A Quiet Place Drama

Film Review: 'Alien' Meets 'Don't Breathe,' in 'A Quiet Place'

April 6, 2018Ben MK

For years, actor John Krasinski was best known for his comedic role as Jim from The Office. But ever since he beefed up to play an elite soldier in Michael Bay's action-packed war film 13 Hours, it's been hard to look at him in the same light. Now, with his sophomore directorial feature, Krasinski proves that he can make a mean little horror film too.

In A Quiet Place, Krasinski stars alongside real-life wife Emily Blunt as Lee and Evelyn Abbott, parents to Regan (Wonderstruck's Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Suburbicon's Noah Jupe) and their youngest, Beau (Cade Woodward). By all accounts, the Abbotts are your typical American family. However, this is far from your typical America, but rather a place where vicious, feral creatures that hunt by sound are ready to pounce on them if they make the slightest noise. Hence, if the family wants to stay alive they must stay silent.

When we first meet the Abbotts, these toothy and clawed creatures — which resemble something out of Resident Evil crossed with the raptors from Jurassic Park — have been terrorizing humanity for 89 days, and the fivesome is paying a visit to the abandoned town closest to the farm where they live, to pick up some much needed supplies. But despite all their precautions, which include communicating solely by sign language and treading barefoot in a carefully laid-down path of sand, tragedy befalls them on the way home, leaving Regan and Evelyn each blaming themselves.

Fast forward to day 472, and the family is trying their best to move on, but the emotional scars still remain. Pregnant with another child and due in a matter of weeks, Evelyn prepares a makeshift soundproof bunker which will double as a nursery, complete with a tank of nitrous oxide and a small gas mask for putting the baby to sleep. Meanwhile, Lee toils away on the latest in a long line of custom hearing aids to try to help Regan, who happens to be deaf (as Simmonds is in real life). But when Evelyn goes into labor while Lee and Marcus are in the woods, and the creatures converge on the farm, the family finds their survival skills put to the ultimate test.

Clocking in at a brisk hour and a half (and that's factoring in the credits), the result doesn't overstay its welcome. However, with a cast as superb as this, one might not necessarily disapprove. In the end, though, it all boils down to the film's execution, which is where the movie really shines.

Scripted by Krasinski, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, A Quiet Place is short on plot and dialogue. But make no mistake, what it lacks in conventional narrative drive it more than makes up for with a nail-bitingly tense atmosphere and edge-of-your-seat suspense. There are a few jump scares scattered throughout the film, but none of it feels like an attempt to coerce the audience with cheap scares. Instead, the movie utilizes its central conceit with stunning effectiveness, bringing them to bear via a few brilliantly staged set-pieces, and the terror it inspires in viewers is genuine, even if the predators are for the most part realized with visual effects.

A Quiet Place releases April 6th, 2018 from Paramount Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for terror and some bloody images. Its runtime is 1 hr. 31 min.

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