There will always be moments in a child’s upbringing that haunts them forever, such as the first time they catch their parents having sex. (I’m not implying that it gets easier with a second or third viewing, for the record.)
I, however, will forever be traumatised by one scene in Disney’s 1996 animation, The Hunchback of Notre Dame; specifically a scene where Quasimodo was ridiculed at the Feast of Fools on a spinning wheel as townsfolk through rotten fruit at him. Seriously – I had to hide every time that scene came on my VHS, but I was totally cool with Judge Frollo massacring the groups of innocent gypsies. I was a sick child.
Long story short – I’m a complete wuss when it comes to anything slightly scary in cinema, so when I was asked to review John Krasinski’s directorial debut, A Quiet Place, you can imagine my reaction…
I was, however, pleasantly surprised with just how much I enjoyed the brilliantly tense thriller. A Quiet Place follows a family who must live their lives in total silence, at risk of mysterious creatures hearing them and killing them. (Ironically, my family wouldn’t last half an hour in this world – we’ve had three heated arguments over which is better; Love Island or I’m A Celebrity, today, alone.)
Led by two parents – Lee and Evelyn (played by real-life couple, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) – the family strive to find a way to protect their children at all costs.
Firstly, it would be amiss not to praise the cast. Let’s all remind ourselves here that John Krasinski is the gonk from The Office; a man who once used the pseudonym Bill Buttlicker. Now, he’s taken a page out of Jordan Peele’s book, ‘How To Go From Hugely Successful Comedian, To Horror Director And Have The Whole Of Hollywood Jealous Of Your Talent’, and has created a brave masterpiece on his first attempt. Not only is it brutal and tense, but it’s also gutsy to have your directorial debut feature about eight lines of spoken dialogue, three grunts and a toy rocket as your only audio. John didn’t opt for cheap jump scares, and instead created such a clever horror film; something so quiet that you can actually hear the viewers all scream and gasp at once.
Well, unless you’re watching it with my father – and then he pretends he needs to make dinner. Sure, Pops. I believe you. Of course you wasn’t scared the big bad monsters were coming to get you.
Emily Blunt is simply astonishing in A Quiet Place. Heck, she’s great in everything. But to convey so much emotion without saying a word is just an example of how talented she really is. You believe that the pregnant mother really is in scrutinising agony as her baby is crowning, but she’s too afraid to make a sound, even though she was probably not acting alongside a terrifying beast, but instead a tennis ball on a stick. While the monsters were, admittedly, a little unoriginal [see Stranger Things’ Demogorgon], Emily more than makes up for it.
With a runtime of 90 minutes, A Quiet Place is also paced very well. From the very opening scenes, we’re introduced to the threat. We don’t have to long out the suspense until the final act, only to pretend to be surprised as to what the monster is, despite seeing meme-after-meme of it on Twitter weeks before.
Naturally, however, the biggest success of A Quiet Place is its silence. As mentioned, there is very little spoken dialogue throughout the entire movie. Not only does this add to the dread of what’s to come, but it also includes the viewer in the plot. (Not literally. You can cough during the film, and not worry about being gobbled up.) I felt myself being more attentive to what was actually happening; I was listening out in the distance for any noises that could cause harm to the characters. This suspense is only helped out further by composer (and friend of horror legend, Wes Craven), Marco Beltrami, who created such a powerful soundtrack.
Before this movie, my one ambition in life was to ride the world of horror movies, but after watching this moving story of one family’s will to survive the post-apocalypse, I can honestly say I’m converted. I’m going to go watch The Exorcist now.
Who am I kidding? I’m going to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 again, aren’t I?