A Quiet Place movie cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
A Quiet Place movie director: John Krasinski
A Quiet Place movie rating: 3.5 stars
How hard is it to stay silent when all you want is a good scream? In a clever little twist on horror films, where things go bang, enforced silence is the central premise of A Quiet Place. Written by Bryan Woods and Scott Peck, and co-scripted by director Krasinski, the film requires only one thing of its actors: to make as little noise as possible. And puts everyone, from newborns to old men, in harm’s way — not respecting any taboos when it comes to that.
We meet Family Abbott 40-odd days into an unexplained catastrophe that has left cities empty. They are in a deserted supermarket, clothed for winter but for their bare feet, stocking on their supplies, when there is deathly panic as the youngest reaches out for a toy rocket and it almost topples. Father Lee (Krasinski) takes out the batteries from the toy, and tells the boy he can’t have it as it is too dangerous. A shadow passes by the front door, mother Evelyn (Blunt) gives it a glance, and soon after, the family leaves, with the boy trailing behind — far too behind.
You notice that gap, as the film wants you too, building its sense of dread with several such careless but seemingly harmless acts. Almost immediately, it is established that some otherworldly creatures are stalking the world, or at least this part of it. And as we zoom to almost a year later, it is clear that the only other thing humans have established so far is that these creatures could be blind and navigate and attack by the means of their advanced hearing. Hence, the need to keep silence.
This is ‘Day 472’, and after that, A Quiet Place barely negotiates two days more as the Abbotts, underground, in hiding and stretched tense, try to keep a family going, with another child on the way. Anything can give them away, from a rusted iron poking out of a staircase to a Monopoly dice rolled on an uncovered wooden table. When it’s quiet at all times, no hour is safe, from bright sunshine to midnight. Meanwhile, the baby could come any second.
Krasinski employs very few tricks in this simple story, except perhaps using children too often to turn up the horror, particularly inside a silo holding grains. Despite its short length, the film also can seem repetitive at times in how the creatures stalk the family. The scene where Krasinski’s real-life wife Blunt is put through extended labour could have done with some editing.
However, Blunt herself, as the duo of Simmonds and Jupe playing Evelyn and Lee’s other children, puts in a chilling performance. She is scared and brave, tender and tough, tired and lively, all at the same time. Simmonds, a deaf American actress, is outstanding as the one person in the family who is at place in this world and who, it is gradually revealed, feels the most out of it. Why is it so? How is it so? Who is to blame? The film un-peels these questions, in what might be its most effective and unsaid effort. The fact that the Abbotts may have survived because the condition of their daughter Regan, played by Simmonds, meant they already knew sign language is a nifty little touch anyway.
As is the film’s title. Could so much disquiet lurk in a quiet place?