The dystopian movie trope has been far overplayed after “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and even “Maze Runner.” I thought I was done with apocalyptic films altogether.
But then I saw “A Quiet Place,” and I, too, was drawn back into the thrill, imagination and fear of the futuristic unknown.
The movie opens as the audience is introduced to the Abbott family – husband and wife Lee and Evelyn and their three children. The camera pans over empty storefronts, abandoned cars and newspapers telling about a monster that hunts by sound.
Lee Abbott (John Kraskinski) and Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) navigate this new lifestyle of silence as they try to protect their children and survive in a world where you can hardly ever speak.
From the beginning, I was impressed by Krasinski, who served as the director, screenplay co-writer, executive producer and a lead actor. I also loved that his wife in real life played his wife in the movie. Blunt is a fabulous actress, and it’s almost a guarantee that I’ll like anything she is in.
But I speak without bias when I say that this was one of the most interesting films of its genre that I’ve seen in a while.
It is labeled as a thriller – and there was plenty of suspense throughout – but there was a lot of tragedy in the film, as well. The loss of normalcy was disheartening to watch as parents become defenders and trainers who have to teach their children survival strategies for this apocalyptic world. The kids learn how to set traps, how to scavenge for food and how to communicate in various forms without words.
I am the type of person to comment during films, but with a movie called “A Quiet Place,” that was next to impossible. Besides the fact that the theater was completely silent, I was almost worried for my own safety if I made a sound.
The most powerful aspect of this film was the lack of dialogue. I think there might have been 50 words or less spoken throughout the entire feature. The Abbott family instead communicates using American Sign Language, which I thought was a little too convenient – at first.
But then we learn that one of the Abbott children, Regan (portrayed by Millicent Simmonds), is deaf. Not only was this great representation for the deaf community, but it added a whole other element of silence to the film – this child can’t even hear if she makes sound, let alone if the creature is approaching.
The monster in question reminded me of the Demogorgon from “Stranger Things” or the Grievers from “Maze Runner.” It had lots of teeth, a rail-thin, tall frame and a heightened sense of hearing to detect and attack any sound.
The audience watches as the Abbotts struggle to find the creatures’ weakness to defeat them and restore civilization to the world. And if things weren’t difficult enough, Evelyn is pregnant and nearing her due date.
I was a nervous wreck sitting in the theater. I was crying throughout the film and whispering under my breath, “The children! The baby!” It wasn’t even that I was scared of the creature itself – I was genuinely worried about the Abbott kids, and it made me very emotional.
The lack of verbal communication only made the tension build with any little sound – both in the movie and in the theater. As extreme as the conditions were, the Abbotts had a pretty good system worked out to keep themselves safe and still live life as normally as possible. But every little sound put me on edge, wondering if this was the time that the creatures would come and get them for sure.
Though there were some parts that I anticipated, the story as a whole was creative with an excellent solution to defeat the monsters. That was one detail I did not see coming.
“A Quiet Place” isn’t the typical scary movie. The suspense throughout will keep you engaged, and you won’t want to say a word until the end – or maybe even later.
“A Quiet Place” is in theaters now.