by Sherry Lipp
The Lowdown: This edge-of-your-seat alien-invasion thriller works well, but don’t think about the logistics too much.
Would it be possible to live in silence? Probably not, but A Quiet Place, co-written and directed by John Krasinski – who also stars, tries to imagine a world where silence is the only means of survival. It’s a clever twist on the alien-invasion genre that works pretty well if you suspend your disbelief. A Quiet Place is better when it’s actually quiet, exploring themes of isolation and loss. I wish it had stayed more toward the unexpected than the expected, but Krasinksi does a good job of keeping the audience on the edge of their seat in anticipation of what will happen next.
The rules of the post-apocalyptic world in A Quiet Place are pretty simple: Don’t make any noise or you’ll be snatched up and eaten alive by a repulsive tentacled alien. The aliens have super-hearing and can seem to hear sounds from miles away. Earth’s population has been pretty much wiped out. We don’t know how we many people are left besides the Abbott family who survive in near silence on their rural farm.
The Abbott’s have an advantage because their eldest child Regan (Millicent Simmons) is deaf. The family is already adept at communicating without speaking. At only three months since the invasion they have laid down a sand path where they can walk barefoot around their farm and even into town to get supplies. The sounds of their feet on the sand apparently blends in with the rustling of the wind in the trees keeping them disguised.
Total silence, however, is difficult. The Abbots have three children. Regan is a teenager, Marcus (Noah Jupe) is around 12, and Beau (Cade Woodward) appears to only be about four or five. Kids will be kids after all. Even playing Monopoly using felt game pieces proves to be difficult. Still, once you’re involved in their silent world it’s not hard to go with it.
Every moment brings tension because every move could be their last. They have to rummage for supplies in the ransacked town and they have to go to the creek to fish so they can have food. The film stays taut and tense while we’re immersed in the silence. It’s uncomfortable and that works well for the movie.
Unfortunately there is one fatal flaw that makes it hard to forgive the minor ones. Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) is pregnant. She and her husband Lee (Krasinski) seem to be looking forward to this new addition to their family. I know it’s cold to say, but under the circumstances having a baby means total disaster and it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t have been more careful.
It would have been fine if Evelyn had been pregnant before everything happened and they just had to go with it, but the film makes it clear that it happened later. Accidents happen, but considering all the measures they had taken to protect themselves it seems like they would have prevented that from happening for the sake of their own survival.
I liked when this film explored the family dynamic. They are stuck with only each other and that’s not always easy. Teenage Regan still feels misunderstood, and even disliked, by her parents. Her deafness keeps her barred from the room where her dad sends Morse code messages in search of other survivors – they can’t risk her inadvertently making noise in a room filled with sound equipment. She is even more isolated in their world of isolation.
The film is not as good when it comes to the monsters. We’ve seen them before and this film doesn’t do anything different from what we’ve seen in countless other alien invasion movies. It’s a matter of finding a weakness. We see newspaper headlines telling people not to make noise. If humanity survived long enough to print those headlines, surely someone other than this family would have come up with the Achilles heel of these creatures.
I’m hoping they don’t revisit this one. Not everything needs a sequel just because it’s popular. I think they should leave is the glass half full or half empty ending where it is.
A Quiet Place Images: Paramount