Del reviews ‘A Quiet Place’
“A Quiet Place” Starring Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. Directed by John Krasinski. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13.
“A Quiet Place” is relentlessly tense. To be honest, I was relieved when the movie ended because throughout, my stomach was cinched into a knot. It has a couple of problems, but overall it’s a good value for your entertainment dollar and I recommend it.
It’s directed by John Krasinski of “The Office” fame, but Emily Blunt, who plays his wife both on and offscreen, has been getting top billing. Krasinski also directed the film. I’ve always wondered how that works. If you screw up a scene, do you get mad and yell at yourself?
The story is about a family trying to survive the emergence of a blind super predator that hunts by sound. I was a little unclear as to where the predators came from. Are they extraterrestrials? Demons? Genetic mutations? I don’t think the movie made that clear, but reviewers are calling them aliens so I’ll go with that.
The Abbott family lives on an abandoned farm in the countryside, never speaking, never wearing shoes, never doing anything that might reveal their presence to the monsters. They communicate through sign language and scatter sand along their footpaths to muffle the sound of their tread.
The first anecdote of the movie ratchets up the tension to an unbearable level. The family is scavenging for supplies in a nearby town. Their youngest, a little boy named Beau, finds a battery-operated space shuttle toy and wants to play with it, but Krasinski takes it away from him and removes the batteries, explaining the toy is too loud. Later, Beau’s big sister Regan (Simmonds) gives him the toy, and as they’re leaving Beau grabs the batteries.
As they’re walking back to the farmhouse the boy falls behind – because he’s loading the batteries into the toy. When he turns it on it begins to emit loud sounds, and what you fear might happen … well … it actually happens.
Cut to a year later. Blunt is pregnant. Otherwise, nothing has changed. Well, not quite. Regan blames herself for her little brother’s death. She thinks her father hates her. She doesn’t feel welcome in the family, even after her dad tries to invent a turbocharged hearing aid that might repair her deafness. The Abbotts’ other son, Marcus (Jupe), is more terrified of the monsters than the rest of the family and doesn’t think his father will keep them safe. Turns out he should be afraid.
I won’t say anything more about the plot. I don’t want to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say everything that follows cranks up the tension to the point you will be breaking for the bathroom or snack bar just to get your heart back in sync, like I did during a certain scene involving a nail.
But yes, in my opinion the movie had a few problems. The story supposedly takes place between one and two years after the creatures arrive, yet the town the Abbotts raid for supplies looks like it’s been abandoned for many years. By the same token, the farm where they hide is surrounded by lovingly cultivated fields of corn, which could not have been accomplished without the use of heavy – and loud – machinery.
And what’s with this baby thing? Why would they bring a baby into this world? And aren’t babies loud? I mean, really, really loud?
If the monsters are attracted to sound, why couldn’t Krasinsky set up some speakers in the middle of that corn field, crank up the Iggy Pop and blast the monsters to smithereens when they show up?
Apart from those gripes, “A Quiet Place” is a super tense, super scary movie that should appeal to both fans and non-fans of horror. See it in a movie theater. Don’t wait for it to show up on Netflix or Prime.
While I’m at it, let me recommend the smartphone app MoviePass. You pay $7 a month for one theatrical release – per day. Thirty-one movies for $7? I don’t know how they make money at it, but somehow they must.
That’s how we got to see “A Quiet Place.”
I give it a B+.
Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.