By Savannah C Purvis
A Quiet Place is a 2018 American horror/thriller movie directed and written by John Krasinski. The movie stars Krasinski and real-life wife Emily Blunt in the main roles. Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe portray their children in a film that tells the story of a family living in a world where deadly creatures hunt them. These creatures are completely blind but hunt humans using the sounds people make…no matter how slight the sound may be.
Krasinski and Blunt are both stellar as parents whose only concern is protecting their family. After a tragedy at the start of the movie occurs, they are obsessed with keeping their children safe, no matter what the cost. They take the proper precautions, and Evelyn (Blunt) almost never leaves their side. Particularly, Krasinski gives an extraordinary performance by somehow conveying a father’s intense feelings of love and protectiveness with virtually no dialogue or sound. This leads to another impressive part of the film: its use of silence. As simple and perhaps even boring as it may sound, the movie’s use of silence to depict the family’s “normal” routine is nothing short of amazing. Krasinski takes normal, everyday things – things that you don’t even really realize make noise, and turns them into nearly unbearable suspense as they struggle to hide their existence from these terrifying creatures.
They walk barefoot outside to prevent the sound shoes make; when one character is seen washing his face, he lies a towel across the bathroom counter so water droplets don’t drip onto it and make even a tiny splash.
When the children play board games, they use soft pieces of cotton instead of plastic pieces to play with. Evelyn is forced to hold in a cry of pain when she steps onto an upward-facing nail. Even more terrifying, she must give birth to her child while stifling the screams from the pain of labor. The characters are so terrified of noise it makes you terrified too.
My theater was silent for the entirety of the movie – there was no talking, laughing, or use of cell phones. It was so quiet, in fact, that you could hear the smallest of noises; people shifting their feet on the floor, digging into their popcorn buckets, even breathing. Of course, the movie-makers couldn’t resist using this avoidance of sound against us, using jump scares at the most opportune times. If I could file one complaint (and I can because I am a critic) it would be the overuse of jump scares. The abundance of this tactic detracts from the story at times and seems more dedicated to a “cheap” scare rather than allowing the audience to truly feel and remember them. They go from inspiring an adrenaline rush to just leaving the audience exhausted and drained after reflexively jumping out of their seats every five minutes. However, once the second half of the movie gets started the jumps are kept to a minimum.
Honestly, it’s almost difficult to write this review because there are so many good things to say about A Quiet Place. Unlike many of its contemporaries, it uses very little violence or language to communicate its message. There are deaths, but they are used to convey emotion, not revel in gore. Much is left to the audience’s imagination and that is part of what makes this an extraordinary movie. One scene in particular garnered a gasp from many people in the theater. However, this was not due to the violence of the event, but the heartache it invoked… for the tragedy itself. Despite the fact that it has less than a 90 minute running time, the characters feel vibrant and real. Anything that hurts them, hurts you as well.
Another admirable quality – probably the standout of all of the other well-done parts – is the movie’s message and portrayal of family. It particularly zeroes in on parenthood, but almost anyone could gain insight by watching these amazingly, normal people trapped in a very abnormal situation. Simply put, the story and characters are relatable. It shows not only the desire of the parents to protect their children, but also the childrens’ views of their parents. Due to a past mistake, their teenage daughter Regan is certain her father hates her. This is something she confesses to her younger brother early in the film when you find she is wracked with guilt over her part in a horrible tragedy that takes place at the beginning of the movie. In a later scene, her brother tells the father of Regan’s doubt of his love for her. This is one of the only times there is real spoken dialogue in the movie. Krasinski uses the few scenes of spoken words to his advantage, instilling a certain sense of emotion that permeates the entire film. The boy asks his father if he loves Regan, and describes to him her uncertainty. The father looks shocked by the accusation. “Of course I do,” he says in a raw tone.
“Then you should tell her,” the son says. “She wants to hear it.” And, while she doesn’t exactly hear it (Regan, ironically, is hearing impaired), she gets her wish by the end of the movie when her father signs: “I love you…I have always loved you.” You can tell by the look on her face that she really believes it. And, partially in testament to both Millicent Simmonds and John Krasinski’s acting, you believe it, too.
So, what can a believer take away from this movie? Its clear message of family is the biggest takeaway. Unlike many modern movies, the father is clearly seen as the head of the household. And he is portrayed as loving, caring and strong. Take for example the scene in which the wife/mother is cradling their newborn baby, while the husband/father cradles his wife. Not only is the short scene a true film-making masterpiece, it paints a beautiful picture of how God intended the traditional family to work. “Who are we if we can’t protect them?” Evelyn asks once. It is the question that fuels the entire movie, the idea that has drawn audiences around the world to the movie theater over and over. Because no matter if you’re a parent, a child, a sibling, or just a human being, A Quiet Place‘s poignant study of relationships and human nature will undoubtedly resonate with you in one way or another. You may leave the theater devastated, excited, elated, horrified…you could feel a million things all at the same time, just because of this one 90-minute movie. But I can tell you one thing: you’ll think twice about making any noise for a while.
This movie is rated PG-13, and holds some material that may or may not be objectionable to some viewers. There are several suspenseful scenes of tension, along with a moment or two of brief violence in the midst of tragedies. These instances, for the most part, are few and far between and do not, in my opinion, overshadow the movie. But they do exist. Whether you should watch the movie or not…I leave that to you.
Savannah is a daughter, a sister and more importantly a child of God. She loves movies and wants you to love them just as much. She is a rising senior in High School and currently resides in the great state of Florida. She is also co-producer of Growth Project radio and a regular contributor to the Growth Project ministry.