By Kevin Carney
Director: John Krasinski.
Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward.
John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with this post-apocalyptic horror film, in which he co-stars with his wife Emily Blunt.
The film focuses on the Abbott family as they attempt to survive in a world where most of humanity has been wiped out by a mysterious species of monsters. Since the beasts have greatly enhanced hearing, the family must do everything they can to stay quiet and avoid being discovered.
The necessity for silence creates an interesting challenge for the film and its cast, with very little dialogue and most of the character interactions being achieved through sign language. The actors do an excellent job of pulling this off, conveying the emotions of their respective characters through facial expressions and body language with great conviction. In spite of the limitations, we experience the hardships the characters go through and the affection they have for each other, which creates a strong emotional investment in them.
The situation that the characters find themselves in is very effective for creating tension. Since one loud noise could throw them into certain death, instances of this result in drawn-out periods of suspense, which are a welcome relief from the jump scares that so many modern horrors rely on.
When it comes to its antagonistic creatures, the film takes a less-is-more approach. The monsters are given no backstory and are kept largely hidden for most of the film, allowing the audience to get to know the family and develop an attachment to them. The CGI rendering is surprisingly impressive for a film with a budget of $17 million, since we often see massive blockbusters where the CGI is not entirely convincing. The beasts in this film, however, feel very real and constantly present, with a design that calls to mind the Xenomorphs from Alien, the monster from Cloverfield and the Demogorgon from Stranger Things.
With its unique premise and focus on character, A Quiet Place is a compelling, moving and intense horror film that stands out from its ilk.
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