Although A Quiet Place was not one of the more recent films I have seen this year, it remains embedded within my memory, purely due to its unusual but simultaneously genius craftsmanship. A Quiet Place is basically what it says on the tin, however this sci-fi/horror cleverly highlights how basic aspects within cinema, such as sound, have the power to influence the way in which the viewer absorbs the film. To remove the sound entirely, heightens our senses and creates for an intense viewing experience, the perfect setup for an exhilarating, cinematic journey. Director and actor John Krasinski situates the family in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by monsters who become triggered by sound due to their ultra-sensitive hearing, forcing the family to live in silence. If it isn’t obvious at this point, the film is silent for a majority of the viewing time. This is a difficult scenario for those that enjoy chowing down on crisps and popcorn (such as me) when setting up to watch a film. I did, unfortunately for me, have to give the food a miss throughout the film, as so kindly highlighted by my dear friend, I tend to sound like I’m chewing on a bag of rusty nails rather than a bag of popcorn.
I was impressed with Krasinski’s work, and even more delighted with both him and his wife’s performance. Emily Blunt plays Evelyn Abbott, wife of Lee Abbott (Krasinski), perhaps being a couple on and off the screen aided the narrative and enabled both audience and characters to witness the strong connection between the two. I thought it was a brilliant move to cast Millicent Simmonds, a deaf actress who played the daughter of Lee and Evelyn Abbott. This I felt encouraged the audience to look beyond their own lives and empathise, for a moment, with those who live a life without sound and the difficulties which can arise from this. The lack of sound throughout, places more emphasis on the character's reactions and gestures. Although speaking through sign language, it is interesting to see the persona of each character through mere gestures. For example, John Kransinski’s fatherly role lead him towards the overly protective stance and therefore, his signing is cutting and direct. Whereas Evelyn as the mother meant that her gestures were of a more calm and gentle manner, representing her loving and caring side.
I am a BIG horror fan and thoroughly enjoy the adrenaline and excitement which comes from watching them. I believe what makes for a successful scare fest is the mystery that resides within. This, in my opinion, creates for the more frightening of horrors. A Quiet Place does reveal the monsters explicitly, which I feel can prohibit a strong and fearful reaction from the audience. The family remain in silence through fear of these monsters, therefore, I feel the film should have kept with its central theme of sound and the audience should only hear the monsters and not become fully exposed to them. This would strengthen the overall narrative as well as fuel the genre and make for a thrilling experience.
Furthermore, I felt that the overall storyline avoided bombarding the audience with copious amounts of information as to the reasoning behind the monsters presence. The plot is simple, and the audience are thrown into the midst of the action without the need to know any background information. Instead, the audience are able to focus on the characters, their relationships and how they have adapted to the situation at hand.
The film, as well as the characters, are ultimately driven by fear and paranoia which evokes similar heavy emotions from the audience. I encourage everyone to take a gamble and can safely say that silence has never been so deafening.