Being among my most anticipated horror movies of 2018, I went into A Quiet Place with high expectations, but also avoiding any spoiler, trailers (first one excluded) and reviews. In fact, living in Italy, we didn’t get any English screening of this film until April the 12th!
And I truly suggest you do the same. A Quiet Place revolves around a family – dad (John Krasinski), mom (Emily Blunt) and their two children – who live in an isolated location where they need not to make any noise in order to avoid a deadly menace. See how vague I was about the plot? That’s because I respect my audience… you’re welcome!
Why should you watch this film? Well, as one might expect from a big budget movie featuring a strong cast, the execution of the plot is really good on every level. The acting is great: Krasinsky, who’s also the director, sews his own role in a beautiful and spotless way, giving himself a big portion of screen time and stealing the show in every scene. As one might expect, Emily Blunt is fantastic here as well, delivering a very touching performance. The big surprise for me was the kids: both Noah Jupe (Wonder) and Millicent Simmonds are very convincing and compelling, with Simmonds being deaf in real life helping a lot her character to feel natural and genuine.
Cinematography and camera work are also on par, proving that Krasinsky isn’t just a decent actor, but also a very interesting up-and-coming director, rather versatile since in his brief career he tackled diverse genres.
Yet, the thing I probably appreciated the most about A Quiet Place is that it doesn’t utilise the absence of spoken words as a gimmick, but as a rather unconventional way to tell a story that, otherwise, would just be a thirteen in a dozen creature-feature tale. However, the absence of sound generated also one of my biggest issues with the movie: why the hell is there a soundtrack? Why did the filmmakers decide to rely on stock music we’ve listened to a billion times in movies before?
Seriously, this might seem like a minor complaint, but even in the theatre, the constant presence of an obtrusive soundtrack only takes the viewer away from the viewing experience. In other words, it gives you the impression you’re in a movie theatre, partially ruining the magic, whereas the lack of spoken words in combination with the lack of sounds in general would have made for an insanely immersive experience.
Besides, the characters are likeable and relatable due to the great performances by the actors, since the filmmakers didn’t develop them enough. Which leads to another issue I have with A Quiet Place: the short runtime. This is a story about the characters and their struggle with two different situations (one internal, the other external); hence, it needed at least 30 more minutes to fully explore that.
Also, whereas most of the presentation is outstanding, the script is rather shaky and there are quite a few plot holes. For example, our characters are introduced in the middle of the situation, which means they had time to adapt to certain rules and cautions: then, why in the world would they make dumb decisions that could cost them their lives? Another example: the family we follow lives in a context where it’s virtually impossible to have electricity, but they do anyway. Does that mean they have a generator (which still is loud as hell and would cause them to be killed) or are we supposed not to question this aspect because “it’s just a movie”? Again, the viewer finds out throughout the movie that others are alive within a distance of the family’s home, yet nobody felt it was a good idea to try to team up with other survivors to increase their opportunity of survival.
Add to all of that an ending that is pretty fitting, albeit very “Hollywood sunshine and rainbows”, and you end up with a film that, at least to me, isn’t as great as I hoped. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s a film I’d recommend to everybody, since pros outdo cons by much: I just don’t love it as much as those people who contribute to A Quiet Place’s score on RottenTomatoes (96%) and IMDb (8.2/10… more than The Exorcist!)
A Quiet Place 7.5/10
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My review will also be available on IMDb – A Quiet Place