A QUIET PLACE - 2018 horror thriller film
Director: John Krasinski.
Cast: John Krasinski / Emily Blunt / Millicent Simmonds / Noah Jupe.
Score: Marco Beltrami.
Cinematography: Charlotte Bruus Christensen.
Content Advisory: PG 13 for terror and some bloody images.
Normally, I don't watch horror movies. But because this one is directed by John Krasinski and because he and Blunt star in it together (WHICH IS SOMETHING I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR IN FOREVER), I had to make an exception.
Krasinski showcases an impressive directorial debut. Having watched interviews with him about the film, heard how close it is to his heart, how passionate he is about it, I also feel like I have a greater appreciation for his work. I know that's how most directors must feel about their projects, but I found Krasinski's experience particularly interesting and inspiring. I can't wait to see what he does next.
The soundtrack is breathtaking. One minute it's tentatively beautiful, the next a crescendo of emotion and urgency. In addition, the frequent lack of sound is also smart and extremely powerful. Sound - and silence - is a big part of this film, and they play with that effectively.
The cinematography is stellar. You feel as if you're spying on the characters, and it's a consistently tilting spectrum of intimate and removed.
To be honest, I feel like A Quiet Place would be considered very tame as far as horror movies go. It ties your stomach up in knots and it is extremely tense, but there's no "AH I'M SO SCARED I'M GONNA FAINT" moments. I'm a big scaredy-cat, but all I felt was hectic tension, sweaty palms, and heartbreak. I guess it's more of a thriller?
Overall, though, I love the story. The premise is fantastic, the story is so gut-wrenching and so freaking emotional (I was a sobbing wreck by the end), and the relationships between the children and the parents are probed at enough that they have some depth. They could've been more fleshed out, but it's still more than a typical horror film would give you.
My only big issue with the characters is the parents. Whereas the kids' personalities are clear from the first few scenes, the parents remain rather one-dimensional. I would have liked to have seen more to their characters and their history. Unfortunately, they're flat. And it's a pity because with actors like Blunt and Krasinski, they deserved more.
Which brings me to: The acting is exceptional. Those children are amazing (yay for child actors who can actually act) and Blunt is magnificent as always.
But the film isn’t perfect. There are a number of aggravating plot issues and illogical writing choices; the primary one being that the actual details of the creatures' hearing and their weakness/connection to the daughter's hearing aid device, is never properly explained. By the end, we still don't have a clear understanding of how it all works. It's poorly developed.
Another example of illogical writing: when Krasinski’s character leaves the safety of the bunker to go in search of his children, why doesn’t he take his rifle – which he had just a few minutes ago – with him? He leaves it with his wife and the baby, but considering that they’re in a more secure, hidden place, it seems more practical that he take it. He’ll have more need for it, surely.
Then there’s the flood. My question: where the heck did all that water come from? Unlike the nail incident – which is beautifully foreshadowed – the pouring water comes at random and is suddenly a critical plot device. Hmm…
Another query (piece of advice?): surely when you’re walking in the wilderness and trying not to make a noise, it would be logical to have your young son – he must be about 4? – walking in front of you, or at least between both parents, where he can be supervised? Maybe don’t let him walk behind your whole group! That’s just common sense. Right?
There’s also the birth sequence. Blunt’s character goes into labour, and get this, it lasts all of a few minutes. Yes, maybe a 12 hour labour would be difficult to write into the plot, but still. Surely that could’ve been written better? The rocket goes off, the creature flees, Blunt screams, and in the next few seconds her husband is racing to save her. A shot or two later he’s cradling her and the newborn child. Say what?! It happened too fast.
A Quiet Place is a captivating, well shot, brilliantly directed and superbly acted horror thriller. It’ll make you sweat and it’ll make you sob – the balance is perfect. If not for some plot issues, it would be an excellent movie.