A Quiet Place

You don’t have to like horror films to be captivated by this movie.

A Quiet PlaceA Quiet Place, directing and starring John Krasinski and his wife Emily Blunt, begins with a scene in an abandoned American town with the words “89th day” appearing on the screen. You watch our two talented actors, known here as Lee and Evelyn, gathering supplies from an empty store with their three children. They are walking barefoot and they don’t generate the slightest sound, including communicating only through sign language.

As they leave home you quickly learn that some creatures are devouring humans, but they can only respond to sound given that they lack vision. Something tragic happens as the family tries to walk back home before dark, and you next see them after a year has passed.

Before going further, let me say that this film builds on the strengths shown in the excellent movie Tremors (1990) starring Kevin Bacon.  Though Tremors was helped by some great humor, humans were hunted by underground, giant larvae-like creatures that rapidly burrowed towards any physical sound created by their human prey.

What makes A Quiet Place exceed the accomplishments of Tremors is that here you have a loving couple dedicated to each other and the survival of their family.  It is not an exaggeration to say that you will smile through your tears as you watch this couple, husband and wife in real life, share ear buds as they dance closely in each other’s arms listening to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”.

While Mr. Krasinski has no weak moments, watch Ms. Blunt as she follows up her marvelous performances in both Into the Woods (2014) and Sicario (2015).  Doing all she can to create a normal home environment for the benefit of her children, wait until you see the horrifying moment where she delivers a child in a tub as she attempts to suppress all sound from a creature roaming nearby in her home.  The fact that she will be starring in Mary Poppins Returns this Christmas is reason enough to put that film on your calendar.

Also adding great energy to this film are Noah Gupe and Millicent Simmonds as the two struggling children. However, Ms. Simmonds, deaf in real life, is positively brilliant in her role as a kid who is continually haunted by her mistaken feeling that she is being held responsible by her father for what happened to her brother earlier in the film.  This is a performance that should require the Oscar Academy to pay attention later this year.

The bottom line is that this movie ranks in the same category of other challenging horror films ranging from Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Omen (1976), The Exorcist (1973) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968). On top of that, the creatures have an ugly resemblance to those in Ridley Scott’s classic Alien (1979).

And while I don’t dare give anything away, wait until you see the scene where Mr. Krasinski stands at a distance watching his two children trapped in an old truck where a beast seeks to consume them.  Though this was one of several moments in the film where I had to use my amblyopic left eye in order to lessen the visual shock, I predict that every one of you will have tears in your eyes at that moment.