HomeMoviesSXSW Review: John's Krasinski 'A Quiet Place' is Absolutely Terrifying

SXSW Review: John’s Krasinski ‘A Quiet Place’ is Absolutely Terrifying

A Quiet Place

John Krasinkski told me not to spoil anything, so of course, I’ll tell all. But really, I’ll keep spoilers completely out and plot points not found in the trailer to a minimum. That said, Krasinski provides an assured hand from start to finish, providing a perfect blend of a false security and true horror. A Quiet Place is not just horrifying fare, it’s terrifying.

To start, it begins with a high-concept: in a post-apocalyptic world, there’s a species of invasive monsters and if you make a sound, they’ll hunt and kill you. Think about it as like a when you open the fridge as quiet as you can so your dog won’t hear you and beg for food, except, instead of losing some food, you’re killed by a Demogorgon meets Xenomorph.

Now blended with another high concept revolving around a family of five, the film is boiled down to the most basic parts. Cut out dialogue and replace it with sign language and non-verbal cues, and all that’s on the family’s mind is how to survive in spite of inevitable slip-ups. For as much as it’s about death, it’s about preserving life not just for yourself but for those around you and what parents must sacrifice for their children.

Moreover, it’s about the fear of parental failure and what losing a child means when they’re all that matters and the inability to be able to always protect them. How can parents let go and let their children try their on their own in a dangerous world? 

Considering Krasinski and Emily Blunt share two daughters together, it’s all deeply meditative and reflective. Even without their own experience raising a family together — the core of the film would still be there but no doubt — it helped round out the ideas from the script.

After the screening, Krasinski noted that in the script, the characters had names but on-screen, they’re all nameless. Without the ability to relate to the characters or give them the basic human trait of a name, all the focus lies on the performance of the ensemble and it passes with flying colors, Blunt and Millicent Simmonds, in particular, steal the show.

Krasinski has his moments, providing a genuine fatherly sensibility he hasn’t shown before on-screen and his moments with Blunt are among the most memorable. Hollywood’s “it” couple working together worked in spades. Their on-screen son Noah Jupe shines as well but is at his best when paired with Simmonds who helps further the silence concept as a deaf actress playing a deaf character (as she did in so beautifully in Wonderstruck in 2017).

It’s Simmond’s character that truly helps bring the film full circle dealing with guilt and fear of isolation in tandem with the survivalist themes. Without her unique sensibilities, the film really wouldn’t be the same, just as it wouldn’t if the characters were allowed to freely speak (when they do get to speak, it’s made all the more powerful.) Beyond being a high-concept, the silent treatment throughout the story give a legitimate reason for the high volume of jump scares. Krasinski makes the hold horror trope fresh.

Telling you there is a fair share of jump scares shouldn’t ruin the experience. Krasinski plays with this horror trope with precision amidst the chaos. They’re placed erratically throughout, and sometimes when you expect to help sell other moments to earn the fright.  

But the jump scares are just a simple vehicle to pull a reaction, either to incite fear or relief. That’s essentially surface level. The real emotion stems from the core family, each member holding an endearing quality to create real stakes, all the more heightened by a wondrous sound mix and score from Marco Beltrami. At the world premiere, it was presented in Dolby 7.1. I implore you to see this not just in a theater, but with a high-level sound system if possible. At the very least, it deserves to be seen on a big screen.

While a simple synopsis makes A Quiet Place sound like gimmicks piled on gimmicks, it’s that exact construction that helps propel this into uncharted territory that passes with flying colors.  There may be some moments that drag in the third act, but it more than sticks the landing and earn its ending.

Overall Grade: 8.5 out of 10

-Sean Cordy

A Quiet Place hits theaters nationwide on April 6, 2018.



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