A Quiet Place: Quit Yer Hollarin’, by Rudie Obias
John Krasinski might be best known as “Jim Halpert” from The Office, but over the years, he has tried to distance himself from the loveable “nice guy” persona that character was famous for. He played an underhanded environmental advocate in Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land, a muscle-bound Navy SEAL turned soldier of fortune in Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, and a shifty and dishonest lawyer in Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit. And now, Krasinski finds himself as a protective father and survivalist in A Quiet Place.
The new horror film begins with a barefoot family rummaging for food and medicine in a near-empty grocery store in an abandoned town. It’s been 89 days after a mysterious global event that turned the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life into absolute silence. In fact, a majority of A Quiet Place is nearly dialogue free with most communication via American Sign Language and subtitles for the audience.
Krasinski plays the patriarch of the family with his real-life wife Emily Blunt playing the matriarch. The pair has three children; the eldest daughter, played by Millicent Simmonds, is deaf, which is why the family is fluent in ALS. The people of the movie have to be silent because the world is now populated with hideous aliens who are blind and can’t smell, but instead have heightened hearing. So the only way to stay safe in this world is to stay silent. Even the slightest whisper could trigger the monsters to your location and their vicious feeding frenzy.
After the family gets their supplies, they journey back to their isolated home. However, the youngest of the three children found a small space shuttle toy at the grocery store and turns on its loud siren that alert the monsters. Krasinski’s character tries to stop the sound in time but it’s too late for the small child. The movie then jumps about a year later. The matriarch is now pregnant, while her family still struggles to survive and keep going.
This is the first 10 minutes of A Quiet Place, which was also directed by Krasinski. The new world and its dangers are expertly set up, the stakes and consequences are artfully shown, and a small child dies a horrific death. Krasinski does an amazing job telling a story through imagery and movement without tedious exposition or explanation. You simply understand how the story and characters works by watching it (how novel).
You also understand how important silence is to the story, so just the hint of any noise will trigger a response. This is one of the few horror movies that uses “jump scare” techniques to benefit the story and the filmmaking. Every bit of noise in this film is exaggerated to emphasize danger, so when the movie is completely silent, Krasinski is slowly building tension for an epic release.
Make no mistake about it, A Quiet Place is a white knuckler that doesn’t settle for cheap scares but rather tense and unsettling moviegoing with a 95-minute running time. It made me so uneasy watching this family go about their daily life, as my investment in their personalities and fears deepened throughout. Krasinski not only made a thrilling and scary horror film, he also made an effective family drama about coping with the loss of a loved one, especially going through a trauma like that without the ability to talk about it in a meaningful way.
The family has to be silent for survival but they also have to be silent about a death in the family. The remaining family members all blame themselves for the loss and they can’t talk about it with each other. This leads to resentment and mistrust, as monsters are lurking in the shadows waiting for the slightest sound for the hunt.
A Quiet Place is a fantastic moviegoing experience, especially if you watch it in a crowded theater. The filmmaking is so on point that you’ll find yourself also being completely silent in your seat with the fear of triggering the aliens’ attack. Maybe skip the crunchy popcorn and nachos while watching this one.