The Phoenix

A Quiet Place is a wholly enjoyable thriller

I love the thriller genre. Some of my favorite movies of all time are thrillers including, Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, and Nightcrawler. However, in recent years, the genre has been very inconsistent.

Hollywood can produce amazing thrillers, like 10 Cloverfield Lane or Get Out. However, it can also produce terrible thrillers, such as 47 Meters Down or The Commuter. Leave it to first time director, Jim from The Office aka John Krasinski to direct what will probably become the best thriller of 2018, A Quiet Place. 

A Quiet Place follows a family in the post-apocalyptic future. They are forced to live in silence because of creatures that hunt their victims with sound.

Lee Abbot is the patriarch of the family. The character and the dynamic with his family make this film stand out from other horror thrillers. Lee and his wife, Evelyn, are played by real-life couple John Kransinki and Emily Blunt respectively. This leads to them having fantastic chemistry.

The screenplay provides enough characterization to allow the audience to understand and care about their relationship, even though little dialogue is being spoken. Lee and Evelyn’s goal is to keep their children safe, which will hit home with most of the audience. Many horror/thriller characters today feel like caricatures and stereotypes, but these two had a genuine authenticity, which made me care about them.

The child actors in A Quiet Place deliver great performances as well. 15-year-old actress Millicent Simmonds plays Kransinki’s deaf daughter and she is absolutely amazing. The decision to cast a deaf actress in a deaf role seems like a no-brainer, but Kransinki had to fight to get her cast and her casting only amplifies the film’s ever-present authenticity.

Noah Jupp stars alongside Simmonds as a son in the family. He also gives a good performance, but is given far less to do in the film. The film’s silent nature leads to the two exchanging very little dialogue but their facial expressions and mannerisms sold me on their performances.

The technical aspects of A Quiet Place were impressive. As the title suggests, the movie is quiet most of the time, as most of the audio is either background noises or the blaring score (which can be a bit obnoxious at times). The only moments of complete silence appear when the film is seen from Simmond’s perspective. That choice was masterful and added a lot of tension. The sound mixing/editing is pristine here. From the faint steps on sand to the blaring fireworks, every sound is perfectly integrated and used in a creative fashion.

The amazing sound design leads to a lot of jump scares. While jump scares are usually cheap scares and are used poorly, Kransinki and company use them effectively. The jump scares are warranted because of the film’s silent nature. The movie also perfectly builds tension and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

A Quiet Place is an effective and entertaining thriller that perfectly develops its simple concept. Its focus on family and how far a person will go to protect them elevates the already solid material.

8/10

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