A Quiet Place
Aida Vucic | 03/04/2018
A Quiet Place, an effectively haunting film that, while on the spectrum of horror, certainly leans more toward thriller, manages to actually offer an intriguing, thought-out story lead by brilliant actors; a feat uncommon in this genre.
The film focuses on the story of a family under siege from an alien life form that has seemingly decimated humanity and does so through sound. To survive, humans are forced to live a life of silence; no talking, no machines, nothing. After having lost their youngest child/brother in the early minutes of the film, the film flashes a year forward and the family seem to have established a routine; a way of life that is void of sound, assisted by their pre-existing knowledge of sign language due to their eldest daughter being deaf. But this sense of safety is in jeopardy due to Evelyn’s (Emily Blunt) impending delivery date. While the family have lived largely in silence for in excess of 400 days, what’s more deafeningly silent is the family’s grief and blame around the loss of their youngest child and brother.
As the title suggests, the movie has sparse dialogue. Thereby, any sound comes out shriekingly loud, from the simplest toy aeroplane to the breaking of glass, cutting the deafening silence which in itself is sufficiently freaky to have audiences on the edge of their seats for the duration of the film. The score by Marco Beltrami is equally eerie, creating a sense of suspense and dread, which lifts the film. As both director and star, John Krasinski shows malleability in his abilities and has distinguished himself as both a credible director and actor. The film itself is not free of shortcomings, with a number of clear plot holes, but these can be forgiven for a genre often characterised for being rife with inconsistencies.
The film employs its cast to deliver performances above and beyond, with little more than a few actual verbal exchanges between one another and consisting of little more than four actors. Somehow, each is able to form a clear connection with the other; from the slow dance between Blunt and Krasinski (probably an easy feat given their real-life couple status) or the self-blame and strained relationship between Millicent Simmonds and Krasinski. Simmonds casting as Regan was a triumph for disability actors, and the disabled community. Films of late have been criticised for treating disability as a costume, as many of these roles go to able-bodied actors. Whilst sometimes it may be necessary, this is a clear example where Simmonds’ impairment is her advantage, as she delivers a standout performance.
A Quiet Place takes a frequented synopsis and imbues it with a fresh and stirring style. While there are small hints of the typical foundations of a horror, it is, for the most part, a provocative film built around a family, with a tale like that of our own, only in a background not so familiar.