In the not too distant future, the world has been ravaged by a mysterious creature that hunts on the basis of sound. The film follows a single family as deal with this new world, especially in light of their incoming child.
Directed and co-written by The Office’s John Krasinski, who also stars, the film joins Jordan Peele’s Get Out as an example of a famously comedic actor stepping behind the camera for a horror film and creating something truly memorable. Krasinski, who also stars, leads his cast and crew through a nearly dialogue-free experience where every stray sound adds an additional level of terror. Outside of a general question of why would you bring a baby (a human noise machine) into this world, I have no real qualms with this film, so the next few paragraphs are just going to be a love fest.
First and foremost, all four members of the main cast do some excellent work in this movie, but I want to give particular focus to the always great Emily Blunt and newcomer Millicent Simmonds. Blunt has been giving standout performances since her breakthrough performance in The Devil Wears Prada, and her work as the maternal head of this family is no different. The ways in which she displays fear and maternal love are essential to this film, as she carries many of the film’s most dramatically tense scenes, including a moment that will ensure you never peacefully enjoy another bath, as well as another moment that will have you more carefully watching your step as you walk down stairs. Blunt and Krasinski have been married for nearly a decade, and it is their relationship that caused Blunt to be in the film (she read Krasinski’s take on the script and asked to star in it with him). The chemistry between the two is understandably strong, but it is when Blunt is on her own that her true skill comes out, and it is primarily because of her performance that this film works in the way that it does.
Another reason the film works is the casting of Millicent Simmonds, a young deaf actress, who portrays Blunt and Krasinski’s deaf daughter in the film. Having a deaf actress was apparently nonnegotiable for Krasinski, as it well should have been. Having a deaf daughter is essential to the film’s story, as it is their constant use of American Sign Language that allowed them to survive in the early days of whatever brought these creatures to Earth. Simmonds plays the role well, as she often relies on the reactions of her loved ones in order to understand the peril that surrounds her. She also deserves credit for adding to one of the scene’s most pivotal moments, as Krasinski’s character clarifies how long he has loved his daughter.
This character brings another essential component of the film to mind. The sound work of the film, allowing every small sound, from rustling leaves, to a pair of dice rolling on carpet, to come in loud and clear. Each small sound builds tension, as we know that anything much louder than background noise could bring on the horror of the film’s monsters in a flash. The work of sound editors Erik Aadahi and Ethan Van der Ryn is perhaps even more essential during scenes that take on Simmonds’ character’s point of view, as all sound cuts out, with the exception of whatever hearing implement device her father made that she is currently utilizing. Allowing us to step in the shoes of a deaf character, even for just brief moments, gives us an idea of what it is like for the world’s deaf population, even outside of the context of an apocalypse brought on by a mysterious alien race.
This is one of the best movie going experiences I have had in a long while, as a packed Monday night crowd hesitated to make any kind of noise for the film’s full hour and a half run time, as we all tensely watched the characters that Krasinski and his cast created deal with the world that his crew, especially his sound editors, helped create. Needless to say, third of the way through the year, and it seems possible that a horror film, directed by an actor typically associated with comedies, could top my best-of list for the second year in a row.
References A Quiet Place Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Quiet_Place_(film) A Quiet Place IMDb Trivia Page https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6644200/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv Photo Credits Cover Photo https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5ac388737a74af1a008b45b3-750-422.jpg Blunt and Simmonds http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/images/A-Quiet-Place-clips.jpg Scared/Excited/Whatever Kristen Wiig http://cdn.playbuzz.com/cdn/c91699d6-bb56-4a18-8a4a-e96d908c7584/58d62e14-f8a2-4dba-bcde-27f7e84051ce.gif