Review: Krasinski's 'A Quiet Place' is a Near-Perfect Sci-Fi Horror Film
by Alex Billington
March 28, 2018
Move over Cloverfield, there's a much better sci-fi horror thriller in town. A Quiet Place is the latest film directed by, and starring, John Krasinski (he also directed Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and The Hollars previously) and it's easily his best film yet. This near-perfect sci-fi horror is about alien creatures who have taken over Earth, that hunt and attack only using sound. To save his family, Krasinski lives a very quiet life on a farm, careful to never make any noises. It's a very ambitious concept - make a movie with minimal dialogue, that is almost entirely quiet, telling a story about a family living carefully to avoid being killed by these vicious, monstrous creatures. It's another "Twilight Zone"-esque creation, in the same vein as the Cloverfield sequels, but much much better than either of the Cloverfield sequels. I really love this movie.
John Krasinski's A Quiet Place is actually a very self-contained, minimal film. Krasinski stars as Lee, Emily Blunt (his wife in real life) plays his wife in the film, Evelyn. And they have two kids - Noah Jupe (from Suburbicon, Wonder) as Marcus, and Millicent Simmonds (from Wonderstruck) as Regan. They all live a simple life on a farm, remaining as quiet as possible to not attract these deadly creatures. The attention-to-detail that went into establishing their life is impressive - they follow paths of sand laid around the farm, so they don't make any noise walking/running around; they eat quietly, talk in sign language, and have built up other aspects of their home to prevent sound from being heard outside. To establish this as a concept for a movie is bold in and of itself, but Krasinski then crafts an emotional, riveting thriller story to follow as well.
This ambitious "silent" concept is executed almost perfectly. I only have two tiny issues (which are spoilers so I won't discuss them in here), but they don't really matter much in the grand scheme of things, as the overall experience of the movie is outstanding. There is no need to explain the creatures or where they're from, there's no need to go into detail about the past, or discover another group of survivors, or drift off into another plot. This movie is exactly what it is and it succeeds beautifully in being that. It's a self-contained, minimal sci-fi horror thriller that attempts to establish a world where sound is not allowed for the sake of survival. Krasinski's direction is supremely confident, he knows exactly what he is doing and it shows. He's made an endearing, engaging horror thriller that can be enjoyed by different audiences, and it's real thrill.
A Quiet Place is a much, much better "Twilight Zone" story than the other two Cloverfield sequels (the best of which is 10 Cloverfield Lane, of course), which are also trying to play in that kind of self-contained sci-fi sandbox. In fact, this could've been a Cloverfield sequel, and I'm glad Paramount didn't force this to be one, because it works nicely on its own. Much like Rod Serling's original "Twilight Zone" episodes, this script doesn't drift off and explain things or trying to provide unnecessary extra context. It keeps its focus on the story at hand, and it's all the better for it. The entire movie is actually quite minimal. And I love it so much for not wasting time or energy on being bigger than it needs to be. Even from the opening scenes, he trusts the audience enough for them to jump right in, no need for backstory - it's all shown in the details anyway.
There's so many awesome little touches and details and aspects to it that make it a completely excellent film. A Quiet Place features some stunning cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen. And it's aided by stellar VFX work by ILM, which is important in making you believe these creatures are real. There's so much more hidden in it. It's the kind of movie you want to rewatch just to see what you can find hidden in each scene, to examine closer all the nuances and details about their quiet life. The performances from the entire cast are impressive, thanks in large part from Krasinski knowing how to make sure they're subtle but meaningful performances. There's nothing like an ambitious original concept that is executed perfectly, and leaves you feeling invigorated and excitement by the potential of cinema today. This is one of those movies.
At its core, A Quiet Place is an outstanding sci-fi thriller about a family and the bonds of love that keep them together, surviving together. I really admire where John Krasinski is going as a director, getting better and better with each movie he makes, directing with such an assured sense of cinematic storytelling. He knows that great movies are all about all of the elements working together in harmony - the story, the visuals, the performances, the production design and set decoration, even the score (in this it's by Marco Beltrami). This horror shows his talented capabilities as a genre filmmaker, proving he's adept in being meticulous yet building an entirely captivating, if minimal, story to follow. And I hope he only continues to get better, as I couldn't be more thrilled with what he's created for us to enjoy this time. It's very worth seeing in a cinema.
Alex's Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Follow Alex on Twitter - @firstshowing