A Quiet Place is the brainchild of writer and director, John Krasinski, who you probably remember from the American remake of The Office and a few other movies that will never matter, but brother, this movie matters. No joke. Not exaggerating. A Quiet Place is probably the best horror movie I have seen in many years. I’m trying to think of a time that a movie caused my heart to race as much as this one did, and I can’t think of a single one. This, my friends, could very well be the horror movie of our age.
Or, maybe not, what do I know?
A Quiet Place takes place in the country following a worldwide invasion by monsters who cannot see, but they can hear very well and, if they hear you, they are going to kill you to death so quickly and so mercilessly that you die without even realizing how screwed you are.
We are introduced to a family living a new way of life as quietly as they can. They speak in sign language, they walk barefoot on paths of sand, and every moment, they strive to make as little noise as possible to survive another day and that’s really all they’re doing… surviving. It’s not life, it’s day by day with them and they know it. The decay of hope is deep and palpable.
Rather than showing the invasion from the beginning, like a typical zombie or alien invasion movie, A Quiet Place picks up almost three months after the fall of civilization. In the first ten minutes, we’re introduced to characters, the rules for this new world are set up, and the consequences of breaking the rules are made known. It’s effective and efficient and because this isn’t a movie about an invastion… as I said, this is a movie about survival and adaptation. There are no bombastic action sequences, explosions, or special effects sequences that cost millions of dollars. This movie is methodical, intense, and thrilling at every turn.
As strange as it sounds, this movie is incredibly uncomfortable to sit through and I don’t mean that as a complaint, I just mean that this movie is like watching your family tiptoe around a field that is covered in land mines. That’s what these characters feel like… A Quite Place makes you care for them and what they’re going through. These people are traumatized and holding on to the one thing they can never let go of: each other. Every single step, every single move, brings them closer and closer to disaster and there is absolutely nothing that you, them, or anyone else can do to stop it. It’s oppressive.
All you can do is watch, and wait.
It almost seems like every single story element in this movie is set to explode in the characters faces. Every single thing has the potential of ending them at any moment and it is so nerve-wracking. This movie is like a tightly-wound spring that could pop at any moment and shred your face. The inevitability of doom is so heavy that you honestly believe that any one of them could be picked off at the slightest mistake.
Folks, I cannot remember a movie that masterfully played with tension and expectation as well as this movie does. It could be that it ingeniously draws you into its world by actually causing you to experience the silence that it’s characters experience. The movie is so dialogue lite that it’s almost like it’s told in vignettes without sound. Even with the quiet of voice, the movie wisely avoids sweeping scores instead forcing you to swim in the hush as well.
It’s amazing to me how uncomfortable and tense that a quiet theater full of people can become.
But, this movie is simply outstanding. All of the actors are on point, including the children who managed to act without saying a word. There are some adults they can’t do that, but these kids pull it off with such ease that it feels so natural at every turn. You buy that they are kids trying to be brave, being cowardly, or being angry and scared. It just makes you love them more.
The direction by Krasinski is tight and well-thought-out, establishing that before mentioned tension that I was telling you about earlier. The story, the thing laughably called a screenplay which I assume was mostly describing what was happening rather than actual dialogue, is smart and clever.
More than anything, A Quiet Place is such a special movie. It’s clever, original, and takes a strange premise and runs with it creating something that we haven’t seen before. It’s highly entertaining, it fills you with all kinds of anxieties, and it will have you clenching your sphincter longer then you thought you could clench it. I have never been this worked up over a nail before.
I know that it is insane to say this in April, but I would not be the smallest bit surprised if A Quiet Place is not the best movie of 2018.