A perfect marriage of sound & silence, A Quiet Place is one of the most tense, taut & thrilling films to surface in cinemas this year. An immaculately crafted chiller that’s brought to life with remarkable restraint, it’s a nail-biting & breath-stopping ride that features a very simple premise yet manages to deliver some genuinely effective frights by gradually escalating the tension & suspense to unbearable levels. Add to that, it’s all the more uplifted by the convincing performances from its committed cast.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future where majority of Earth’s populations have been wiped out by sightless creatures of unknown origin, the story of A Quiet Place follows a family living a solitary life in a deserted town. Forced to live in silence due to the aliens’ ultra-sensitive hearing, every single day is a struggle for survival in this world but the family must do whatever it takes to keep themselves safe from these monsters that are always lurking in the vicinity, for even a slight sound will be enough to seal their ultimate fate.
Directed by John Krasinski, the film opens with a quiet prologue that patiently conveys the fundamentals of its post-apocalyptic setting to the viewers without uttering a word. The family dynamic is handled with care, giving each character their moments & space to breathe, plus the unity between them only solidifies as plot progresses. With minimal dialogues being an absolute necessity given its premise, the characters interact through sign language and it’s communicated to us by subtitles but only when it’s really required.
However, few events & situations that are shown in the film purely exist to intensify the given moment and doesn’t serve any other meaningful purpose in the story. Now it may come off as unimaginative writing to few but it does its intended job of ratcheting up the tension & anxiety and keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats with such efficiency that you don’t even want to list it as a shortcoming. It’s the overall experience of living & breathing this nightmare with these characters that counts, and this film takes you there quite effortlessly.
The isolated location, decaying set pieces & minimal life contribute to its post-apocalyptic setting. Cinematography encapsulates the whole story with an apprehensive atmosphere that reeks of dread while manoeuvring the camera around in a very smooth, controlled fashion in order to capture every little detail in crisp clarity. The tight editing makes sure that the tension is palpable and the threat of those creatures stays ubiquitous from start to finish. But the film’s real highlight is the sound design that works in perfect harmony with Marco Beltrami’s thrilling score, both amplifying the suspense without interfering with each other.
Coming to the acting department, John Krasinski & Emily Blunt are in as the parents who are doing all they can to protect their children in a world full of creatures hunting every sound they can hear. With minimal dialogues to rely on, it’s their subtle expressions and body language that does the talking here and both actors play their respective roles with utmost sincerity. The kids are played by Millicent Simmonds & Noah Jupe and while they chip in with strong individual inputs, it’s the familial bonding they share with each other that makes them believable as a unit. Each character has a baggage of their own, and the actors articulate that with finesse.
On an overall scale, A Quiet Place is a nerve-wracking exercise in tension building that will have its audience gasping for breath for the entirety of its 90 minutes runtime. An incessantly tense, endlessly gripping & downright suspenseful cinema that utilises sound & silence to perfection, this post-apocalyptic terror is one of the most unexpected surprises of the year, and a much welcome entry in the world of horror in every way or shape or form. One of the best films of 2018 that also marks a major leap for John Krasinski’s directorial endeavours, A Quiet Place plays on our elemental fears with ruthless aggression and is a fresh, fascinating & frightening delight that deserves to be experienced on the biggest screen possible. Highly recommended.