When the BBFC card arrives on the screen after the trailers have finished, it explains that A Quiet Place contains “sustained threat”. That’s actually a good place to start a review of the film, directed by and starring john Krasinsky, of The Office fame. Krasinski, and real life wife Emily Blunt, and their children, (not their real life children though!) are being hunted in middle America by horrific and murderous aliens, (probably), that are blind and attack wherever they hear any noise. As a result, America, and most likely the rest of the world, has been wiped out with just a few remaining pockets of resistance left, that survive by living in silence and constant fear of any noise that will alert the creatures to their presence. As a result, we get a claustrophobic and intense film experience that never really lets the tension go, and builds the menace and terror up to a satisfying conclusion.
The cast, tiny as it is, is fantastic. The monsters are truly scary and the suspense is piled up from the opening sequence to the very last scene. The child actors are truly amazing, a rare feat these days, and something that has to work in a film like ths where they have so much screen time. It’s a high concept sci fi horror that has elements of Cloverfield and The Twilight Zone, mixed with an early X Files episode. The family at the center of the drama are believable and endearing, Krasinski makes us care for the characters and from the opening set piece, we are thrown off center and spend the rest of the movie genuinely concerned about their final fate.
There is a strong message here of the parents protecting the young, and the theme of family and protection is the driving motivation for the events that follow. Although I am sure that there was never any draft of the script where it was covered, but my only gripe, if that’s what you could call it, is I would have liked maybe just a little more back story. When we join the cast, it’s day 89 of whatever has happened that has seen the arrival of the monsters and their culling of the human race. We see newspaper clippings and headlines that make it clear that to survive, you need to be quiet, but there was nothing to let us know what they really were.
Maybe I missed an important clue in the various printed matter shown briefly on screen, but I was left wondering what the creatures were. I think they were most probably alien, but I kept thinking of Signs, you know the M Night Shyamalan flick, and you know there’s a theory that states the aliens in that screenplay are never named as extra terrestrial, and there are plenty of religious motifs in the screenplay that suggests the things invading may have been demons. Honest. check it out, all those half empty glasses of water were actually filled with holy water that would banish demons. Like I said, it’s just a theory.
So A Quiet Place is an unqualified success and one of my favorite films of the year so far. Go and see it, and can I suggest you go when your cinema is quiet and empty. In a film this intense, you don’t want to be disturbed by some idiot spending the whole 90 minutes stuffing his face with as much popcorn as he can like a complete corn pig. Oh the irony.