Saturday 1 September 2018

A Quiet Place ★★★★☆

There has been a lot of anticipation for relatively new director John Krasinksi’s latest release, ‘A Quiet Place’. Starring Emily Blunt, probably one of our biggest British actresses right now, the film looks a little more understated and serious than other types of horror films we often see. 

We start at 89 days after the event – we don’t know what happened, or what caused it, but we do know that Earth has changed for the worse and is considerably less populated. From the first few scenes, we can gather that a new lifeform has appeared, and that any noise will bring them out of the shadows and lead to instant death.

Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (Krasinski), complete with their children Regan, Marcus, and Beau, are one family desperately trying to survive without being heard. After a series of careless mistakes leads to a tragic outcome, we progress another 300 or so dates into the future. Their life seems to be back on track – they have a house and a carefully considered system to avoid excessive noise, but Evelyn is pregnant again, meaning the family have to find a way of getting through both the birth and raising a child without making a sound.

There are two things immediately different about ‘A Quiet Place’ which work in its favour – firstly sound (both vocals and soundtrack) is extremely limited, with the majority of the script being communicated via sign language, and music only introduced at key moments. The silence is painfully tense at times, with every slight creak or crunch underfoot causing your breath to falter in fear. The second difference is that, unlike most films that give us answers, in the end, we never really get this. Aside from a few newspaper clippings there’s no real context, but it actually works really well, avoiding overdone flashback scenes and focusing purely on a succinct story and the stresses of the present. It’s also only 1hr 32mins long, which is a good length for such a tense film.

It was slightly frustrating being in the dark though, as there were a couple of continuity errors and unexplained situations that led to a lot of questions. If everyone has been killed then where are all the bodies? We can see that communication has been lost between countries which implies that it’s a worldwide situation, but how the event have affected every single location and leave to so few survivors?

Questions aside, the actor performances really made the film stand out, with Blunt excellent as usual as Evelyn. It was the child actors that really stole the show though – sometimes children can struggle to portray emotions such as fear realistically, but I couldn’t fault either Noah Jupe or Millicent Simmonds, and I would so far as to say that Jupe gave one of the best performances I’ve seen from a child actor all year. The scenes leading up the end are particularly well done, with an emotional penultimate scene that will tug at your heart strings.

For me the experience was generally very positive, with convincing suspense and gore, and some excellent use of CGI and effects for both the monsters and the gory parts. If a horror movie is neither believable nor thought-provoking then typically I won’t enjoy it, but ‘A Quiet Place’ manages to be both of these. 

Hannah Read

A Quiet Place at CeX

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