Genre: Horror, Thriller, Sci-fi
Director: John Krasinski
‘The Eerie Sounds of Silence’
While the title ‘A Quiet Place’ could be a misnomer; it’s definitely an understatement of sorts.
The premise begs the question: “What if – – -?” “What if aliens take over the world, as Hollywood has been threatening since, well, movies began?” “What if there’s a strange creature lurking in the shadows out of sight but ready to pounce on humans at the slightest sound – – – even a couple of decibels?”
Director John Krasinski would have been so enamoured of the concept — of creatures with phenomenal hearing powers — that he decided to play the central figure in this rather intriguing horror thriller.
When the film opens, we see a town devoid of its citizens except for a family of five — Lee Abbott (Krasinski), wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), son Marcus (Noah Jupe) and a toddler son. To muffle any sound, the family shuffles barefoot, tiptoeing and rummaging for medicinal supplies through a store. The viewer knows the backstory through newspaper headlines pinned throughout the town. This was day 89 of the attack by the creatures.
Fast forward to day 472. A heavily pregnant Evelyn is on the verge of delivering. The family, having already lost the toddler to one of the monsters, struggles to overcome their grief and faces a dilemma: how to bring the unborn into the world without a sound!
Krasinski, who’s co-written the screenplay, brings in a touch of the unusual. A film with barely any dialogue in the first half hour would sound (pun intended) abnormal in the age of talkies. Most of the film is in sign language to facilitate Regan, who’s deaf. (In real life too, the girl who played her is deaf.) And with a partly functional hearing- aid, matters are complicated as she would he unaware of the sound she makes.
In the absence of sound, Krasinski the director ensures that the viewers’ entire attention is diverted, or rather riveted on the facial expressions of the actors — , who number barely eight in the entire film.
The monsters are hideous, with retractable faces, savage teeth and protruding ear canals to latch on to even a fraction of a decibel. Apart from being a horror film, it’s about parental love and familial bonding (after all, Emily Blunt and Krasinski are a real-life couple too).
The film does not entirely hold up to scrutiny. For example, knowing the lurking dangers, why in the world would a couple think of bringing a baby into the world?
Krasinski’ direction is praiseworthy and so too are the performances.
And on exiting the cinema-hall, you just might find yourself tiptoeing out!