REVIEW: ‘A Quiet Place’ Is An Intense, Technically Sound Thriller

“A Quiet Place” wasn’t completely located in just one single place, so maybe a “Quiet Area” would make more sense? “A Quiet Region” maybe? Whatever the title, though, this is a solid flick.

As the title implies, the film is all about remaining in silence. The movie follows a family that includes Lee (John Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their two children Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe). The family remains quiet throughout the film, as there are dangerous creatures all around that hunt any living being that they hear.

The picture takes place seemingly in the midst of a war between humanity and these creatures. However, the movie remains focused on this family just trying to survive against these sound hunters in a rural part of the U.S. Their situation is made difficult when it comes to staying quiet, though, as Evelyn is pregnant.

It’s always refreshing to see films explore new ideas and/or themes, which made “A Quiet Place” quite a treat. Not that the groundwork wasn’t already somewhat laid by the film “Don’t Breathe” from a few years ago, but this film takes the ‘characters have to remain silent’ idea and mixes it with a creature feature, making something more fascinating and more thrilling.

While the picture is very much an intense, effective horror, its human drama element is where it really hits its stride. The movie really explores this family’s dynamic, which is to try and remain as normal as possible despite the desperate situation they’re in. Additionally, the film has a good, emotional core thanks to its focus on Lee and his daughter Regan, as the two have had a falling out after a family tragedy.

These aspects are aided by some great performances, especially from Krasinski and Blunt. The child actors, though, do solid work here too and are convincing in their roles.

With all that said, there is a part of the family dynamic here that creates a huge plot hole that became quite a distraction. First, let’s lay down the facts: this family is very savvy and extremely logical. They’ve survived this long because they take all possible precautions and are very smart in how they operate. Also, as a reminder, these creatures can track down anything by the slightest sound.

So, the fact that this family, which already has two children, would take the risk to have a baby, knowing newborns make plenty of noise (not to mention require more resources), came off as unbelievable to me and felt more like a plot device. Again, this is a very sensible family, so for them to do this seemed out of character. If Evelyn had been pregnant during this crisis, it may have made more sense. But the way it’s presented shows that she and Lee decided to have another child in the middle of this situation, which didn’t work very well.

Another issue comes up in the third act when a discovery is made that should’ve been noticed a bit sooner than the film lets on. It’s a smaller nitpick, but it’s there.

With all that said, the film still works in a lot of areas. On top of exploring the family drama, the movie also features great thrills. Because of the great threat in making any sort of noise, the audience is constantly put on edge whenever something might fall or crash.

The film pulls off keeping an audience on guard in both very noticeable fashion and more subtle ways. An example of the latter is in the opening scene, when viewers can see a raided store where some of the only goods on the shelves are crunchy snacks. It’s a clever move that let’s an audience know just how little sound needs to be made to be put in danger.

The film also benefits from being very well shot. The camera angles allow audiences to have a good sense of what’s going on, with noticeable sound-makers scattered on the screen. At the same time, though, the movie occasionally tricks audiences, catching them off guard with something they may not have seen.

The picture also has great lighting and color. A prime example of this is a sequence where a series of red warning lights are turned on, which perfectly sets the mood.

Possibly the greatest strength the movie has, though, is the sound work. The sound editing and sound mixing here is superb, it’s apparent that meticulous work was put in to have every noise-related detail work.

“A Quiet Place” is a well-made thriller with solid acting, real emotion and some frightening sequences. It is good, but there were some plot issues that hurt the film’s overall score. 3.9 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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