Movie Review: "A Quiet Place" (2018)
Can I just go ahead and give the review form of a blow job to John Krasinski? Would that be inappropriate? It's not technically his directing debut, but it's the first "big" project from the man that most of the world will always think of as Jim Halpert from The Office. This success of this one is going to draw comparisons to the breakout writing/producing/directing success of Jordan Peele last year with the stellar horror-satire, Get Out.
I started hearing the buzz a few months ago after seeing a teaser for a movie that was super light on dialogue and sound, the hook being that it's a post-apocalyptic tale about people surviving in a world taken over by creatures who hunt by sound. I was intrigued. The teaser was beautifully vague. It looked intense. It had a "hook", as they say in Hollyweird.
If you haven't figured it out from previous reviews by now, I love a movie that doesn't fall easily into one category. A Quiet Place fits that niche snugly. It's a family drama. It's an apocalyptic thriller. It's a horror film. It's damn near an "art piece" (whatever the fuck that really means). If I had to review it in one sentence? Here goes:
I held my breath for an hour & a half straight.
I'm not sure I've ever been that (pardon the pun) whisper quiet in a movie, though I am generally a pretty respectful viewer of others. It wasn't just me, though. It was everyone. It was actually kind of funny to watch, almost distracting. The silence was deafening, if you'll pardon another horrible pun. The poor teenager next to me wept more than once and covered her eyes for at least half the film. God, that's beautiful.
As backstory goes, the film is about Lee Abbott (John Krasinski, The Office) and his family- wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow), deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck), & son Marcus (Noah Jupe, Suburbicon). They are survivors in a post-apocalyptic America where creatures of unknown origin have wiped out virtually all of the population. These creatures are ferocious, terrifying hunters who are blind and track solely by sound. The slightest noise will alert them, and they are having you for dinner in a matter of seconds.
The Abbotts suffer a tragic loss not long after humanity is destroyed. Fast forward some 13 months. They are entrenched on a farm where they live in a root cellar that is soundproofed and only travel VERY carefully on bare feet across self-made sand paths. Making matters more terrifying is the fact that Evelyn is pregnant.
Let that sink in. She's going to have a baby in a world where an errant fart can get you killed. That's some top-shelf heavy shit right there. What a fucked up world to bring a kid into. This isn't like having a baby in, let's say, The Walking Dead. In a world full of zombies you can barricade yourself safely away from the menace. In A Quiet Place the creatures are nearly indestructible. One noise and you are totally fucked.
Oh, the creatures!! These things are nightmare fuel. The design may not be the most shockingly original thing ever, but the execution is fantastic. They're like a praying mantis fucked the Demogorgon from Stranger Things and the monster from Cloverfield in one seriously grotesque three-way. They're crazy fast, chitinous, drippy, & clicky as fuck. It's a great combo.
Honestly, though....this movie excels in the area of the family dynamic. You really feel for this family. The love is powerful and well done, as is the anguish and the trauma that hangs over the family in every bit of sign language and shushed lip. Krasinski and Blunt impressed me greatly. They have great chemistry (they're also a real life couple), and you will believe that bond.
I'll go ahead and say she deserves to win something for that birth scene. Holy shit. It was grueling!
Visually it's a striking movie, as well. The night scenes were shot gorgeously, full of glaring light and high angle farmland. You can see the terror coming. When the lights go red in alarm your pulse quickens a few beats. Fucking beautiful.
I know I'm about the millionth dude already to sing this movie's praises and for good reason. It's worth theater money for sure. Hell, this is a movie designed for a blown away to silence packed house, although it would work well in your silent living room.
When it's got an 8.3 out of 10 on IMDB user reviews and a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes you know the hype isn't bullshit. What's that old saying? 50 million Elvis fans can't be wrong? Well, they damn sure weren't wrong about the King of Rock N' Roll....and the word is true.
A Quiet Place is legit.