A Quiet Place Indeed

Noise becomes terrifying in A Quiet Place. The film introduces a world where the villains hunt by sound and characters have to remain super inaudible. But the film is not as dull as it sounds. Christian Tesfaye found it one of the scariest this decade, awarding 8 out of 10 stars.

A great horror movie should be able to take ordinary occurrences and turn them into something scary.

This was what Psycho, a 1960 film by the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, did. With its shower scene that remains scary to this day and a terrifying score, it was able to make people conscious of taking a bath. The same goes for Stanley Kubrick’s fantastic The Shining, which turns loneliness into an exercise of freight.

This is a lesson that A Quiet Place heeds. It is an indictment of noise pollution, how modern society has become noisy to the point it seems unideal to exist without making a sound.

Taking place in a world where people die if they make a sound, it subjects the audience to a sort of claustrophobia. It is directed with enough ingenuity to put us in the characters’ shoes and invites us to dare make the smallest of sounds.

The film follows a family of five. The patriarch is Lee (John Krasinski), who is an engineer that is looking for a way for him and his family to survive an apocalypse. The earth is infested with giant, almost indestructible and violent extraterrestrial creatures. They cannot see, but they can hear in great detail.

The key to survival is to be quiet. This throughout the film proves to be hard as objects fall and characters feel the aggressive need to scream at the moment of physical or psychological pain.

Matters are complicated by the fact that the matriarch, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), is pregnant, the daughter is deaf, the son is fearful, and it is rare to find a soul outside of the family members.

The film does not let up. It is one terrifying moment after another, with the smallest of sounds amplified to remind the audience of the impending doom that may follow. It is not for the faint-hearted.

I am all the more impressed by the film in that Krasinski directed it. Best known for comedy, as in the TV show The Office, he was nonetheless able to build spine-chilling atmosphere through A Quiet Place.

For today’s audience, this can be a weird film to dive in as mainstream audiences are used to the noise of car crashes and explosions. Audiences at Matti Cinema were no different, in that many seemed confused with the silence of it all until the essence of the film began to creep in. This testifies to the talent of Krasinski.

He draws out exceptional performances, especially from Blunt, also his wife. She exudes true terror and performs with incredible energy. Of course, she is assisted with a good plot that only requires her to build on her character’s vitality and emotions.

The brilliance of the film lies in making us care about the characters. They are tightly knit and have their individual intricacies. There are also high stakes in who they are. Most of the main characters are children, and it is harrowing to see them in situations where they are about to be mauled by unthinking creatures.

Although most of today’s horror movies are filled with gotcha moments, great horror movies grace the screen once or twice every other year. Most recently we had It, carried over by the bluster of its villain.

In recent years there have been the likes of It Follows, another movie with an interesting concept. It is one in which a supernatural being that transmits through sexual intercourse terrifies a group of youngsters. And then there was the brilliant The Witch, with its quiet atmosphere and rebuke of piety.

A Quiet Place is a welcome addition to the list of modern shockers. It is well plotted, charismatically directed and ambitiously acted. It makes up for all the Saw and the Paranormal Activity movies that have lent a bad name to the horror genre.


By Christian Tesfaye
Exclusive to Fortune

Published on Apr 21,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 938]



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