Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A Quiet Place: Silence is Golden


Anyone familiar with horror films can usually name one severe and quiet moment that left an impact on them. Moments when our main character is hiding from the monster/killer and they can’t afford to make a sound. Those moments are usually the most intense and terrifying parts in any horror movie. Well, take that moment, and stretch it to movie length, and you’ve got the concept for “A Quiet Place.”

The movie follows the Abbott family as they try to survive in a deserted town, inhabited by a pack of hostile and monstrous creatures that hunt via sound. With everyone in their city either dead or evacuated, only a pregnant Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt), her husband Lee Abbott (John Krasinski), and their two kids remain as they are forced to go about their days without making any noise whatsoever. Unfortunately, their situation takes a dire turn when Evelyn goes into labor, and with a noisy baby on the way, their once safe haven is put in jeopardy as the creatures converge on their home.

“A Quiet Place” is one of the most distinctive horror movies I’ve seen in a while. It’s rare to get a movie that could actually be replicated during the Silent Film Era. Though it’s certainly not the most terrifying film I’ve seen, it’s up there as one of the most intense thrillers of 2018.

Given the premise, and the established rules regarding the creatures, you can bet that over 90% of the dialogue is done through sign language—with occasional spoken dialogue. I like that the movie went with this, because it probably would’ve been annoying hearing our characters whisper throughout most of the movie. Plus, it only adds to how dire the Abbott family’s situation is, especially when we see the great lengths they go through in order to avoid making no sound what so ever at home or when they’re out scavenging.

That’s another point in “A Quiet Place” favor—the movie only focuses on our four characters trying to survive. The plot never stops to focus on another set of characters, or even explain the creatures and their agenda. In fact, we’re only given brief bits of information from newspaper clippings found throughout the movie regarding the creatures’ origin and their impact on the outside world; which is a good thing. It only adds to the mystery and doesn’t slow down the plot.

All in all, “A Quiet Place” is a film I want to praise for its fascinating and fresh concept, but unfortunately, there are two issues that hurt the overall film for me that need to be addressed. First off, while “A Quiet Place” is well shot and strung together, this is one of those movies that can be ruined if you overthink it. If you’re someone that has trouble trying to suspend your disbelief in certain stories, then “A Quiet Place” might not be for you.

The last issue is the creatures themselves and how they’re utilized. Though they’re never given an official name, the design is quite fascinating—sort of like a cross between the Xenomorph from the 1979 film “Alien” with a crustacean. However, this is supposed to be a horror film about terror and mystery. The terror was in trying to not make noise and attract these creatures, and the mystery was pondering what they really look like. We never see a clear picture of one until halfway through the movie. After that, the monsters suddenly become less camera shy and are shown more often.

The horror would’ve been more impactful if we never saw what the creatures looked like. Just show parts of them and let the audience’s imagination fill in the rest. If you keep the audience guessing and in the unknown, then you’ll keep them scared. I believe famed writer H.P. Lovecraft said it best: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” (1927).

“A Quiet Place” is rated PG-13 for terror and some bloody images. The film is credited as a Sci-Fi/Horror movie, but as a horror film, the terror comes from the tension, making it more of a Sci-Fi/Thriller. This is a B-Movie that asks you to shut your brain off in order to enjoy it, and if you can do that, then viewers should get plenty of entertainment from this film. The concept and fluid execution makes it more than worth at least one viewing from any interested moviegoer. Which is why the final score for “A Quiet Place” is a 7.5 out of 10.

Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.

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