‘A Quiet Place’ Review: Make Some Noise

The first line of spoken dialogue does not occur until 45 minutes into John Krasinski’s new thriller, A Quiet Place. In fact, the entire premise of the film — an alien race has landed on Earth and they hunt and kill us all by using sound — dictates that everyone stay absolutely silent to survive. Because of this, I felt guilty sipping my drink in the theater, or gulping too loud, and moving too much to create noise. That’s a powerful example of how this film creates a world that sucks you in and takes the audience on an incredibly tense journey as we follow one family of survivors as they do whatever they can to exist in a world where the slightest noise can be your death.

A Quiet Place opens with the Abbott family, led by Krasinski and his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, silently scavenging for medicine and other supplies in a small, deserted town in the Hudson River Valley of New York. The family has to be barefoot and walk on carefully made paths made of sand, as even the slightest slap of a footfall on hardwood floors or pavement could bring the monsters. Their youngest son, Beau (Cade Woodward), apparently cannot truly understand the need for silence and he makes a tragic mistake. This sets the story in motion and tells the audience all they really need to know about this horrific world.

A Quiet Place Review

Over a year later, Lee (Krasinski) and Evelyn (Blunt) are inexplicably pregnant, and their other children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) have to deal with the careful preparations that a newborn child will require in a world where noise kills. Regan is deaf, as is the wonderful actress who plays her in Millicent Simmonds (last year’s Wonderstruck), which adds to the dilemma. She’s a child raised in a world of silence, and she blames herself for what happened to her younger brother. She becomes estranged from her father as Lee is driven to figure out how to combat the monsters before his child is born.

Even the idea of a newborn in this cinematic world made me nervous. Kids are loud, distracting things in and of themselves — and especially babies — so early on in the film, I began to feel anxious that bad things were going to happen. This is the unspoken (pun fully intended) power of A Quiet Place.

A Quiet Place Review

All of the performances are superb, with so much exposition and emotion being conveyed through facial expressions and hastily signed words. They say the voice is the actor’s greatest tool, but in A Quiet Place, that tool is taken away, and what’s left is for the actors — two of which are young children, without much experience — to tell a screen story using other forms of expression, and they all pull it off with seasoned professionalism.

John Krasinski, best known for his comedy in projects like the The Office, aptly drags the audience through scenario after scenario where the stakes are high, and he does so without making a sound. And when a sound is made, it is such a jarring occurrence that the audience jumped. Even with something as trivial as a cup falling over on a table. Seeing how Krasinski, who co-wrote with screenwriters Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, is able to tighten the tension over and over, he plays the audience like a violin, and when the strings snap, all hell breaks loose.

A Quiet Place Review

Like last year’s Get OutA Quiet Place is a scary, tense experience from someone you wouldn’t expect to be able to dabble in the horror genre. Like Jordan Peele before him, John Krasinski has never given a hint of horror film chops, and then turns in one amazing scarefest that will have audiences talking for years to come. A Quiet Place is a simple monster movie with a gimmick that works incredibly well, and creates a tense, heart-pounding experience for the audience. And you know it works when the audience is as silent as possible, as I wasn’t the only one aware of the ambient noises I make during a film screening. This is definitely not a film to bring a bucket of popcorn to. Each crunchy bite will fill you with guilt and despair. And that is the sign of an effective film.

A Quiet Place is rated PG-13 and opens nationwide on April 6.

A Quiet Place Review
out of 5

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