Who knew Jim from The Office could produce what is likely to be one of the best horrors of 2018? Sure, this isn’t John Krasinski’s first go at directing, with his previous effort being family drama The Hollars, but there wasn’t much to suggest that he was capable of crafting such an impressive nail-biting thrill of a movie as he has done with A Quiet Place, wringing every drip of creativity from its ingeniously simplistic concept. Co-writing the script with horror writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, Krasinski delievers a movie that sits amongst the best horrors of the decade.
From the beginning we are told it has been 89 days since some unknown disaster lead to vicious reptilian creatures wiping out most of humanity, at least in North America as far as we know. Little attention is given to how these creatures came to be. Whether it’s an alien invasion or man-made scientific experiment gone wrong, the land belongs to them now. While the creatures are blind and don’t seem to smell, they are terrifyingly fast and have exceptional auditory abilities. Basically, if you’re louder than a whisper, you’re pretty much a goner and this gives every scene a gut-wrenching sense of dread which Krasinski exploits to the maximum. We follow the Abbott family, as they try to survive in almost complete silence in their countryside farm in upstate New York. Parents (and real life married couple) Lee (Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) try their best to prepare their children for this harsh new world; they walk barefoot, use leaves instead of plates, eat with their hands and use pieces of cotton when playing board games. They also have the precious advantage of knowing American Sign Language due to their daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) being born deaf, which eases the burden of fearful silence.
Although they lack sight, the creatures have no apparent weaknesses, they are heavily armoured and only a fool would attempt to attack them physically. While this is a monster movie Krasinski wisely focuses on the family and their struggle to survive each day and stay close as a unit. Krasinski and Blunt unsurprisingly have excellent chemistry and while Lee could be considered the lead, Evelyn is no mere housewife and Blunt does great work with the thankfully large amount of screen time she gets. The children impress also, especially Simmonds, (who is deaf in real life) and being the oldest is given a lot of responsibility for someone her age. Despite their naturally being minimal dialogue and a focus on silence (a sound designer’s dream) Krasinski smartly never lets the tension up. Charlotte Bruus Christensen does a great job with her cinematography keeping tight to the characters as the fear spreads across their face when they make an audible and possible death sentence of a sound.
A Quiet Place is gripping back-to-basics horror with an excellent concept that is only elevated by its notable execution. Last year we had Jordan Peele surprise us with Get Out and I feel Krasinski has now done that for 2018 and will surely have plenty of offers thrown at him for his next project which I can’t wait to see. All horror fans, check it out!