There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
A Quiet Place
No one knows where these aliens came from, but they are extremely violent, have armored skin, and they hunt anything that makes a sound. Just months after the aliens arrived, humanity has been mostly wiped out. There is no way of knowing how many of the aliens are roaming the earth, but survivors have realized that only way to survive is to live quietly. Those who have survived this long have done so by mastering the skill of living silently, but the slightest mistake could prove to be fatal.
Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) have adapted to the challenge their new way of life, but they have the added challenge of trying to raise three young children in this new world. They have two young boys and their oldest is their daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), who happens to be deaf and unaware of any sound that she may make. This family has seen its share of tragedies, but they have found a way to survive. However, when Evelyn becomes pregnant, the family must prepare for an inevitably loud labor, as well as finding a way to raise a baby in silence.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
John Krasinski & Emily Blunt (+10pts)
Plot Devices (-3pts)
Family & The Monsters (+6pts)
The Weakness (-3pts)
Pro: John Krasinski & Emily Blunt (+10pts)
Both of these great actors brought their A-games for this movie. Given the premise, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt had to convey their characters‘ thoughts and emotions without using words. Sure, the characters used a lot of sign language to deliver dialogue, but it was their facial expressions that delivered the emotion that went along with it. They conveyed their characters‘ emotions to the audience without using the spoken word, and they managed to do so without ever boring the audience.
These characters had an incredible amount of fear and desperation, but they needed to maintain their composure for their children. Thus, the actors needed to convey their characters' fear, while also conveying their characters' strength, and they had to do this without the use of their voice. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt managed to do this well, and it was made even more impressive by the fact that they were able to keep the audience completely engaged while doing so. It was no secret that these two could act, so it should come as no surprise that they delivered great, captivating performances in this movie, and they did so without needing to use their voices.
Con: Plot Devices (-3pts)
It is always a bit of a bummer when a movie has a great premise, but is filled with plot device after plot device. Unfortunately, a lot of the events of this movie were pretty convenient. They were not convenient for the characters of the story, but they were convenient for the writers. Whenever this movie began to hit a slow point, or whenever things were going well for the characters, something incredibly “coincidental“ happened that mixed everything up and moved the plot in the filmmaker’s desired direction.
Do not get me wrong, coincidence is not without its place in movies. Coincidences happen in the real world so they should be allowed to happen in movies, and they can be effective at making a movie feel unpredictable. However, when they happen one after another, it begins to feel like lazy writing. I do not think viewers will be entirely put off by all of these plot devices, but there plenty of them and they were too obvious not to mention.
Pro: Sound (+10pts)
Sound—or the absence of it—was used magnificently in this movie. There were long periods of time in which this movie was absolutely silent, and it really pulled me into the intense way that the characters had to live. Additionally, the silence gave the audience an appreciation for how difficult it would be to live that quietly. We are a pretty noisy species, and although we are fairly adaptable, a sudden invasion of aliens like this would certainly be a problem.
These characters could not speak, laugh, scream, step on something that made noise, or draw attention to themselves in any sound-related way. This was so effective, because a lot of the movie is silent and all you can hear is other audience members. Knowing how easily you can hear someone in the back row, you get a strong appreciation of how silent the characters must be in order to hide from the monsters with far more sensitive hearing than we have. The silence was gripping in the most intense and engaging way, and it made for extremely intense moments whenever a monster was nearby. The filmmakers used sound as a gimmick and they did so masterfully. The intensity that sat in the silence was chilling, and it will have audiences glued to the edge of their seats, desperately trying not to make a sound themselves.
Con: Regan (-4pts)
I know I have already mentioned the negative impact that too many plot devices had on this movie, but I have to address the movie’s biggest plot device, Regan. Regan was Evelyn and Lee’s deaf daughter. I liked the fact that this character was deaf, because it had the potential to provide some very unique horror moments. The combination was interesting, as there were monsters that had super-sensitive hearing and a young girl who was completely unaware of any sound she created, and unaware of how close the monsters were to her. Unfortunately, the filmmakers did not really explore this. Take nothing away from the young actress, Millicent Simmonds. She did a great job, but the filmmakers resorted to lazy writing when it came to this character.
Regan was a whining, emotional kid and the filmmakers used this as a plot device whenever they could. The parents were extremely careful with what toys they gave their kids. However, the filmmakers needed monsters, so they made Regan find the loudest toy she could find, and she gave it to her brother. The kids were separated from their parents, but should have known better than to leave the planned rendezvous spot. However, the filmmakers needed intense moments, so they made Regan convince the other kids to leave their safe spot. Even the fact that she was deaf was nothing more than a plot device to lead the story toward its conclusion. It seemed like whenever the writers had written themselves into a corner—or wanted to make things more exciting—Regan was their answer.
Pro: Family & The Monsters (+6pts)
The premise of this movie was truly compelling. It was a world filled with terrifying monsters that hunted living things using super-sensitive hearing. These monsters were incredibly violent, had armor-like skin, were incredibly fast, and they were seemingly unstoppable. Basically, if you made any sound with one nearby, then they would be on you quickly, and there was little that you could do about it. These monsters made for a ton of intense moments, but there was more to the premise than just that.
This movie was all about this family, and two parents whose sole focus was to protect their kids. They then found out that Evelyn was pregnant, so they had to prepare for an inevitably loud childbirth in a world where someone could be killed if they stepped on a twig. This movie was really all about what parenting means in a post-apocalyptic world like this. The premise was simple, but it was fascinating to see how these characters adapted to their new world.
Con: The Weakness (-3pts)
This movie did a great job of making the audience fear the monsters. They were extremely dangerous and could come seemingly out of nowhere, but everything has a weakness, right? Unfortunately, this movie did a pretty poor job of setting up that weakness. The main character, Lee, had been studying these monsters and had spent countless hours beating his head against the wall while trying to figure it out.
As an audience member, it was pretty obvious—with only knowing the movie’s premise—what the alien’s weakness would be. I was a little put off by the fact that we were supposed to believe that Lee was smart, had spent most of his free time thinking about what their weakness was, and was still unable to figure it out. I mean the guy even wrote the weakness in big font on his own whiteboard, and stared at this whiteboard for hours on end, but he could not wrap his head around what the possible weakness was. It would have been fine if Lee knew the weakness, but simply did not know how to apply it, or have the tools to do so, but that was not the case here. Lee was supposed to be smart, but the writers used lazy writing to make him dumb, all in an attempt to “surprise” the audience, but I definitely do not think it worked.
Grade: A- (91pts)
A Quiet Place was a thrill ride with some terrifying aliens, but it was so much more than that. The followed two parents on their struggle to keep their children safe in this extremely dangerous new world, while also trying to prepare for a new baby. The movie had a pretty gimmicky premise, which centered around an alien race that was super-sensitive to sound. As a result, humanity had to be absolutely silent in order to survive.
In order for this premise to work, the aliens had to be terrifying, and fortunately, they were. The aliens were extremely fast, extremely powerful, and they could hear the slightest sounds from seemingly miles away. This movie was all about the family, but the aliens were done really well and they definitely gave the movie a horror-thriller feel. A good portion of this movie was silent, which gave the audience an appreciation of just how quietly these characters have to live. On top of that, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski were able to shine without having to say a word. This movie resorts to lazy writing and plot devices in a few areas, but for the most part, this was a really well-done movie. It was compelling, entertaining, chilling, and definitely worth watching.