Movie Review: “A Quiet Place”

   I didn’t have what I would call strong expectations heading into this film. Although it feels like we are amid a renaissance for genre films, with critically acclaimed films like Get Out  and the box-office juggernaut that was the recent adaptation of Stephen King’s IT, I often opt not to base my anticipation on what many critics say.

   Although Ouija: Origin of Evil and Annabelle: Creation might have been superior to their predecessors, I didn’t love them. And although It Comes at Night and The Witch were structurally efficient and I appreciated their technique and execution, I didn’t hold them in nearly as high regard as what critics did. I applaud originality, imagery, and a strong central conflict most often, and with them, while I felt their execution was on-point, what they were executing simply didn’t strike me as unique or original.

   I went into A Quiet Place expecting a film on-par with one of them, a slow-burn many would acclaim for its technique, but I would leave feeling shortchanged as far as entertainment and innovation is concerned. And, for what it’s worth, I apologize if you enjoyed one of the films I mentioned, but it is relevant in showing what my expectations for the film were, what my tastes are, and more or less, whether my opinion is likely to parallel to your own.

   From a box-office standpoint, somewhere, Paramount executives must be walking around not knowing what to do with themselves, because I can’t remember the last time one of their films had as strong of a return on investment. Last year, Paramount Pictures had enormous misfires like Monster Trucks, Ghost in the Shell, and Downsizing, alongside disappoints with Baywatch, Mother, Rings, and Transformers: The Last Knight, and this year, they have only released two other films besides this, Sherlock Holmes and Annihilation, and both are on-pace to cost Paramount a hefty chunk. A Quiet Place won’t magically fix all their problems, but the fact that it is on-pace to garner one-hundred million dollars domestically by the end of its second weekend alone with a production budget of less than twenty million, I would say they have a reason for some celebration.

   A Quiet Place is an American horror film directed by John Krasinski, who stars in the film alongside his wife Emily Blunt, the film which is, curiously, produced by Michael Bay’s company, Platinum Dunes, a company that brought us horror remakes of Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is based on a screenplay written by Krasinski, Bray Woods, and Scott Beck. One reason to rejoice, if nothing else, is that Platinum Dunes has stated that, with the success of A Quiet Place, they will focus on original horror as opposed to horror remakes. In this film, the story follows a family that must live their lives in silence in order to keep themselves hidden away from these monstrous creatures that, while blind, are able to target them through sound.

   Something I have adopted as of late with a lot of the films I watch, is I try my best not to watch too many trailers or too much footage about any film I am interested in. I went into this film without knowing what it was about, without knowing any real details. A Quiet Place doesn’t follow the standard of a lot of conventional horror films, and for that, it is a welcome change of pace from the type of films we so often receive. It is a slow burn film, but unlike what plagues a lot of other films, I feel as though the concept is brimming with ideas and that the film succeeds very well at establishing its conflict.

   When other films feature characters doing busywork or tasks, if the film itself doesn’t find a way to make those moments entertaining or suspenseful while they build their atmosphere, it can sometimes feel like a tedious or dull experience. Ultimately, I believe a good film should entertain and use its time wisely. Although having a long scene of a character chopping wood might help build the setting of a film or your preferred sense of realism, at the same time, if it doesn’t serve a real purpose and you don’t have real, genuine conflict behind your slow burn, you will have a boring film.

   What I believe A Quiet Place accomplishes with their concept is that I think that, through its conflicts, and the way it establishes the threat, I think that it elevates even the driest scenes with a cloud of consequence. Something else I think it succeeds at is having a unique and intriguing premise to justify its approach. I enjoy the concept a lot, and in a way, it goes to what director Fede Alvarez did with Don’t Breathe, but, perhaps, flipping his already unconventional concept on its head. Fede Alvarez’s approach to Don’t Breathe was to take away from the villain and still try to make him a threatening and fearful figure, where A Quiet Place blinds its antagonist and challenges itself and the story to carry itself on sound.

   I think that is what I like about the horror aspects in A Quiet Place the most. Although the creatures themselves certainly wield a presence, watching them maneuver around freely. It is less them and almost more the fear of our characters attracting them than when they arrive. Whether it be something as simple as knocking over a picture-frame, I spent a lot of the film gritting my teeth for every sudden noise, especially from the way the film convinces you early on that no one is off limits.

   The film artfully instills a feeling of tension and does so in truly unique ways, but, in a lot of ways, it isn’t even what I enjoyed most about the film. The actors in this film delivered considerable performances, bolstered significantly by the notable emotion depth powered behind the script, which had both ugliness and surprising warmth.

   Something I like to make a note of which I am in the theater, is I like to make a note of the audible responses that individuals in the theater give. Whether it is reacting to a jump scare or something grisly shown on the screen, or something else entirely, and I was surprised to find that I heard more than a few people crying while watching A Quiet Place, and that’s a testament to how much it can make you care about the characters on the screen. Other aspects worth mentioning included the special effects of the creatures and the use of sound or the lack thereof, which helped set the film over the edge for me, personally.

   I really enjoyed A Quiet Place and I would highly recommend it to you if you have the chance to see it in theaters. I thought the film had a lot of unique ideas and delivered them in an effective way, and I would also say that it is an early contender for the Best Horror film of 2018.

Rating: – 4.0 out of 5.0