A Quiet Place, directed, starring, and co-written by John Krasinski, follows a family trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world that has now been invaded by some sort of insectoid-like creatures. These creatures are blind and hunt by sound, so the family must take every necessary precaution to avoid sound if they want to live.
After the first trailer for this film was released, I was very intrigued by it. It seemed like an interesting premise (which it is) and something that would make for some decent horror set pieces (which it does). I was also interested in seeing what Krasinski, whom I know as Jim from The Office, would do in directing something like this and acting in this type of role; it’s obvious he has a long career ahead of him after seeing this film.
To begin with the directing of the film, it’s absolutely outstanding. Krasinski sets up everything so perfectly and times his shots so well that it creates the absolute maximum amount of tension that most of these scenes could have. He sparingly shows the monsters, which, in true Jaws form, are scarier than when they are finally seen. During the sequences where the family is being hunted, Krasinski uses almost solely close-ups so that you can see the family member’s face or body part and almost nothing else behind them. When he uses a wide, it’s short enough to just create more tension and then immediately cuts back to a close-up. For the most part, it’s really masterful.
The performances all-around are great as well. Emily Blunt is fantastic as the mother even if she didn’t have as much screen time as she probably could have and her chemistry with Krasinski is fantastic, probably because they’re actually married in real life. Millicent Simmonds, who plays their daughter, is mesmerizing when she’s on screen and goes toe-to-toe with Blunt and Krasinski. She arguably is the best performance in the film. As for Krasinski, he just falls into his role as the father and he is great. He’s able to tell a story with just his eyes and it’s a depth I was happy to see from him.
The film does have its issues though, namely being the characters themselves. These characters, while a compelling family unit, are never anything deeper than what their role in the unit is. The daughter is an angsty teenager, the mother is a housekeeper, the son is simply there, and the father is the typical patriarch. I thought there was going to be some commenting on gender roles in family at some point in the film, but it lost that thread as quickly as it arrived.
I also hated the last shot. I understood the purpose behind and thought that was smart, but I hated the execution of it. It was cheesy and didn’t fit the tone of the rest of the film.
Overall, A Quiet Place is a really solid horror film that has some of the best horror set pieces since Don’t Breathe two years ago. Where it lacks in characters, it really shines with its horror elements.