By Bradley Griffith
With so many movies released each year it’s difficult to find a movie with any original ideas. At times it seems that every idea has already been taken or used many times before. In the midst of remakes and sequels, “A Quiet Place” is a breath of fresh air and has managed to take the top spot at the box office two weeks in a row.
In the year 2020 most of humanity has been wiped out by unknown creatures. The creatures are blind. They hunt with incredibly sensitive hearing and astonishing speed. The creatures are armored, and no one seems to know how to kill them. The survivors live in rural settings in almost complete silence. They must remain silent, or they will quickly be dead.
The Abbott family is one such set of survivors. Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt), and their three children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and Beau (Cade Woodward), live on a farm in the countryside. They walk everywhere in their bare feet and pour sand walkways so their steps can’t be heard.
When they need supplies they visit a nearby abandoned town. They eat fish from a nearby river as their main source of food. At night Lee climbs atop a grain silo and lights a fire to alert other groups of survivors that his family survived one more day. Slowly, other fires are lit in the distance to signify other surviving families.
The Abbotts have an advantage over most other survivors. Regan is deaf. Because of this fact the Abbotts know sign language. They communicate almost exclusively using sign language or other hand gestures and, thus, they make almost no sound in their daily existence.
Well over a year into their survival of the creature-created apocalypse the Abbotts have a problem. A big problem. Evelyn is pregnant and is due any day. They must keep Evelyn quiet during labor and the baby quiet after the birth. Both of those seem like insurmountable tasks given the fact that any sound draws the creatures in for the kill.
“A Quiet Place” is a quiet movie. Because they communicate through sign language there is very little dialogue in the movie. It makes “Dunkirk” seem wordy. There are several stretches of five minutes or more where there is absolutely no sound. There’s not even music playing the background. The theater is so quiet you can hear someone munching on popcorn 10 rows away. The silence creates an eerie tension that helps build the suspense as the movie progresses.
John Krasinski (who rose to fame as Jim from “The Office”) is not only one of the stars of the movie, but he also directed and co-wrote the movie. The writing was terrific. Few films will grab you in the first scene the way “A Quiet Place” does. Nothing about the movie is predictable. It grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let up until the end. Speaking of the end, Krasinski knows how to end a movie. The ending is incredibly satisfying and actually puts a smile on your face.
As far as the acting is concerned, while everyone does a great job, there is one standout performance. Emily Blunt (Krasinski’s wife in the movie and in reality) provides what may be the best performance of her career. With each scene you could feel her pain and sense her resolve and endurance. It was a stellar performance by a stellar actor.
Yes, it’s a post-apocalyptic movie. Yes, it’s billed as a horror movie. But it’s unlike any movie you have seen before. The originality, strong writing, and exceptional acting make “A Quiet Place” a can’t-miss movie.
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Rated PG-13 for terror and some bloody images.