We’re not sure what surprises more about A Quiet Place… The fact that John Krasinski, mainly known for his performance as ultra-likable Jim Halpert in the U.S. series adaptation of The Office, is actually directing a horror movie, or that the idea of building a nerve-racking story around characters who, in order to survive, have to avoid making even the slightest sound at all cost, never crossed a screenwriter’s mind until today.
But maybe it was all meant to be. As strange as it sounds, Krasinski possibly was one of few directors who could pull off such a tour de force with finess and wisdom, proving in the meantime that your level of aspiration never should be set in stone. In fact, A Quiet Place, his very first attempt at making a universe as frightening as it is absorbing, is a success in many, many respects.
In theaters today, A Quiet Place follows the chilling fate of Lee (Krasinski), Evelyn (his real-life wife, Emily Blunt) Abbott and their 2 children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe), who live in a wrecked world where mysterious, bloodthirsty blind creatures find their victims through sound. Months after a tragic event afflicted the heartbroken family, the Abbotts try to survive to the best of their ability and ingenuity by keeping their daily occupations completely muted. But with a daughter who’s deaf, and therefore represents a high risk of being found, and a pregnant mother expected to deliver a human being in silence, danger is never too far away.
A gripping, intelligent horror masterpiece
Many monster productions tend to make the common mistake of disregarding character development and sense of style to create space for more gory battle sequences (because apparently, that’s what we want). Thankfully, that’s definitely not the case with A Quiet Place, which, as a matter of fact, makes for the film’s intelligence and most captivating aspects. “Sensationally gripping and emotional,” the movie, written by Krasinski, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, is made of “pure, relentless, moment-to-moment anxiety” generating the feeling that “silence never sounded so terrifying.”
What makes Krasinski’s scary film so distinctive is that it “feels as if it could have been made decades ago.” With A Quiet Place, the actor/director demonstrates he has “clearly absorbed a lesson in conceptual economy” reminiscent of those taught by Hitchcock and Spielberg in the past. With “simplicity and punch,” the film is “a cracking back-to-basic thriller that does not depend too much on what these creatures look like” made of “nerve-distressing moments” that don’t “need a burst of gnarly monster to get an audience vocalizing.”
Get ready for a “dazzling, devilishly clever horror film that goes beyond scares to the intangibles that define us.” Nothing in John Krasinski’s previous work “preps you for the formal intelligence and stylistic daring he instills into every frame here.”
Characters you deeply care for
What raises A Quiet Place “to the next level is the humanism that lies beneath the horror.” With a “nearly dialogue-free script,” the main characters are “convincingly played” through “flawless” acting. “Simmonds, a deaf actress, is as commanding here as she was in her astonishing breakthrough turn last year in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck,” “deftly offering a believable picture of how jeopardy and inner turmoil motivate a lonely adolescent.” Along with her other young co-star Noah Jupe, she makes “every minute count.”
As for Krasinksi, he “excels” as “a sweaty, bearded survivalist whose love for his children asserts itself with devastating ferocity.” But “it’s as a filmmaker that he scores a heart-piercing triumph,” a quality “more than matched by Blunt,” whose performance is a sharp achievement of “expressive emotion.”
Best quotes from the reviews:
“The movie shows that suicide-by-scream is an open-ended possibility.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if H.R. Giger’s Alien mated with Dumbo, wonder no further.” – Justin Chang, L.A. Times
“This new horror classic will fry your nerves to a frazzle.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“I would also have been happy with a ‘Get Out’-like exclamatory title: maybe ‘Shut the F– Up’?” – Robert Abele, The Wrap