A Quiet Place (2018) ☆☆☆1/2(3.5/4): Be Silent – Be Very Silent

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Rarely have I been so constantly quiet like I and several audiences were during the evening screening of “A Quiet Place”, a small horror film which is seemingly modest on the surface but undeniably intense and terrifying for many good reasons. Thoughtfully and efficiently rolling its horror story premise via its economic narrative, the movie provides a number of truly scary and suspenseful moments which will hold you tight in your seat, and I admire how successfully it achieves its goals while never resorting to cheap tactics and clichés.

In the beginning, we come to get to know a bit about one desperate family and the gloomy circumstance of their constantly perilous world. Due to a sudden unknown threat which is gradually revealed to us along the story, the human civilization has been driven near to its end for several months, and remaining survivors must be quiet and silent as much as they can for continuing their survival. Any single noise to break silence can lead to certain death, and the opening scene observes how cautiously Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) and his family are as they stay for a while in a deserted town. Besides usually using sign language instead of talking, they are always wary of any possibility of loud noise, and that is exemplified well by when Lee does not allow his youngest son Beau (Cade Woodward) to have a toy too loud for them.

After the opening scene, the movie moves forward to around one year later, and we observe how the Abbotts have settled well in one abandoned farm. They look well-adjusted to their ongoing circumstance while being silent and cautious as usual, and everything seems nice and cozy when they quietly gather together for a dinner in their house, but then the mood becomes quite tense and ominous when their silence is accidentally broken at one point. Deftly playing with our expectation, the movie smoothly dials up and down the level of suspense during this scene, and the eventual moment of shock and awe at the end of this scene is as precise and effective as intended.

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While keeping trying to search for any possible help via radio communication, Lee focuses on finding any potential solution for that menace out there, but the situation remains as gloomy as before, and there is also a serious impending matter for him and his family. His wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) is soon going to give birth to their new child, and it goes without saying that their new child may seriously threaten the safety of the family. Although Evelyn will probably be able to prevent herself from making any noise during her delivery, the baby can inadvertently be very noisy at any point, no matter how much they are prepared for raising their new child.

In the meantime, their deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) becomes more willing to get closer to her father and help him, but she is disappointed when her father chooses to go outside along with her younger brother Marcus (Noah Jupe) instead. As feeling quite disappointed, Regan defiantly goes outside alone while her mother is busy with domestic works, and we accordingly get a few nice, sensitive moments as Regan spends some time alone by herself.

Of course, the movie inevitably shifts its gear into full-throttle mode later in the story, and director/lead performer/co-writer John Krasinski, who wrote the screenplay with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, pushes further what has been palpably established on the screen. There is a frightening moment involved with a seemingly abandoned house in a nearby forest, and then there comes a sequence which has a series of striking moments which will surely overwhelm you with sheer terror and suspense.

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Although he has been mainly known for his acting works in American TV comedy series “The Office” and several notable comedy films such as “Leatherheads” (2008), “It’s Complicated” (2009), and “Away We Go” (2009), Krasinski also started his directing career with “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” (2009) and then made “The Hollars” (2016). I have not seen these two previous works of his yet, but “A Quiet Place” shows me that he is a competent filmmaker, and I appreciate the superlative achievement from him and his technical crew. While cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen, who previously worked in “The Hunt” (2012) and “Fences” (2016), frequently generates nervous ambience around the characters in the film, the editing by Christopher Tellefsen, who was Oscar-nominated for “Moneyball” (2011), succinctly delivers several impactful moments to jolt us, and Marco Beltrami’s menacingly dissonant score always keeps us on the edge whenever it is played on the soundtrack.

Besides demonstrating well his acting range beyond his familiar comic persona, Krasinski also draws convincing performances from his fellow cast members. While he and his wife Emily Blunt are natural and intimate in their characters’ private scenes, three young performers in the film are solid as other crucial parts of the story, and Millicent Simmonds, a young deaf performer who previously appeared in “Wonderstruck” (2017), is particularly excellent as bringing considerable pluck and authenticity to her character.

Overall, “A Quiet Place” is a superlative genre piece which is definitely better than many lesser horror movies out there. I still feel excited and shaken as remembering its many well-made moments, and that is far more than enough for me to recommend it wholeheartedly to you. Believe me, you will be very silent within its first 15 minutes – and you will get one hell of experience to remember.

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