‘A Quiet Place’ deserves loud applause


Courtesy – Getty Images

By Brock Stillmunks

dIf someone told me last year that John Krasinski of The Office would direct the best horror film of 2018, I’d have laughed in their face. However, “A Quiet Place,” Krasinski’s third directorial outing, oozes with a sense of horrific fatalism that makes its lean 90-minute running time feel twice as long while still glueing viewers to their seats.

In the film, it’s day 89 after the apocalypse. We see a haggard family surveying a supermarket for medicine and food. Newspaper headlines drift in the wind, reporting an apocalyptic event while urging silence and survival.

More than a year and a half later, the nameless father, played by Krasinksi, lives in near silence with his pregnant wife, played by real-life wife Emily Blunt, their hearing son, portrayed by Noah Jupe, and their deaf daughter, portrayed by Millicent Simmonds. They walk on powder to and from the woods. They homeschool their children. The father hunts for fish using traps. It’s the self-sustained survival story every hipster dreams of—except for the gigantic spider monsters that hunt the family whenever they make a noise. These monsters are never explained and they don’t need to be. All we know is that they’re blind, they hunt humans and they have an acute sense of hearing. 

“A Quiet Place,” produced by Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes entertainment, doesn’t consider the need to explain the apocalypse, the creatures’ origins or even give a sense of hope to the viewer. Instead, it drops you into the film with no knowledge and a sense of dread that any movement could be your last, which is exactly what’s so frightening.

This type of story has disappeared from Hollywood in recent years. In the land of sequels, remakes and another 10 Marvel movies, we have lost simple stories with simple motivations. Krasinski doesn’t set up a sequel for the ending or make hundreds of references to other survival horror films such as “Alien” or “Predator.” He even refuses to pad the movie with exposition in fear of people not “getting it” as many Hollywood films do.

Instead, Krasinski gives us a short, succinct, terrifying glimpse into the lives of a family trying to stay human in an inhuman world. Despite the terror and horror, the film relies on human interaction and human emotion. The father teaches the son to fish. He talks with him about life and death from beneath a stunning waterfall. The family eats dinner and plays games together. In one touching scene, the father and mother dance inside a silent room, listening to an old song through shoddy headphones.

It’s this love that writers Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and Krasinski imbue into the storyand it serves two purposes. It not only helps the audience connect with each character but also makes us care about what happens to each of them. In a land where Hollywood tells us a character can’t and won’t die, “A Quiet Place” reminds us what it’s like to be afraid of losing someone we love.