Director: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
Run Time: 90 mins
A Quiet Place is an efficient, taut sci-fi horror that has multiple moments of brilliance. Actor-director John Krasinski’s third effort behind the camera follows a family in post-apocalyptic rural America who have to resort to sign language to communicate otherwise they will be murdered by blind yet hyper-sensitive creatures. It’s a simple premise but one that Krasinski economises on with some particularly effective set pieces as members of the family attempt to protect their lives. There is one scene of Hitchcockian suspense where a character tries their best not to make a sound despite it being an involuntary response and other characters trying to lure the creatures away – it’s just genius. This is further heightened by Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s bleak cinematography and a clever mixture of shots to make the familiar surroundings seem fresh. Marco Beltrami’s neck-prickling, pulse-raising score also does a lot of heavy lifting to make up for the film’s silence but the more emotive moments of the score are rather manipulative.
Despite the near unanimous praise, A Quiet Place faulters in its logic. One really has to suspend any manner of disbelief as a key choice that the family have made is extremely questionable and the rest of the film hinges on it. The climax also is rather unsatisfactory and feels like a cheap get-out-of-jail card to satisfy moviegoers. If you can give the film a pass on these two aspects, it’s a riveting film but this does lessen the effect of Krasinski’s aims.
There’s certainly a lot to like in A Quiet Place and it’s good to see filmmakers try to push the boundaries of the horror genre which has been going from strength to strength recently. It most closely parallels the exemplary 10 Cloverfield Lane in tone and its subject matter, although the latter is a far superior film. Although A Quiet Place has moments of brilliance and Krasinski has strong intentions, whilst an admirable effort, it is ultimately flawed.