Deafening Silence: “A Quiet Place” Review

Harrison Burns–Staff Write           

Most modern blockbuster movies utilize loud explosions or quippy dialogue to draw an audience. What makes the success of “A Quiet Place” so remarkable is that it forgoes both these features for unsettling, masterful silence. The film offers a gripping, moving thrill ride that doesn’t break any genre conventions, but excels in almost every area of its storytelling.

The movie offers a simple premise of an earth overrun with aliens who can only hunt by sound, forcing humans to survive by making no noise. This concept was encapsulated in the advertising slogan associated with the film: “If they hear you, they hunt you.” It is into this world that the protagonists are thrust, as they try to survive and sustain a stable life.

The most obvious and unique stylistic feature of the movie is its use of silence. The daughter in the film (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf, and many scenes are portrayed from her hushed perspective. Between this and the constant, suffocating necessity to remain quiet to avoid the creatures, the film is engulfed in eerie silence that raises the tension in nearly every scene. The movie has very little dialogue, and the family uses sign language as the primary means for communication, forcing the camera work and actor’s expressions to almost entirely illustrate the story. 

This suspenseful thriller, directed by John Krasinski, also stars Krasinski. He and his actual wife, Emily Blunt, are superb as protective parents, and the two children actors offer solid and mature performances. The relationships portrayed within this small cast are what propel the film beyond a gimmicky-scare feature and into a surprisingly intimate and engaging story of family bonds, strife and sacrifice.

The movie is shot with smooth cinematography, rarely resorting to “shaky-cam” to elevate scares, and is bolstered by a subtle but menacing sound design. Though some might find its continuous state of tension to be wearisome, the film is paced well to allow lengthy, patient breaks for character development and building suspense between the sudden, intense sequences of danger.

From its intriguing premise to its spine-tingling ending, “A Quiet Place” is an expertly crafted thriller that is a must-watch for not only fans of the genre but filmgoers in general. 

           

           

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