Friends, this will absolutely be a Non-Spoiler review of A Quiet Place. Beyond that which can be readily seen in the teaser trailer from back in 2017. However, explaining my feelings on why I believe John Krasinski has delivered a throwback to ’70s horror, this might in fact unintentionally reveal something. So if you’ve not had the pleasure of catching A Quiet Place yet – you might wait to read this until then.
Before I dive into my thoughts on the film, I am going to echo something that other reviewers have stated. Watching A Quite Place was possibly the best theater experience I have had in many moons. The truth of the matter is that I have begun to dread seeing a film with a large audience. I pay my hard earned money to see a movie. Not to be blinded by hundreds of cell phones at the most pivotal moment of the film. Not to have to strain to hear the actors speaking over folks talking, not whispering but having full volume conversations. Nor do I enjoy the seemingly transformation of a movie auditorium into an impromptu session of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Yet, more often than not – in particular with horror films, this is the case. Not so with A Quiet Place. Moments after the house lights had dimmed, an amazing transformation took place. It was as if the opening moments of the film itself had cast a spell on the audience. Due to the lack of speech in the film, the importance of any noise possibly bringing death to the characters. Every single person in the audience was so very, very quiet. No open mouthed chomping of popcorn or crinkling of the bag of tortilla chips to defuse the tension on screen. I even found myself, making sure to not twist the cap on my bottle of water too fast – to avoid making undue noise. It was truly an interesting theater going experience – one that I cannot help but hope you experience as well.
Now, as I was watching the film, it occurred to me that it felt very much like an apocalyptic ’70s film. Along the lines of Damnation Alley, No Blade of Grass, The Omega Man, and even a little like 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In addition, there is also an incredibly strong vibe similar to Richard Matheson’s 1954 masterpiece, I Am Legend.
Plus an element from 1985’s Day of the Dead. You will know the moment when you see it, if you are a fan of the Romero films. It has to do with presenting information to the audience without any exposition. A Quiet Place taps into a dread of everything having spun out of control, through no fault of your own. That element helps you not just feel for the characters but fear for their safety too. Naturally it also helps that the cast knock it out of the park with their performances as well.
Director, co-writer, and co-lead John Krasinski plays Lee Abbott. With Krasinski’s real life Wife, Emily Blunt, playing his spouse, Evelyn Abbott. Along with their three children, Regan, Marcus, and Beau. Who are wonderfully played by Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, and Cade Woodward. Right from the very beginning we are thrust into a world that has moved on. Something horrible has taken place, something monstrous is afoot. Humanity as far as we can tell is gone. Vacant streets, shops, and abandoned vehicles are everywhere. Thanks to some truly wonderful directing and editing, we realize that any sound above a whisper – possibly even that can be deadly. It is a world of perpetual silence.
The film isn’t interested in the big action pieces of the ’80s. Krasinski delivers a pot boiler, a horror film to be sure, but its concern is on the Abbot family. Little touches that raise the film up, like the painting of spots on the floor. A wooden floor, so the Family knows precisely where to step to avoid a single creak. This, besides being possibly my favorite shot in the film, harkens back to elements of I Am Legend as well as The Omega Man. The mundane, the routine chores that become an absolute lifeline.
In closing, there are certainly elements of ’70s horror in the movie. Whether John Krasinski planned that or not, I cannot say. It is however a very good time to be a fan of horror movies and fantastique films in general. Get Out, It, The Shape of Water, 1922, and more. All quite exceptional in their individual ways and A Quiet Place proudly joins their ranks.
Ready to see the teaser trailer for A Quiet Place?
[Via] Paramount Pictures