‘A Quiet Place’ review: Making horror great again

If there is a film genre that evokes an unfiltered, instantaneous response, it’s horror. It takes the two strong suits of cinema – audio and visuals – to create a sensory experience that can have a long lasting impact; one that can crawl into your dreams. But it’s not often that a Hollywood film breaks free of its notoriously formulaic mould and experiments unabashedly to produce a rewarding horror experience like John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place.

A Quiet Place
  • Director: John Krasinski
  • Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
  • Story line: A family of four try to survive blind monsters with sharp ears.

What could have easily been a gimmicky post-apocalyptic saga emerges as a film unafraid to explore an aspect of sound that has never been more terrifying: silence. The film opens with a shot of a dusty, broken traffic signal, enough to encapsulate the nature of the times the characters are living in – one where they are probably among the very few if not the only human left on earth. The film refrains from over-explaining the situation or how the one family we follow managed to survive the blind monsters with ultra sharp ears for more than 473 days. In its restraint lies its strength, as the film taps into human fears arising out of anticipation.

For a horror fanatic, it is thrilling to see Krasinski present scenarios that are innovative and push the boundaries of imagination. As the family of four live on a barn in absolute silence for over a year, every little sound becomes integral to the film, placing the audience’s ability to hear at a pedestal. The sounds and silences are of varied intensities and textures, and the visuals add to the film’s breathless nature. Krasinski, thus, presents a technically and aesthetically top-notch adventure but not at the expense of a heart-warming narrative.

Besides the refreshing use of audio-visual chills, what makes A Quiet Place outright scary is the shared human experiences that we see on-screen. The father, Lee (Krasinski), and mother, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), dare to get pregnant and take human life ahead, even as the monsters lurk in the shadows. The filmmaker’s efforts of depicting the family’s internalised fear would have been in vain had it not been for the four skilled actors, Krasinski, Blunt, Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds. There are very few things more terrifying that a pregnant Blunt navigating this make-believe world and its perils.

At the centre of a film as disturbing as this is a tender portrayal of family, parenthood, loss and companionship, proving that there is, in fact, ample space and scope for meaningful horror, like last year’s Get Out. But with an apocalyptic premise, there are bound to be several loopholes, which stand out rather starkly. Most of them make you wonder, “How did that happen, if…?”, but Krasinski’s film is best enjoyed while not nitpicking but immersing yourself in the filmmaker’s vision – one that is invested in resurrecting American horror to glorious heights.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 11:53:29 AM |

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