, it’s not too soon to make that declaration. It’s going to take an equally damn near perfect film to knock A Quiet Place off of the throne in 2018.
Krasinski shines in front of the camera and aces it in the director’s seat. It certainly didn’t hurt that he didn’t have to search far to find his leading lady in the film- his real-life wife Emily Blunt’s take as the mother of a family living in a post-apocalyptic world is certainly worthy of some award recognition. The natural connection between husband and wife onscreen serve the film beautifully.
In the not-so-distant future, Earth has been devoured by a species of blind, vicious monsters who find their prey through sound. The slightest noise can send a beast charging at you faster than you can say, “batteries not included”.
Lee (Krasinski), Evelyn (Blunt) and their children are left to fend for themselves and try to figure out what (if any) weakness the monsters have. The family communicates almost completely through sign language for the entire ninety-minute length of the film, which only serves to fray the nerves even more for audiences enjoying this film in theaters. It’s an incredibly powerful sensory experience and is absolutely best viewed on the big screen.
Shortly after the film begins, we learn that Evelyn is also expecting. A major theme of A Quiet Place is, naturally, a parent’s fierce instinct to protect their children. Again, the fact that Krasinski and Blunt are married and parents in the real world only adds an emotional weight and credibility to the film.
This movie doesn’t waste much time in laying the dread on thick. I was left to pick my jaw up off the floor before the title even appears onscreen.
We follow the family for a little over the year. Son Marcus (Noah Jupe) nervously ventures into the woods with his father to learn how to hunt and scavenge. Daughter Regan (an incredible Millicent Simmonds) struggles with the heartache that befell the family at the beginning of the film as well as finding her place within the group. Regan is deaf in the film (Simmonds is in real life) and when we see the world from her point of view, the film is completely void of sound, thus illiciting a primal fear that most films simply can’t conjure up these days. One can argue that Simmonds is truly the star of this film. You probably wouldn’t get an argument from Krasinski or Blunt.
Like their adult counterparts, Simmonds and Jupe excel in their roles. Jupe really nailed it with his mannerisms and facial expressions during the terrifying moments. I left the theater commenting that he legitimately looked horrified throughout the film.
Michael Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes produced A Quiet Place and Bay recently acknowledged that production companies are setting their sights on original horror films these days, as opposed to the remake avalanche that tried its best to bury the genre over the last decade or so. So while we can appreciate A Quiet Place as a top tier horror flick in its own right, we may also be able to thank it for helping to end the remake plague.
As of this writing, the film with a $17 million budget has raked in over $70 million at the box office- in less than a week. It’s safe to say that the best place to be when you’re looking for a great horror gem is A Quiet Place.