Proving that horror films don’t need to be loud to be scary, A Quiet Place, using only a handful of scenes with actual spoken dialogue, is easily the scariest movie of the year. A model of lean, economical storytelling, Quiet is also one of the most cinematic.
Doing more with less at every turn, co-writer/director/star John Krasinski (The Office, Aloha) pushes every department – sound design, visual effects, cinematography, editing, production design, and even hair and make-up – to the limit here and the result is a gripping, edge-of-your seat thriller that, if you’re not careful, might just scare the earbuds off you when you watch it in-flight.
I recommend that you optimize the listening experience with a proper headset which will help highlight the film’s shimmering sound design, which is truly groundbreaking in itself. It’s hard to think of another recent film, much less a horror film, that uses silence so effectively onscreen. But Quiet is by no means a silent film, and when there is sound to be heard, well, hold onto your little plastic refreshment cup, because it comes out of nowhere like a bat out of hell. Come to think of it, I’d advise against trying to drink anything during the film either as I spilled coffee on myself twice while watching it. Yes, it really is that scary.
Based on an original spec screenplay and story by longtime writing partners Bryan Woods and Scott Beck – who cut their teeth on low-budget thrillers like Spread and The Bride Wore Blood – Quiet was rewritten by the duo and Krasinski in 2017 for Paramount and the rest, as they say, is history. And since piecing together this gritty little puzzle of a movie as you watch it is so much fun, I won’t ruin the experience for you by giving too much away here. But what I will tell you is that Quiet follows the adventures of Krasinski’s Lee Abbott and his wife, Evelyn (played by Krasinski’s real-life wife, The Girl on the Train‘s Emily Blunt) as they struggle to protect their children from unimaginable horrors in a barren, post-apocalyptic American heartland.
Featuring stunning supporting turns from Wonder’s Noah Jupe and the brilliant young deaf actress Millicent Simmonds – who was the best thing in Todd Haynes’ wildly uneven Wonderstruck last year – as Lee and Evelyn’s kids, Marcus and Regan, respectively, the entire cast is through-the-roof-fantastic. Especially Blunt who is already generating serious Oscar buzz for her much-talked about bathtub scene alone. The fact that Blunt apparently pulled off that scene in one take makes her performance that much more remarkable.
Riding the wave of indie-minded, socially conscious horror films like Berlin Syndrome, It Follows, The Babadook, and the Oscar-winning Get Out, Quiet also shares a kinship with recent one location thrillers like Split and 10 Cloverfield Lane – films that flipped genre conventions on their head to often terrifying effect. And by featuring a badass deaf character – whose deafness holds the key to solving the mystery at the heart of the film no less! – as the third lead, the film breaks new ground on that front as well. This might be Krasinski’s first sci-if/horror film as a director, but the dude clearly has a knack for things that go bump in the night (or more appropriately, things that don’t!) and I, for one, can’t wait to see what he brings to the table next.
Now available to rent or purchase as a digital download on iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Video, YouTube, and Google Play, A Quiet Place takes flight on select Singapore Airlines flights worldwide on August 1st.