RTF Review: “MFR Says A QUIET PLACE Is A Tense, Can’t-Miss Master Work That Packs An Emotional Wallop“
By Mario-Francisco Robles
This isn’t going to be a very long review, as what I have to say about A Quiet Place mirrors the streamlined simplicity of the movie itself. The less said, the better.
John Krasinski’s first foray into horror will surely make fans of scary movies ask, “Where have you been all of my life?” Especially if your brand of horror is the kind that plays with you psychologically instead of attempting to overwhelm you with gore and gimmicky “shocks.”
The film has a simple premise that’s used incredibly effectively. In this post-apocalyptic present (or near future), alien creatures have taken over the earth. They’re blind, but have an extremely keen sense of hearing, and they hunt down anything that makes even the slightest sound. It took humanity a long while to learn this, and much of it has seemingly been decimated. Those that survived are the ones that went into hiding and learned to live their lives in complete silence.
The film centers on one family’s plight to to survive.
That’s literally all you need to know, and Krasinski allows the premise to stay that beautifully simple for all of A Quiet Place‘s brisk 95 minute running time.
Krasinski, who also co-wrote the script, shares the screen with his real-life wife Emily Blunt, and a pair of phenomenal young actors named Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. Together, they bring a family dynamic to life that feels very authentic, and the group shares a chemistry that should feel very real and familiar to anyone with a family of their own.
What’s so impressive about the film is that there are- maybe- 15 lines of dialogue in the entire thing, and yet it gets you to invest in this family by the end of its first sequence, without a word being uttered. And that’s important, because if you’re going to buy into both the family and the premise, you need to do a lot with a little.
It’s all about the unspoken bond of love, and the commitment to giving every ounce of what you have to insure that your family is taken care of, and the first sequence nails it.
From there, Krasinski slowly starts ratcheting up the tension while teaching the audience what the rules of this little puzzle box he’s built are. Once everything’s in place, and you’ve bought into how everything works and what’s at stake, he goes about putting our heroes in all of the most terrifying scenarios one could imagine in a world where making a sound gets you viciously slaughtered.
And through it all, with hardly any words spoken, you start to care more and more for these characters which makes the escalating insanity of what they go through even more tense and suffocating.
Nothing’s cheap; Everything’s earned; And when business really picks up, A Quiet Place can feel downright suffocating.
While this may not be an awesome thing to read if you’re a young, single person, I think it’s worth noting that I think this film will be extra effective and potent for parents. There are certain elements of the way things play out that will resonate especially deeply with any audience member who’s had another human depend on them for their survival.
A Quiet Place is a master work of tension, emotion, and true terror. It’s also a refreshingly grown-up film that doesn’t ever patronize you by over-explaining anything. It’s pretty much the definition of “Show, don’t tell.”