You have to watch the riveting A Quiet Place, but you have to watch it properly: preferrably in a theatre, but on a matinee, free of popcorn and kids, alone in the dark.
You see, the world has been invaded by savage, beast-like aliens, seemingly invincible, who hunt all living creatures by sound. It goes post-apocalyptic from there, and the few survivors have learned to live their lives entirely in silence. If you so much as drop your keys, within seconds a hulking, sinewy monster made of claws and teeth will descend upon your location to hunt you down.
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt play the parents of one family that has adapted to this new reality: they only communicate by sign language, walk barefoot on paths of sand that they have built, and do not use cutlery or other items susceptible of falling over and making noise.
It sounds (no pun intended) like they have it figured out, except for two things: their older daughter is hearing impaired, which means she can’t easily tell when things around her are making noises that could endanger her, and Evelyn (Blunt) is pregnant, and newborn babies are notoriously unreceptive to requests to please keep quiet. Everything that can go wrong here, does.
What’s so phenomenal about this film is that Krasinski, who directed it, takes this brilliant concept and runs with it: each character has maybe a dozen lines of dialogue total (including the signed dialogue!) and there are entire sequences that play out in silence. The characters’ need to remain quiet has the effect of enlisting us in their efforts, as you try to stay immobile and listen for the slightest rustle of leaves, a step on a wooden floor, an unexpected cry of pain. You’ll find yourself holding your breath for fear of missing out on a tiny sound. When they happen, the bursts of sound and action are all the more shocking because of the contrast.
A Quiet Place is extremely tense. While I was watching it in an almost empty theatre, a girl a few rows behind me dropped her purse on the floor and we all collectively jumped on our seats. Is it scary? I don’t know if I can judge that; I watched this film right after Hereditary, and frankly after that experience the invasion of giant killer alien monsters was almost a relief. If your sense of fear hasn’t been straight up cauterized by Toni Collette yet, you may find this hops across the line between thriller and horror. I found it gripping, entertaining, and impressively crafted, especially for a directorial debut. Go see it, don’t buy popcorn, and don’t bring your friends who talk during movies.