2017 was an incredibly influential year for horror with “Get Out” and “It” bringing serious and impressive entries to the genre. Audiences have spoken and given their support in full to the new generation of auteur directors and writers making their mark on the criminally underrated category of film. This year's “A Quiet Place” is the next best entry
Directed by John Krasinski, “A Quiet Place” follows a family trying to survive in the apocalyptic near future. With gruesome creatures that exclusively hunt by sound, the family must adapt to a new world and remain silent while trying to maintain any aspects of a normal life. The film stars Krasinski, and his real-life wife Emily Blunt, as the matriarch of the family that happens to be 9-months pregnant at the beginning of their story. As the couple struggles to educate their children on how to survive in such a world, they also attempt to prove humanity can exist in the absence of sound.
The best element that the film has to offer is a stellar directorial feature by Krasinski. Before the film’s debut at
Krasinski’s sound design ironically adds to the quiet nature of the film by building a sense of realism behind the film’s premise. Listening to the quaint sound of corn stalks swaying or bare feet walking across sand brings the audience into the scenario and makes them question their ability to survive in pure silence. Once the thrills of the film begin, the sound mixing is often the only stimulus that the characters, and therefore the audience, have to interpret in order to follow the narrative. The subtle choices that Krasinski makes are incredibly effective and organically move the story along.
One of the best decisions that the director made in putting this film together was hiring his wife to star alongside himself. Emily Blunt provides the thriller with her best dramatic performance yet and increases the caliber of the film past any generic scary movie. The majority of the tension-heavy scenes completely rely on Blunt’s ability to sell the fear and emotion associated with that anxiety. Her character is given the most difficult situation to handle within this quiet world and she certainly does her best with the material. Newcomer Millicent Simmonds also gives a nuanced performance as Blunt’s deaf teenage daughter. The character attempts to reconcile with her father after tragedy and struggles with being the only deaf member of a family who relies purely on sound for survival. As a deaf actress herself, Simmonds is able to portray the raw emotion that one can only imagine having to deal with in that scenario. While both Blunt and Simmonds undeniably give impressive performances in the feature, the film doesn’t necessarily give them their best opportunity to shine.
This film, unfortunately, fails to complete the undeniably clever premise that it promises. Without spoiling anything, the film often makes the choice to have critical character moments happen off screen. Just when the audience is lead to believe they are in for a thrilling and visceral sequence, the film would cut away and let those actions occur within the background of the narrative. Consequently, Krasinski’s 90-minute feature feels more like an independent short film. I am still unable to decipher if this was an intentional move or not, but I have to say it left me disappointed after viewing. In addition to the film’s desire to cut away from the action, Krasinski also chooses to leave the audience with an ambiguous ending that might not hit the right mark for all audiences. Some films have successfully been able to achieve this creative endeavor, but this thriller doesn’t go quite far enough.
Overall “A Quiet Place” succeeds at displaying the talent both Krasinski and Blunt have to offer in their respective fields. Krasinski has already signed on to direct and produce another thriller for Paramount Studios, while Blunt can be seen in the titular role in “Mary Poppins Returns” this Christmas season. Krasinski has successfully moved on from his comedic roots and is certainly a director to watch out for in the future.
Final Grade: B-