Let’s talk about A Quiet Place.
A Quiet Place is a quiet movie. You have to wait 40 minutes to hear the first piece of dialogue in this movie and that conversation is basaically just exposition as to why they can’t talk most of the time. You could probably write down all the dialogue in this movie on one pieve of paper.
There’s a reason for the silence. The monster of this movie is completely blind but it has incredibly acute hearing, meaning that if you make a noise it will show up and ruin your day. We find out early on that the world is now been decimated because of these monsters and that they really will come and kill you for the smallest of sounds. While I’m not a fan of the monster designs, they are pretty generic, the movie is at least smart enough to not expose them until the climax in classic movie fashion.
Because the movie is incredibly committed to this idea, it makes everything incredibly tense. Everyone talks in sign language and as well as seeing a child being brutally murdered in the first few minutes, you also see the family enter a complete state of shock and horror when something that could make noise happens, such as a fire. All of this really sells the idea of how terrible noise is and that you should be terrified if anything even squeaks. To put it simply, it’s a joyful movie for all you librarians out there.
As you’d expect, the movie then lines up a load of things that could then make noise. There are kids because what makes more noise than children, the mother is pregnant because that’s just a cauldron of noise and then lots of other little things which you can just tell is going to make a racket later on. For the most part, the movie is subtle about these things and allows the audience to notice them in their own time. Then there’s the moment where the camera decides to focus for ten seconds on a exposed nail in a stair case. This is a bit much because the movie is basically just nudging you by the shoulder going ‘ey, ey, look at the nail, would be awful if someone stepped on it’ with a big smile on it’s face. They could have used a lego brick for the same effect by the way.
As this is a horror movie though I do have to answer one key question. Is it scary? I would say so. Because the movie presents so many potential perils and has a really likable family, Emily Blunt is always charismatic and John Krasinski is very good at projecting this sympathetic toughness that his character embodies in this movie, you are on the edge of your seat for most of the movie. When a bit of noise is made, the entire movie stops as we wonder if the monsters are going to show up and kill everyone. It’s one of those times in movies where you just stop breathing as you hope desperately that things aren’t about to go horribly wrong. And when they don’t, that breathe you take is one of relief.
All of this makes A Quiet Place the horror movie to watch this year. There’s always a few great ones now that the genre has had it’s resurgence and I’m glad to say that while I can’t say I enjoyed this as much as some recent classics like The Babadook, it is definitely up there and deserves to be in those sort of conversations. It is incredible at building up this scary atmosphere, feels original and a lot of the movie works because of the personal relationships between the characters rather than just random loud noises. And why would the movie do loud noises? Loud noises get you kied after all.