Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: John Krasinski
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Charlotte Bruus Christensen
WRITERS: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami
If John Krasinski ever needs a second career beyond acting, he’s definitely found it as a confident director! In “A Quiet Place”, we are introduced to the Abbott family after a massive attack by mysterious monsters decimates the Earth’s population. After a tragedy on the 89th day, we join the Abbott family one year later as they have become pretty skilled at staying quiet.
The reason for the silence is simple. The monsters are blind and track you down by noise. Very small sounds such as walking on sand isn’t cause for alarm, but if you raise your voice at all, then you are in very big trouble. Beyond trying to avoid the monsters, though, the main theme of this film is parenthood.
Lee (Krasinski) is the father that is trying to get his family through the day while also researching the monsters for possible weaknesses. Trying to get through the day, though, has made Lee somewhat blind to his children’s emotional states. The biggest divide is between Lee and his deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) because she thinks that Lee blames her for the tragedy at the top of the film.
Then there is Evelyn (Emily Blunt), the mother who wants her kids to not only be fully aware of their new situation, but she also wants them to learn and have fully developed minds. This is shown through a simple scene where she is trying to show her son Marcus (Noah Jupe) how to divide, thus exercising his mind in addition the survival skills that Lee wants to teach the boy.
In addition the very real theme of parenthood is one hell of an intense movie. The lethality of the creatures is shown right away and their presence is always felt even if they are not seen or heard. For most of the movie, Krasinski follows the “Law of Jaws” and we rarely get full glimpses of the monsters.
When someone makes a noise, we may only hear them on the roof of the house or capture a quick glimpse of them in a cornfield. These mysterious creatures in the shadows keep you as well as the Abbott family on the edge of your seat.
While the scares are most definitely real, the performances are even better. Krasinski and his real life wife Blunt thankfully have great chemistry onscreen as well. Also, the relationship with the kids are spot on, particularly between Lee and his estranged daughter Regan. Speaking of the kids, both Millicent (who is deaf in real life) and Jupe turn in great performances and they are two of the best child actors that I’ve seen in quite awhile.
Finally, I also liked how Krasinski set up his dystopian world. We never really learn anything about how the monsters got here exactly, but we are given the rules of how they operate which is all we really need. The movie also doesn’t take up a whole lot of time trying to tell us how the world was devastated. We get just enough through newspaper clippings to tell us that the monster invasion was a global epidemic.
Instead, Krasinski keeps it all on this isolated family. He not only gives us a fantastic horror film, he gives us an intelligent horror film. It turns out to be a well crafted family drama, except it just happens to have a few monsters here and there.