'A Quiet Place' Review
Last year pretty much everyone and their mother got their doors blown off by the genre blending, fore thinking near masterpiece that is Jordan Peele's Get Out. The movie was positively received almost across the board and it's easy to see why, every aspect is not only done well but done right. Peele was heralded for "creating a new genre" with his feature film debut and while I respect the outcome, this could not be farther from the truth.
The reason we all love Get Out so much is because of how familiar it really is. Peele did not go blindly into this project with an idea in his head, he used his knowledge and love of movies to give us all exactly what a viewer wants when they go to the movies, the same thing, only different. He blended genres like "social satire" and "comedy" with "thriller" and "horror" and added in a few pinches of full bodied performances and a dash of his own mind to create which actually fits the awful term, "instant classic"
I know this has been a long bridge to take but I found myself thinking a lot about Get Out while watching A Quiet Place, not necessarily because of the quality or even the genres being similar, but because of that idea of "the same only different". Now minor spoiler here, A Quiet Place is not nearly as good as Get Out is, few movies are, but they have a lot more in common that it may seem at first glance.
A Quiet Place is about a family living in a world that has been taken over by horrifying creatures that have an advanced sense of hearing. Any noise that stands out spells trouble and you will only have to wait about 6 minutes into the movie to find out how devastating the damage they can do in a short period of time.
I think it's best that we leave the summary at that, as not only is there fun to be had at learning about the world through watching the movie, but also A Quiet Place has relatively little going on. This is not necessarily a bad thing, often in movies, especially horror movies, the plot and characters can get a little too wide and convoluted but A Quiet Place side steps that pitfall pretty well. Some questions will be answered and most wont but this is not a movie that relies on revealing information. A Quiet Place relies more on it's small cast, basically one setting and a solid idea.
John "He will always be Jim Halpert to me" Krasinski not only stars alongside his real life wife Emily Blunt, but he helps to build the world and the narrative of A Quiet Place serving as the director. I have not seen John's directorial debut "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men" but going by the scores it seems to not have been great. Krasinski takes another shot at sitting behind the camera and I can only imagine this experience has gone much better than the first attempt did.
Krasinski clearly has a directors eye as A Quiet Place is about as cinematic as a horror movie should get, but this is not where his influence is fully felt. A Quiet Place, like Get Out not only knows the movie it wants to be but has a good foothold in the genres. It is clear that Krasinski did his research with traces of post-apocalypse and creature feature classics written all over this one. I felt strong tones of stuff like Cormac Mcarthy's The Road and The Walking Dead mixed with some good old fashioned stalker horror movies like The Thing and War of the Worlds.
Where A Quiet Place is able to nail the tone and setting, the writing falls behind. The scenes with actual dialogue come few and far between as most of the interaction between characters is done either in quick sign language or more often using facial ques. Most if not all of the scenes where the characters actually talk are filled with horrible exposition or serve to explain the intricacies of relationships between the characters in mind numbing detail.
Luckily the pacing of the movie is handled pretty well with this ebb and flow of long quiet stretches juxtaposed with moments of pulse pounding noise. Probably the thing Krasinski does best is get this story told effectively without spending all day giving us a through background of every character. Oh and he also cast a true life def actress to play his daughter in the movie.
Last year was a big one for actors with disabilities, most specifically Sally Hawkins performance in The Shape of Water. Hawkins played a def woman so beautifully that I had to go look up if she was really def. Millicent Simmonds actually is def, and the fact that I did learn this until at least a day after seeing the movie shows how impressive she was.
While Krasinski and Simmonds take a sort of top billing in this movie, the real star is one Emily Blunt. She paces her husband and for much of the movie passes him both in her ability and character. She gets put through the ringer in this one and you feel all of it along with Blunt. A Quiet Place is not a movie with a whole lot of happiness emanating from it but almost any time that it does it is because of Emily Blunt.
Movies like Get Out and A Quiet Place show us that we may be entering the era of genre movies. This may seem like an unimportant statement but there was once a day where Edgar Wright's fantastic Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World bombed at the box office because the studio had no idea how to market a Video Game/Comic Book/Action/Musical Romance movie.
Movies that are able to blend our classic ideas of genres and create almost a whole new one are some of my favorite type of movies, and that is what A Quiet Place is. It is a post-apocalypse/Family Drama/Silent Film/Horror type movie and it is every bit every one of those genres. The movie is not exceptional at any one thing but succeeds in almost all things and is certainly worth the time if you have or had any interest.