This was a film I was dreading to see. Not because of what was going to be shown on screen, but of watching it in the cinema. A Quiet Place is a suspense thriller set in a post-apocalyptic future that revolves around the dangers of making too much noise at the risk of being found and killed by ‘monsters’. Therefore, the film is often silent with long passages of time passing without dialogue or substantial noise of any kind. This means that if anyone brings popcorn, nachos or pretty much anything sold at a concession stand into the theatre, they will be heard and they may take you out from the experience of watching it.
The best way to watch this film is in the dark and in silence, with no distractions, because then you’ll be able to fully appreciate the suspense and masterful visual storytelling on display
If you are planning to see this film, which I highly recommend, do avoid bringing food and drink into the cinema; even try to go to a screening where you know there will be as few people as possible. It will make all the difference, as did the people who ate their popcorn very slowly throughout the entire 90 minutes at my screening. The best way to watch this film is in the dark and in silence, with no distractions, because then you’ll be able to fully appreciate the suspense and masterful visual storytelling on display.
A Quiet Place is a set in a world that has been overtaken by monsters that hunt humans, entirely by detecting sound. Where they came from and what their intentions are (beyond hunting humanity down) is made unclear. Instead, it focusses on a family of survivors and how they try to live their lives while making as little noise as possible. The tight narrative focus is one of the film’s strengths; it never creates questions we don’t need answers to. A Quiet Place spends time on the family dynamic and characters, fleshing out their routines and strict circumstances mostly through impeccable visual storytelling. Dialogue is sparse in this film and, for the most part, characters communicate via sign language, which adds realism and an importance to the few words spoken between characters. Every line matters, and given this film has a very short runtime, every second counts.
this is a film that trusts its audience to follow it and utterly delivers on its simple yet captivating premise
The minimalist approach also helps the almost continuous tension – once things go wrong, the film rarely lets the audience catch a breath, and while at times the characters and world could have been more fleshed out, it doesn’t make the horror or set pieces any less tense or captivating. Similar to another film that relied mostly on its visuals to tell its story, Mad Max: Fury Road, this is a film that trusts its audience to follow it and utterly delivers on its simple yet captivating premise.
All four of the main cast delivers excellent performances that not only convey their fear but also make it utterly believable that they are a family unit. Emily Blunt’s haunted expressions, Josh Krasinski’s silent urgency, Millicent Simmonds’ self-loathing and Noah Jupe’s terror all work to make this film nerve-wracking. A Quiet Place can also join the ranks of films such as It for impeccable child casting as the kids’ performances easily match the adults in this film.
Where the film falls, potentially, is the monsters themselves. This isn’t a comment on the set pieces, which are relentless, suspenseful and perfectly timed (so as to not drag or indeed the CGI which is well rendered or ever unconvincing). Instead, it lies in how much we get to see them – a lot. The film is very happy for its audience to fully see the monsters in full very early on and only through a few scenes feel inspired by Spielberg, in particular, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and his War of the Worlds, the filmmakers could have learned a few more lessons from him on keeping the creatures in the dark for longer to build suspense. While they have an effective design and they are believable in just how threatening they are throughout the entire film, with just a few tweaks of the camera position they could have been more far more ambiguous and threatening early on. This may be a personal gripe and many will simply not mind how they are otherwise well depicted.
A Quiet Place is overall strong suspense thriller that keeps its focus on the characters and set-pieces, delivering an intense cinematic experience. While I didn’t have the best experience seeing it in a busy, popcorn-munching screening, hopefully, the same won’t be the case for you, and you’ll be able to enjoy this film for all it’s worth.