‘A Quiet Place’: Scary and refreshingly creative

Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe in "A Quiet Place." Photo: Paramount Pictures

From the moment A Quiet Place began, I was on edge — even holding my breath a little. I was afraid the characters would make a sound, which would put their lives in danger. To create this kind of tension — coiled expectation — from the outset of the film and to carry it through until the end is genius.

In A Quiet Place, a young family with three adorable children, living on a farm, are trying to stay alive — even thrive — in a world where silence is their only option. The Abbott family is all too aware that one loud noise —even a word spoken at a normal volume — will send a lightning fast alien hurtling toward them with bloodthirsty jaws open to feast.

Imagine bringing a baby into this world? That’s what happens in the film.

Since the invasion of the creatures, the parents, Evelyn and Lee, have been taking every measure possible to stay alive. They don’t appear desperate; the whole family looks like they have adapted and that they are living life despite an ever-present fear of being eaten. They seem to be the only people left living on the earth.

We love them more because they love each other

A family dynamic that’s not dysfunctional is a fresh idea for Hollywood these days. From the beginning of the movie, the audience sees that this family loves each other and that they work together as a team.

Evelyn, played by Emily Blunt, is a strong woman who loves her children and her husband Lee (John Krasinski, who’s Blunt’s real-life husband and the director of the movie). There are two tender moments in the film that were especially charming and establish her character. One is when Evelyn persuades her husband to stop and dance with her; another is when she’s helping her son, Noah (played by the star of Wonder, Noah Jupe) with his math. I am not sure I could homeschool with the looming threat of being disemboweled, but this scene shows the complexity of her character — first gentle and then, as the movie unfolds, fierce.

In return, we also see Lee’s tenderness toward his wife and his determination to provide a life for his family, which is evidenced by a promise Lee makes to Evelyn to protect their family and by the numerous failed hearing aids that he has made for his eldest daughter, Regan, who’s deaf.

Regan is played by Millicent Simmonds (star of Wonderstruck), who has been deaf since infancy due to an overdose of medication. She gives a memorable performance as a young teen struggling with guilt and rebellion. Simmonds makes me wonder why deaf people are so underrepresented in movies.

This family is so likable, and so I am even more invested in the film. I love them because they’re heroic — they never stop trying even when they are fighting feelings of terror and grief. I want them to live, and being a mother myself, I worried about how Evelyn is going to deliver her baby quietly and how she is going to keep baby from crying.

Better than Signs

In 2017, Bryan Wood’s and Scott Beck’s screenplay was recognized by industry professionals as one of the 10 best scripts, and I have to agree with Hollywood. I haven’t liked an alien movie of this ilk this much since M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, starring Mel Gibson. Except A Quiet place is better written and more masterfully directed — I hope Shyamalan is taking notes.

Scary, but not demonic

A Quiet Place’s engaging storytelling made me feel like I was living in their terrifying world — more than one scream and gasp escaped my lips. The movie’s score intensified feelings of suspense. Since there’s little dialogue in the film, it relied heavily on music and sound to build and punctuate the scariest moments of the movie.

At one point, because the movie barely lets the audience relax, I turned to my daughter and said, “You wouldn’t want to see this film if you have adrenal fatigue.”

The delicious scariness about the film wasn’t the type of scary that makes you tremble to use your own bathroom in the middle of the night. It’s the type of horror movie that scares you while you’re watching it, but the fear doesn’t linger or disturb like demonic-themed movies. It’s only the characters that stick with you.

Good clean fun

A Quiet Place, in the midst of franchises and remakes, gives me hope that mainstream Hollywood hasn’t tapped out on creativity and that it still recognizes a loving family dynamic that honors the role of fathers.

Besides being a wild ride, this movie makes you think about how important family is in times of crisis, and about what it means to be a good parent and a spouse even under the worst conditions.

I’d recommend A Quiet Place, for ages 14 and up. Unlike most horror movies, this movie didn’t have any sexual scenes and, with the little dialogue that there was there was, there was no swearing or taking God’s name in vain.



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