The last two years have seen tremendous directorial debuts from funny men in the horror genre. First, Jordan Peele earned universal acclaim for his social bombshell, Get Out, which ended up being nominated for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. Now, John Krasinski, perhaps best known for his role as lovable dork Jim Halpert in the US iteration of The Office, has crafted one of the most brilliant and original horrors in recent memory.
A Quiet Place is written and directed by John Krasinski, who also stars alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt, and tells the story of a family who fight for survival in a world where sound means a swift death sentence. Joined by two marvellous child actors, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, the family are forced to live in silence, placing sand on the ground where they walk and painting parts of the wooden floor that don’t creak in order to move soundlessly throughout the world.
The film follows the family, who move silently through their dystopian world in order to avoid encounters with the terrifyingly quick monsters who now roam the world devouring anything that makes a sound. Each actor in the film is given an opportunity to shine in their particular role. One of the most remarkable aspects of this film is that it is not simply a survival film. Krasinski’s character, the father, is very much a survivalist, seeking only to preserve his family’s life and make sure they avoid the monsters. However, in stark contrast, Emily Blunt’s character of the mother seeks to thrive and offer their children something of a life. Teaching the son maths, doing the laundry, cooking dinner, all the while being heavily pregnant; the balance between living and surviving is brilliantly addressed through these two uniquely opposite characters.
Krasinski relentlessly cranks up the tension, never fully releasing it and keeping the audience as silent as his characters, gripping the arms of their seats in the cinema. A Quiet Place is a film that begs a big screen viewing in order to fully experience the fear and terror that Krasinski has intended his viewers to feel. The use of sound throughout is restrained for as long as the audience can bear, before Krasinski unleashes it upon the audience. Viewers live in constant fear of where the next sound may come from, knowing that it means another encounter with the merciless creatures who stalk them. The few sounds are used to great effect, whether it be to mask conversation, or the screams of a wife in labour, or to gather the attention of the monsters.
At its heart, this film is about the lengths to which one man will go to keep his family safe. Coupled with some tremendous acting, some terrifying monsters and a true sense of originality, A Quiet Place makes for one of the must-see horror films in a generation.