In an interview with Variety, George Lucas once said, “Sound is 50 percent of the moviegoing experience”. And if you know of anybody who has studied film, they would tell you that’s precisely what those they were taught by have told them. Actor-writer-director John Krasinski, however, seems to fall more on the lines of how Danny Boyle thinks of sound if his latest film “A Quiet Place” gives you an insight into his filmmaking sensibilities.
Because the entire film experiments with the varying degrees of silence—and, by that nature, the associated sounds that come with it. Whether it’s wood creaking or the slight rustling of leaves in the wind, Krasinski wants you to hear (and consequently feel) every little thing. For a film where silence is, quite literally, survival, this makes perfect sense. Add to it the sparse use of both dialogue and score, and you’ve got yourself a tightly wound thriller you never really knew you needed.
It’s not just the tone and atmospheric success though; “A Quiet Place” brims with a razor-sharp focus on its narrative. This might attribute to the fact that we’re only privy to the lives of the four people within a direct family—Lee (Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt; “Edge of Tomorrow,” 2014), and their two kids Marcus (Noah Jupe; “Wonder,” 2017) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds; “Wonderstruck,” 2017). There are subtle visual devices that hint at other survivors within this universe, but that doesn’t matter.
And for good reason. The film’s most significant source of horror comes not only from their fear of the entity that hunts when it hears; it’s the isolation that will strike its audience as the most terrifying—and it’s accentuated tenfold with Simmonds’s Regan, who plays a deaf girl in a world that has already been forced to stay in painful silence. Viewers get to know of this through just how deftly the sound shifts from Regan’s obnoxiously silent perspective to a more omniscient atmosphere.
It’s why each step they take, and any slight noises that might come with it, feels all the more perilous. Krasinski’s understanding of the world he’s helped create is spectacular, and not once does he break its rules. There are many little, often insignificant setups that in the end give us some highly satisfying payoffs-and you don’t see that very often in movies within the spectrum (although I’d personally stave away from comparing it to anything else).
Couple that with excellent performances from the cast to characters that are—surprisingly—very smart (without sacrificing their evolutionary arc), and you’ve got yourself a film that screams unmissable all over. A Quiet Place boasts unwavering focus, an incredibly built image system, and some of the best sound-design works I have seen in a horror film so far. If there is any movie where silence is legitimately golden, for both its characters and the film’s overall enhancement, it is this.
Should you be breaking down the plot of the film, you’re probably not going to find much in it. But if you’re in for what could be a film-going experience unlike most mainstream horror films today, “A Quiet Place” is your movie. Krasinski’s conviction in his film shows because the film’s hard-knuckled, tightly wound atmosphere pays off handsomely. Don’t miss this for the world—it definitely deserves that big-screen watch.