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A Quiet Place

For nearly a decade, John Krasinski was known primarily for portraying the lovable and hilarious Jim Halpert on THE OFFICE. 

Though the actor appeared in films such as the tragically underrated AWAY WE GO, and the Michael Bay actioner 13 HOURS, it was his amiable persona on the THE OFFICE that made him a recognizable star. For some, the transition from the small-screen to the Cineplex’s can be extremely difficult, particularly when you are a supporting player in a beloved series. And, while this may have all been true in relation to Krasinski before this year, it simply no longer the case. With the creative and financial success of his incredible thriller A QUIET PLACE, he has instantly become one of the hottest names in Hollywood.  

Krasinski and his real-life wife Emily Blunt star as Lee and Evelyn Abbott, parents of three young children at the end of the world. Set in the year 2020, the film takes place after an alien invasion has decimated the population of the planet. Savagely attacking anything that makes a noise above a whisper, the creatures are precise, vicious and deadly. As a result, in order to stay alive, the Abbott’s must avoid wearing shoes, communicate via sign language, and avoid anything that might make any type of sound. Being that I am a parent of two children who are only silent when they are sleeping, I, for one, know how colossally impossible this endeavor would be. For a while, the Abbott’s are successful in their seemingly futile attempt at survival, and then swiftly and sadly, tragedy befalls them. 

The Abbot family Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe.

While the film is called A QUIET PLACE, sound may be the single most important aspect of the entire production. It’s obvious that, being a creature feature, it’s imperative that the aliens be terrifying as well, but at the end of the day, they are not the reason the that this movie succeeds. Instead, it is the performances of its minimalist cast (I counted a total of 8 characters who are seen onscreen) and the use of sound that allow this PLACE to become of the most suspenseful and original thrillers in years. 

Like Christopher Nolan’s DUNKIRK, the sound in A QUIET PLACE is a character in itself.  Utilized with expert precision by Krasinski, who not only served as the star of the film, but director, co-producer, and co-writer, it proves to be the very essence of terror. With an almost complete lack of dialogue, it is the background noise that helps continuously build tension. In fact, in many instances, it is the lack of sound that crafts an utterly unnerving feeling that pushes the viewer ever closer to the edge of their seat. Knowing that a single item falling, or a sudden exclamation or cry could result in the violent end of anyone on screen, you find yourself simultaneously dreading, and shamefully yearning for, anything that may trigger an attack. 

Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbot.

 

In conjunction with the sound, the performances by the main cast (Krasinski, Blunt, and youngsters Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe) are fantastic. Though not a silent film by any means, in a way, the performers must project their emotions like the most accomplished silent stars in the early days of cinema. Without a spoken word, they effectively display fear, desperation, hope, and love as each situation dictates, and this heightens the sense of intensity throughout. As more than one sequence illustrates, A QUIET PLACE is not a
predictable by-the-numbers thriller where you know what is going to happen from one sequence to the next, so the characters visceral reactions are instrumental in the film’s
ability to inspire chills and jumps. 

Though there are likely to be a number of qualified candidates when 2018 comes to a close, at this point, I wholeheartedly believe that Krasinski deserves Best Director consideration from the Academy. While it can’t compare in social commentary and boundary-shattering execution of Jordan Peele’s GET OUT, A QUIET PLACE obliterated the norms of traditional PG-13 thrillers. Challenging its audience to accept a feature length film where there are only a handful of spoken words, and doing so with such a small cast, it is a daring experiment that could have failed miserably. Instead, it is one of the more entertaining productions I have seen this year, and as a horror fan, one that I am unlikely to forget.

A Quiet Place: GRADE: A

RATED: PG-13

RUN TIME: 1h 30min

GENRE: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

STARRING: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

DIRECTORs: John Krasinski

Writers: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.