A Quiet Place
More Than A Simple Post-Apocalyptic Survival Movie
By RYAN SOARES
Warning – Spoilers Ahead.
The film opens to the 89th day of John Krasinski’s post-apocalyptic world, the family tiptoes bare feet through an abandoned supermarket, communicating to each other in sign language and whispers – why? We aren’t sure yet. Not until the youngest child switches on his battery-operated space shuttle which he snuck, courtesy his deaf elder sister. It doesn’t end well for him; the stakes have been established(noise=death) and we are now with the family in their plight against an unknown creature. Fast-forward to practically a year later, the family is living in what seems like an isolated farmhouse. Emily Blunt is pregnant and expecting to deliver in the coming weeks. The daughter lives with the burden of her brother’s death, and her somewhat distant relationship with her father doesn’t help her cause. John is at his workstation trying to create “another” hearing aid for his daughter and through multiple newspaper clippings we are visually informed that there are possibly 3 creatures, they have almost wiped out human civilization and a solution still hasn’t been discovered.
It’s a classic post-apocalyptic survival movie. The movie does lack a defining story arc, though I didn’t find its absence to bother me too much. Unlike most post-apocalyptic movies, we learn nothing about the creatures (apart from their sensitivity to sound), we don’t know where they came from or whether they were created. Not sure if this was intentional, but the lack of information about these creatures did add an element of mystery to the movie which I did quite enjoy. As the movie progresses it continuously reminds us of the looming threat the family lives in. At a steady pace we feel the tension rising, and while for the most part, it feels like a silent film, the silence works in the film’s favor. At multiple points, the film does employ an old-school jump scare, yet to my relief, they didn’t overdo it. If anything was overdone, I would say that would be the score. The score was brilliant and worked well to heighten the mood, yet at times I did feel the score was in excess and unnecessary.
What makes the movie stand out from a generic horror movie is its splendid use of suspense to keep the audience on the edge of the seat. We see the creature in the cornfield, lurking behind the deaf daughter. We want to scream and tell her to run but she’s oblivious to it due to her deafness followed by the high- pitched noise from her earpiece which turns out to be their weakness (not a big reveal). Another time suspense has been used well is when the nail sticks out the wooden flooring when Emily is taking a sack of clothes from the basement. We know the looming danger, we know she’s going to step on it and we wait in agony, hoping naively that maybe she won’t…but she does. What really amazed me about the small details employed, making the setting look more realistic – the modified monopoly board to make it quieter, the use of sand around the house and on the wooden flooring so their footsteps would go unheard and the red lights used to as a call for help.
Which brings me to the lighting, the red lighting towards the latter half of the movie heightened mood of the film – continuously reminding us of the looming death the family is facing. The hard shadows used on John’s and Emily’s face when they are in the underground bunker speak about the inner conflict they both face. Emily still blames herself for her youngest son’s death, and John tries to reassure her it wasn’t her fault, but he’s also worried about their daughter and son who are still in the fields.
The film is more than a simple post-apocalyptic survival movie, it explores the estranged father-daughter relation, the son whose too scared to go out of the house, and the mother who blames herself for her child’s death. The film immerses you into their world, and finally when the lights do come on you get to heave a cathartic sigh of relief. A feeling very few thrillers leave you with these days.