(Caution: MAJOR spoilers ahead!)
A Quiet Place took me by surprise.
I have never been one to enjoy horror films – blood and guts bother me. I have the disposition of a fawn, so any noise that’s too loud sends me rocketing out of my seat. Even watching scary movies at home, I have to have all the lights on, during broad daylight, with my dog sitting next to me.
Needless to say, I’m a weenie when it comes to horror movies.
I picked up the habit of not watching film trailers as I like to have a pure, cinematic experience with no expectations going into a movie. By complete accident, I wound up watching the trailer for A Quiet Place, and I was excited. John Krasinski is famous for his role as Jim Halpert in The Office, and I know Emily Blunt best from The Devil Wears Prada. I was curious to see Krasinski’s style as a director for A Quiet Place.
I had gotten to the theater a little late, so I got a soda, no snacks. As it turned out, I wouldn’t need snacks. Most of the film is silent or made of small noises, and the entire time, I was terrified to even take a sip of my Dr. Pepper. The monster in this film hunts by sound, make a noise that’s too loud, and you’re dead in seconds – this is clear in the first few minutes. Can you imagine if I had popcorn or nachos with me? They would’ve gone cold. Krasinski’s ability to immerse an audience so fully in a film within mere minutes is truly epic. Even after I got home, I was tiptoeing around my apartment, too afraid to make a noise that was too loud.
This movie scared me in a way a roller coaster scares people – there’s a certain thrill in it. The family has survived in this post-invasion community for over a year. They survive by walking everywhere barefoot, and on sandy trails to avoid crunching leaves. There is little spoken dialogue in the movie. The majority of communication is by American Sign Language and common gestures, such as putting the index finger to the lips – understood widely as “be quiet”. For the dialogue that is signed, subtitles are displayed for the audience to read. Because this film takes place within a family unit, no one calls each other by their names. To say it is too risky, but to sign it is unnecessary, as they are already familiar with each other. Over the course of the movie, we never learn the names of the characters, something I didn’t notice until after the film, when I was discussing it and realized I couldn’t recall the characters’ names.
One of the main characters, the daughter and the oldest child, is hearing-impaired. She has a cochlear implant on her right ear that is often faulty or not fully functional and becomes an important subplot to A Quiet Place. The father, played by Krasinski himself, attempts to fix her implant with various amplifiers. It’s clear he has tried this many times, as the daughter is frustrated by having her hopes held up, only to not be able to hear with the implant, resulting in disappointment.
I have never experienced a film in the way that A Quiet Place sets up. I was excited, nervous, happy, and anxious for the family through the entirety of the movie. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, and it was a wild ride from beginning to end. On a star scale, I’d give it 5 stars. It had amazing cinematography, a simple but well-thought-out plot, and characters that felt relateable and natural. If you haven’t seen A Quiet Place yet, I highly reccommend it – but don’t get popcorn!