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A Quiet Place (dir. Krasinski)

Image: John Krasinski’s character trying to keep his son (Noah Jupe) quiet. © Photo courtesy of Jonny Cournoyer. Property of Paramount Pictures. [Source: IMDB]

 ★★★★★

The world has been drastically changed, creatures, stalk the now desolate North American area in hunt of what is left of humanity. The creatures are only able to see through sound, it is this family’s only salvation in surviving this new apocalyptic world. But with a baby on the way and young children to manage, how long can they last?

Director: John Krasinski. Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe [15]

“It’s sound!” a newspaper humorously titles itself, and it’s exactly what will be said when people ask what makes this movie so special – sound and better yet the lack of it. Sound plays the most vital part of this film and truly transcends its practical use for a more anxious storytelling component.

Some of the best horror movie experiences come from those that delve deeper into the psyche of horror films, that move past the cheap jump scares and instead offer something that not only is terrifying but it knows why. While A Quiet Place has the odd pandering to those cheap jump scares it is clear to see that A Quiet Place is something more than basic surface scares. Krasinski a self-professed “scaredy-cat” jumps from his usual comedy-drama direction into Horror filmmaking, with the confidence and precision of a well-versed horror aficionado. Having only “caught up” with great horror films, it is remarkable to see the direction that he has given to this film.

Most notably through the world building and aesthetical choices, from the lights that sit on top of their quaint farmland home, the sand they use to create paths to walk on and the way in which they play monopoly – it all comes together to create a truly engrossing world that amplifies the tension of the story and screen. Which is A Quiet Place‘s crowning achievement, its scene control and obviously its sound control. When Krasinski dials back the music and strips away any non-diegetic sound, every scene carries tremendous weight to it, taking on a physical embodiment as you feel the tension not only in the scene but in the cinema as well. The silence is as nail-biting as the orchestral “duh nu, duh nu” from Jaws, but while that is focused on the creature this is a story focused on the people.

The silence technique is one that will have you and your cinema froze in suspense, with the sound of pins dropping seeming to echo louder than anything you have heard before. It could be argued that Krasinski just blows up a very common element in most horror films and uses the appeal to prolong the suspense, but its the skill demonstrated in having an hour and thirty-minute movie not get dull or the gimmick get boring. Krasinski uses his influence from Jaws to heighten that predator and prey hunt, the creatures move with a stalking demeanour and the scenes in which they hunt for the family are among the most riveting, it’s a claustrophobic cat and mouse chase. With the lack of sound and very little dialogue spoken, there comes a natural emphasis on acting, can we get a sense of feelings and thoughts through their expressions? The answer is a resounding yes! The performances are authentic and we can truly get the scope of character and relationships through their interactions alone. Krasinski follows the age-old lesson of show don’t tell.

A Quiet Place‘s originality demonstrates that there is a revolution happening in the horror genre, from Get Out, Mother! and this. Filmmakers are bringing an intelligence back into the genre and as a point of note, A Quiet Place came from the studio that usually remakes horror films and after this film’s success has decided to focus on original scripts. Superb performances, sharp and direct writing and absolutely inspired remarkable directing – A Quiet Place feels as influenced as it is fresh and makes for a tensely physical and unnerving experience.

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