Distributed By: Paramount Pictures
Reviewed By Melissa Minners
When A Quiet Place hit the theaters in April, the movie received great reviews, but I wasn’t much in the mood to spend my hard-earned money on yet another post-apocalyptic horror film, so I passed it up. Recently, looking for something new to add to Horror Month at G-POP, I decided that I’d check it out. I never realized just what I passed up on!
Beginning in the year 2020, A Quiet Place comes upon the Abbott family while they are out scavenging for supplies. As the family moves through a store, they speak to one another in American Sign Language. Apparently, the world as they know it has ended thanks to creatures of an unknown origin who have wiped out most of Earth’s human and animal populations. Apparently, these creatures can’t see, but they have hypersensitive hearing. The family must keep their noise down to a minimum, thus, the use of ASL. But there is another reason to sign – Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their sons Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward) can hear, but their daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is hearing impaired.
While at the store, Beau discovers a toy that resembles his favorite thing at the moment – a rocket ship. Unfortunately, the toy is electronic and makes too much noise. Lee tells his son he can’t have it, but Regan, removing the batteries, gives the toy back to her younger brother. She couldn’t have known that Beau would take the batteries along with him or that he would begin playing with the new rocket ship, batteries back inside, while they are on the trail home. A creature comes for him and his death is something that Regan will blame herself for.
Flash forward a year and the family is still surviving. Evelyn is in the final stages of pregnancy. Lee is still struggling to understand the monsters that have invaded his world, searching for some kind of weakness and any sort of survivors. In his spare time, he works to fix Regan’s cochlear implant, using scavenged amplifiers, but they never work. In an effort to teach Marcus how to take care of the family should something happen to him, Lee takes Marcus out to search for supplies. Regan, believing her father no longer loves her after what happened to Beau, is distraught and visit’s the site of Beau’s death.
But something extraordinarily dangerous is about to happen to the Abbott family – a baby is about to be born and in a world where sound can kill you, this birth can be deadly for more reasons than lack of medical supplies. The noise of the birth/the cries of the baby could bring the creatures down on them all.
I loved that there was very little dialogue in A Quiet Place. It made you focus on the visuals – you had to look at the old newspapers on display and the notes that Lee takes to understand what has happened to the world. The sound director did an excellent job in allowing us to understand what it is like to be hearing impaired, letting us hear the same things that most of the Abbott family hears and then allowing us to experience the world the way Regan does. As I understand it, director John Krasinski specifically searched for a hearing-impaired actress to play Regan so he could learn about being deaf through her and make the film more authentic. Wise decision if you ask me.
Since there is little dialogue and the family struggles to make as little noise as possible in their lives, you must read their emotions through their expressions. The actors did a terrific job expressing themselves through facial expression and body language. Millicent Simmonds is an amazing actress and her portrayal of Regan is my favorite in the whole movie. But I have to say, each and every actor in this film made it a believable experience. You actually believed that these separate actors were a family and that they were experiencing something terrifying while being hunted. You can see the guilt, frustration and fear…not just the fear of the creature, but the fear of the parents who worry that they can’t find a way to keep their children safe from the world. Even Lee’s constant attempts at fixing Regan’s cochlear implant is an attempt to keep her safe – Lee fears the danger that can actually kill her daughter if she doesn’t hear it coming. The emotional strife felt by each member of the family is a palpable thing, whether it’s guilt over the child lost, fear that the parents can’t protect their children, the constant fear of making a sound the creatures might hear…it keeps you on edge and pulls at your heartstrings.
The creatures themselves were rather interesting. I thought Industrial Light and Magic did a decent job, though I felt like the creatures did look a tad bit too much like the Lickers from Resident Evil. The coolest thing about these creatures is the way they hunt…the way their head just sort of opens to reveal a massive audio sensory appendage and massive fangs was both creepy and cool at the same time. And to think – the creatures and their hunt/kill moments are really the only special effects in the whole film.
The ending wasn’t exactly a surprise for me, but it was incredibly dramatic and proves what one might be willing to sacrifice to save someone they love. The very end is somewhat open, leaving us to decide what might happen next. I found that to be awesome, giving the viewers enough keys to figure out their own ending to the film.
I wasn’t sure whether I would like this film when I first set out to watch it, but since I’ve seen it, I’ve been telling everyone I know about A Quiet Place. This movie is terrific and I wish I had gone to see it on the big screen if only to see those creatures in their full gross-out state!