'A Quiet Place' keeps audiences silent, in suspense
April 11, 2018
When the studio logos appeared on screen without their standard music at my showing for “A Quiet Place,” everyone in the theater caught on quick. By the time of the opening shot, there was no chatter or even nervous laughter. The nearly full auditorium was silent enough to hear feet shuffling from across the room. Finally, a moviegoing experience that truly lives up to its name.
The movie, directed by “The Office” alum John Krasinski, opens on day 89 after an unspecified apocalyptic event. Using minimal dialogue, the movie relies heavily on visuals to communicate just enough to the viewer about what’s happened to the world. Newspapers scattered throughout the ruined city establish exactly how quickly society fell to this unseen threat. One headline reads, “It’s sound.” “You’re on your own,” says another.
The movie makes a smart choice by starting months after the beginning of this threat. There’s no need to waste time establish how our heroes learned to pour sand wherever they planned on walking or forego shoes altogether. These are logical nuances that survivors would pick up when they’re being hunted by monsters that have a knack for hearing even the smallest noise.
The urgency with which our characters remain noiseless is infectious. It’s the reason the theater remained silent for the entire run time. Emily Blunt and Krasinski own the roles of protective parents in the post-apocalypse. In fact, about 30 minutes in, I stopped seeing any remnants of Jim Halpert. There was only a resourceful man who’s determined to be a father first and survivor second.
In a genre that’s basically defined by characters making the worst possible decisions, it’s refreshing to see a movie where people act entirely rationally. Having a deaf daughter, the family was ahead of the curve for this scenario. Almost all communication in the movie is done through American Sign Language. Speaking of the family’s children, the young talent in this movie deliver impeccable performances.
The first act largely follows the family’s day to day life, showing how they get by with this new reality. That’s not to say it gets off to a slow start, though. Krasinski Takes a Spielberg-esque approach to rising action. The final act is full of creative and entertaining set pieces and is home to some of the movie’s most memorable moments.
“A Quiet Place” is a welcome surprise for suspense fans. Towing the line between horror and thriller, it appeals to people looking for scares without ever becoming nightmare fuel. My prediction: after seeing it you'll want to watch it with friends for their first time.
Bennett Ryynanen is a freshman studying journalism and marketing communications. His love of "The Office" was a major motivation for seeing "A Quiet Place." He was very brave during the whole movie. He didn't look away during the scary parts, he swears.
Bennett Ryynanen is a student at UW-River Falls.