So I told my mom the summary of A Quiet Place (that it’s a horror movie in which monsters kill you if you make noise) and her response was to scoff and say, “why would you even go there in the first place?” To that end, the title is definitely a misnomer.
But my mom’s reaction made me L-O-L because she pretty much summed up how I felt after actually watching the movie too. I would say A Quiet Place, even despite being written/directed by a one Jim Halpert/John Krasinski and starring an actual deaf actress for its deaf character, feels only slightly above average to me as far as horror movies go. It’s got all the same conventions of something like Hush (2016), The Invitation (2015), and The Mist (2007) - including the unique premise, jump scares, and a very large suspension of disbelief. Toss a little Stranger Things in there and you’ve got A Quiet Place.
- SPOILERS AHEAD -
This film takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which demagorgons are ear monsters that seek to destroy things via what they can hear. I am @-ing all the characters in the film when I say that if that much has been established in the diegesis of the film, why in the world would you continue to stay, a year or so after the fact, in a cricket-y wooden house and make more babies on top of already your two young children? Because that’s the main drive of this film - Emily Blunt’s character is very pregnant and right about to give birth and must avoid trying to make a sound throughout the whole process or else get killed. The baby gets birthed and the family essentially suffocates the kid in a box to prevent it from making noise (not really but really). And also halfway through, John Krasinki’s character takes his son to a loud waterfall and talks for the first time because apparently the monsters won’t go after them if there’s a louder sound nearby (here, it’s the waterfall). If that’s the case, move near the river! If not that, go to the fucking waterfall to give birth! Turn your brains on people! You’re in a fucking dystopia and you need to let go of your old ass creaky wooden house! There was this one shot in the movie when Blunt’s character walks down the hallway and the wall is literally just covered in hanging framed pictures that were just waiting to fall and crash onto the wooden floors. I almost popped a secondhand vein for them.
If you're like me and simply just cannot wrap your head around the major, major plot holes of this movie (even if it is is a horror movie), read this review (AND the comments).
But, that being said, a major differentiator and leg up between A Quiet Place and other similar horror films is the way that it completely immerses you into the horror experienced by the characters. I swear, this film was like a real experiment of sensory deprivation - there is very little vocal dialogue (and noise for that matter), and when anyone finally speaks, it’s totally jarring. Along with the characters, you too are forced to be as silent as possible. I purposely scarfed down all my Sour Patch Watermelon sours before the film started so as to not make any noise during the film. That lack of sound also made the jump scares that much more terrifying - it’s not simply the visual jump that scares you but also the complete flooding of sound that makes you clutch your pearls. If you are not a fan of jump scares, this film is not for you.
I also want to give big props to John Krasinski for casting Millicent Simmonds, a young deaf actress, for the role of his deaf daughter. It’s fascinating because it is that character’s deafness that ultimately saves the family. She is super important and her relationship with Krasinski as her father is the emotional force of the film, especially as he attempts to fix her hearing aids. In the end though, the goal here isn’t to make the most revolutionary or tightly-written script (although it is impressive to pull off a script with as little dialogue as this); it’s to scare the shit out of you and I guess A Quiet Place does accomplish that.