Film Review - A Quiet Place

From left, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds and John Krasinski act in a scene from “A Quiet Place.”

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"A Quiet Place”

Paramount Pictures

Directed by John Krasinski

Starring John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe

Rated R

3 Stars

I've seen a lot of scary movies, but very few have ever unnerved me as effectively as "A Quiet Place."

The reason is right there in the title, as this movie uses the lack of sound to amp up the tension. Usually a monster movie gives us growling monsters and screaming victims, and the musical soundtrack is always lurking in the background to warn us when the scary stuff is about to happen. That doesn't happen in "A Quiet Place," and that lack of expected sound really messes with your horror movie experience. You end up feeling exposed and very vulnerable.

The reason for the quiet is that in the near future, the story explains, humanity is being hunted by vicious creatures that use sound to close in on their prey. We meet a farming family where everybody knows sign language because of a hearing-impaired daughter, but their ability to communicate in silence isn't the same thing as living an entirely silent life. When even the smallest noise rings the dinner bell for these monsters, it's obvious that this family's survival borders on impossibility.

John Krasinski stars in this latest attempt to make us forget about Jim from "The Office." He gets the hat trick here as he also directed and co-wrote the film. He does a very good job with all three job titles. His real-life wife, Emily Blunt is also quite good playing his on-screen wife, although to be fair, neither of the actors are required to spout Shakespearean dialogue, so their acting kudos come with a bit of a disclaimer.

Still, they are very effective at getting the audience invested in their survival--which is all that is required to make this movie work.

"A Quiet Place" does suffer from some lapses of logic, and it doesn't hold up well to hindsight scrutiny. That doesn't really matter. When you're caught up in watching the movie, there's no time to do anything other than hold your breath and pray for survival. Pity any idiot whose phone goes off during the movie. The audience was eerily silent at my screening, right up until they broke into applause at the end. It was as if we were all a part of the family's survival story. If somebody in the audience even crinkled a candy wrapper, they would be complicit in the on-screen carnage that would surely come.

It makes for a very scary and immersive thrill ride that may take a while to forget. Heaven knows that I played my stereo at full volume on the way home from the theater. Anything resembling quiet reminded me that there just might be ravening monsters out there in the dark.