I’m warning you NOW, I’m going to spoil a lot. I more than likely will spoil the ending. Okay, I’m totally going to spoil the ending. So, if you haven’t seen A Quiet Place, you best run and cover your eyes. Not responsible for your angst if you continue from here.
Director: John Krasinski
Writers: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski
Stars: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe
Studio: Paramount Pictures
So, let’s get it out of the way: What? Jim Halpert in a horror movie?? No way!!!
Okay, we’re done.
Now, John Krasinski, the actor, I kind of balked at beforehand. But his mild style works in this flick.
Overall, I loved A Quiet Place. It had a great blend of the basic horror elements, twisted to fit this moodier and well, quiet, theme.
We’ve got Krasinski executing a prepper’s worst nightmare scenario with wife Blunt at his side, and the movie opens without really letting us know what’s going on. We just quickly realize these people have to be quiet at all costs for some dire reason. And the instant tension of younger children who are, by nature, pretty incapable of being quiet sets the scene nicely. Within minutes, the severity of the need for silence is shown graphically and heartbreakingly, with lingering effects for the family throughout the rest of the film.
We know now there are things that go bump in the day and the night, and they show no mercy if they hear you. Clearly, something has happened, an alien life of some sort has set foot on terra firma and has turned our world into a smorgasbord. It becomes apparent that the predators are blind, and hunt by sound.
Luckily, the family is prepared for this new way of living, because their oldest child is deaf, appears to be non-verbal, and relies on a cochlear implant. Everyone is well-versed in sign language for communication. It’s unclear if their lifestyle changed to suit the daily threat of the monstrous interlopers, or if they were already established off-the-grid types before the world changed. At any rate, it’s obvious they have established some semblance of a life despite the constant threat of being eviscerated in the blink of an eye if they make a sound.
It’s a great set-up. There are jump-scares, tension aplenty, and empathy-building for the family very early in the film. And to add to the already strained situation…there’s a freaking baby on the way. A noisy, uncontrollable baby.
Dang, Krasinski. Nobody can say you guys came up with an easy script.
What works in this story?
The acting. John and Emily have a natural chemistry that works to establish them as a loving couple on-screen. That matters because I usually really hate real life husband-wife ventures(Eyes Wide Shut, anyone?). But John and Emily sure as hell can act with their eyes. They both convey so much emotion without saying a word, and that really drew me in while watching this in a theater (and trying not to yell at that one jackass who decided that, as a loud chewer, he really needed to go see a quiet movie and annoy everyone around him.) But they made me forget about the guy who somehow managed to wetly slurp his goddamn popcorn every ten seconds.
The kids. Neither child comes off as precocious or pains-in-the-ass, which is my usual impression of child actors onscreen. We’ve got two very capable young artists who are also fantastic at rising to the emotional needs of their characters. Millicent Simmonds is a deaf actress who is absolutely sublime in this role. She gives balance to an emotionally conflicted child with believable bouts of rebellion that are not over the top, or basically really obnoxious.
Noah Jupe is also impressionable as a kid who is struggling to deal with the fear he lives with daily, but slaps us in the face with wisdom and maturity in that rare instance when the characters can verbally interact.
A Quiet Place is not without its flaws. Some of the noise-inducers that bring interactions with the hungry Big Bads are a little too convenient. A caught laundry bag leaves one hell of a sharp nail problem on the stairs, and sorry, if I fought that hard with a bag, I’d lean over to see what the hell caught it in the first place and make sure gangrene isn’t the second worst problem in an already overly complicated life. The kids-in-the-silo situation has a little too much luck on their side, and they should totally have died several times over in that. A random water leak issue is a little too random. That iPod should have brought some carnage upon our dancing hero and heroine. When we finally see the Big Bad in real detail, it ends up looking like a Stranger Things cameo by the Demogorgon, because for some reason, Big Bads seem to have trendy looks. I guess you could trace it from Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, to the Big Bad of Cloverfield, to Stranger Things and now A Quiet Place. Toothy, spindly, sometimes bloomy weirdness.
And why the bloody hell are you getting pregnant in a silence Apocalypse, dudes???? Condoms are free and lootable in your scenario. Double up on that shit.
That all pales in comparison to the intelligent and heartfelt tone to this story, though. I can forgive them their brief trespasses, because it is still a horror film, and we need to have our nail-biters as viewers. What matters most is that they made us care about their fates.
FINAL SPOILER ALERT-I’M SERIOUS. DON’T LOOK IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS!!!!
As for those fates, oy, they made it hurt. Krasinski, in all his sad eye greatness, sacrificed himself to save his children in a manner that made this bitch weep like a baby in the theater, which is really hard to do in absolute silence and you don’t want everyone hearing your nasal passages collapse in agony. But they still managed to recover and pull an ending that made me dry my tears and try to choke down a cheer of girl-power!!
Mom and daughter survive their dance with a really pissy, bloomy beastie, and they finally figure out the fix with these bastards, something that was hinted at several times until the Epiphany! Moment. Instead of succumbing to grief and despair, we see Mom and daughter share a look of badassery, and with a rack of the shotgun, the movie ends with us knowing these two will make those critters regret messing with our Jim Halpert, dammit!
So, yeah, basically…kick-ass movie, folks.
My rating for this movie is: Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm….
–Primary Bitch Has Spoken