Review: A Quiet Place

Director(s)John Krasinski
Principal CastJohn Krasinski as Lee Abbott
Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abott
Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott
Noah Jupe as Marcus Abott
Release Date2018
Running Time 90 minutes

A Quiet Place is that rare horror movie that unites both mainstream and cinematic horror fans. The story and its presentation is coherent on its surface level and is easy to follow so it doesn’t come off as confusing or ambiguous. The scary monster in the movie is revealed early on and isn’t kept hidden away from the camera the whole time. This makes it easy to digest for people who aren’t used to the weird places horror can go to. However, Krasinski doesn’t sacrifice artistic integrity in his pursuit of reaching a broader audience. The movie has gorgeous shots, genuinely scary scenes that aren’t cheap jump scares, and some real emotional moments.

The story follows the Abott family as they try and survive in a post-apocalyptic world over-run by terrifying alien creatures that hunt through their sense of hearing. In a world where the smallest noise has the possibility of leading to death, the family is forced to adapt to the world around them. I love how intelligent each member of the family is. None of them feel like they have plot armor and most of their actions make sense. In particular, the children, Regan and Marcus, come off as incredibly grounded and developed. Despite, their post apocalyptic grooming, they’re still developing kids with lots of growing left to do. They both strike a balance between competent survivor and child. In particular, Millicent Simmonds does a great job in portraying a teen angst and sadness against the post apocalyptic background. I was surprised at how effective it was. Normally, something like that would grind my gears.

I love how effective the creatures are in the movie. They’re used consistently so they never feel like a plot convenience. It’s demonstrated that they hone in noise, but that they don’t necessarily respond to every noise. This means that accidental noises aren’t a death sentence but are still terrifying because of their potential risks. Subtle details about the creatures’ nature and abilities are littered through the movie and I was astounded with how many clues I missed from my first viewing. I understand feeling frustrated at the early reveal of the creature. You’re not supposed to “show the shark” early because it ruins the expectation and build-up to the creature. However, I don’t mind it in the case of this movie. The decision to show them early on is done intentionally because the focus of the movie is the family and the way they grow and develop with each other in their new environment. The creatures are only a facet of the family’s respective story, and as a result they’re not the main focus of the movie.

As you’d expect from a horror movie about noise, sound design is on point. The movie actually refrains from awful jump scares and slowly builds up to its scares. Yes, there are jump scares, but they’re all justified given the nature of the plot and the way the situations come about. It’s sure to satisfy people who want to be scared and not annoy people who are put off by the horror genres increasing reliance on them. The movie is quiet for the most part, so when sound does come up its meaningful. It’s why I recommend watching this with absolutely no distractions. You want to be fully immersed so your ears can go through the experience with you. The score is used sparingly, but when it does come in its always purposeful. It always suits the mood and accentuates the emotional beat at the heart of the scene.For example, when A Quiet Life starts playing during that scene in the third act, I could feel my heartstrings being tugged at.

The movie succeeds because it gets us invested in our lead family. Despite the problems they go through and the situation they find themselves in, they never really stop loving one another. In a world ravaged by alien creatures, love is the one constant they have that can serve as a source of meaning. The way the movie tackles the love between a parent and a child and the lengths one party will go for another is touching and is something a lot of us can relate to. It’s not deep or ambiguous, but it’s poignant and resonant. This is the kind of movie that’ll make you hug your loved ones a bit tighter afterwards.

Report Card

TLDRA Quiet Place is the rare mainstream horror movie that critics and audience members can enjoy together. It’s scary and coherent on the surface, but is emotionally poignant in the way it approaches its subject matter. If you can get past a few “why?” moments, you’re in for a meaningful and entertaining trip.


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