Setting the tone from the beginning, director, actor and impressive beard owner, John Krasinski establishes the world we’re living in with a shopping trip. Children run through the aisles barefoot ensuring to stay silent in a world where anything above a decibel is a potential death sentence. We’ve barely stepped into A Quiet Place and within five minutes, the former star employee of Dunder Mifflin gets pulses racing and ensures to keep it that way for the rest of this undeniably tense near perfect horror movie.
A creature feature that’s smarter than most, A Quiet Place drops us in a not-too-distant future that has been besieged by nightmarish beasts which hunt and track their prey with sound. Our insight into this nightmarish landscape is through the Abbott family, who have already suffered a loss from this mysterious and deadly enemy and are determined not to lose another. Trying to keep his house in order and alive is Krasinski’s Lee, who nails the strong and understandably silent father figure perfectly, only occasionally leaning on his pregnant wife Evelyn, played by his real-life other half, Emily Blunt.
As you’d expect the chemistry between the two is rock solid, taking on the roles of a partnership that has been hit hard by tragedy and trying with all its might to keep quiet and carry on. In a world where talking out loud is an unwritten rule, a glance between them is all that’s needed to display the horror and humanity they’re witnessing, both working together to ensure the safety of their children; youngest and fearful son Marcus, as well as oldest and deaf daughter Regan. Naturally, the latter applies an interestingly unsettling element A Quiet Place, as well as so many hypothetical horrifying scenarios that befall this family and their greatest fear. Everything from pregnancy to doing the laundry gets ramped up to a nail-bitingly tense level, bringing a silence so deathly a pin dropping would be enough to make you scream.
Displaying a creativity and control not seen since Get Out last year, this fresh director to the genre has an exceptional eye displaying this bundle of worrying ‘what if’s’. The story itself, penned by Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and Krasinski himself, is airtight only thanks to the well thought out foundations it sits on, covering every base and sticking close to the rules it sets. The result is a masterclass in tension, executed brilliantly, providing not just bundles of terror but silent and hugely heartfelt moments in between.
Like so many great horrors before it, A Quiet Place excels not just by stopping your heart but warming it, as well. The fear factor is as strong as it is mainly for the fact that this is a family you are immediately drawn into and care for, with most praise falling to both Krasinski and Millicent Simmonds. The fragile relationship between father and daugther is wonderful and shows Simmonds as another young star to look out for in the future and more than capable when the films inevitable showdown unfolds and the family member with the highest risk becomes its strongest.
Therein lies the only minor fault with A Quiet Place; its movie monster. Though the world it inhabits is wonderfully fleshed out and its biology believable, audiences may have seen Stranger Things like this before. There’s something awfully Demogorgon-esque about the films audio-hunting antagonist but as stated, it’s a minor fault. The horror isn’t in the look but the terror leading up to it, and Krasinski nails it note for petrifying note.