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Movie Reviews

Posted at: Apr 6, 2018, 6:16 PM; last updated: Apr 6, 2018, 6:16 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: A QUIET PLACE

An impressive scream-fest

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Film: A Quiet Place

  • Cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, Cade Woodward
  • Director: John Krasinski
An  impressive scream-fest
A poster of A Quiet Place

Johnson Thomas

Survival against all odds is what horror genre films deem to project and in the process the escape act becomes the reason for thrills galore. Actor-director John Krasinski, though, strives for much more than mere endurance or subsistence in his ‘A Quiet Place’, which plays on sound to generate its fear quotient. He goes further than most genre directors would and his onscreen victims are not just surviving, they are in the process of turning it all around for the foreseeable future.

The film opens up silently with its characters - the Abbot family consisting of Lee (Krasinski) his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their three children, the oldest, a hard-of-hearing preteen, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe ) and the youngest son (Cade Woodward), padding around barefoot in an abandoned supermarket. The kids are allowed to roam around freely and the parents don’t seem to be bothered much that they could put everything at risk. It’s not a very well-constructed sequence because the plotting shows up the adults as careless and irresponsible; and the kids appear a little too wilful and stubborn even in the face of grave impending danger. A few minutes after they step out, it’s clear that the first kill is about to happen. But that’s about the most unaccomplished and contrived that the film can get. Thereafter Krasinski settles into a rhythm to carve out a humdinger of great tension, dread and terror.

The monsters, as you might have guessed by now, are driven by sound, not sight. So the Abbots’ survival depends entirely on their ability to blend in with the natural sounds without calling attention to themselves. It’s a task fraught with risk and Lee does his best to keep the surviving members of his family, protectively ensconced and fortified. But their artificially enforced silence was obviously not meant to last. 

The tempo picks up steam after the first attack and thereafter it’s only a matter of time before it reaches a scream-worthy crescendo. An innovative and supremely effective sound design allows for greater impact. Sharp edits, crisp direction, an affecting background score, and relatable cinematography make the mayhem plausibly intense. 

Krasinski and the child actors do their jobs with efficient earnestness, but it’s Blunt who carries the film. Krasinski doesn’t resort to hackneyed moments or tired genre tropes to serve out the thrills here. Instead, he deploys a visual cadenza that delineates sound from the context. The characters can’t yell or warn each other of danger. Regan can’t even hear the monster until it gets close enough. It’s a scenario fraught with danger and it’s palpably incipient. ‘A Quiet Place’ is a fairly intelligent and vigorously involving scream-fest – one that makes you sit up and take notice!

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