A Quiet Place has made a lot of noise for a film whose premise is the need to remain silent in order to survive. With an over $20 million opening weekend, the PG-13 horror flick directed by, co-written, and starring John Krasinski has garnered more than a little attention and critical acclaim and has easily become the most hyped movie of 2018 so far. But the question that you have to ask as a horror fan is this: “Is it worth watching?”
The premise is of A Quiet Place is your basic post apocalyptic survival tale. A little over a year after a species of seemingly indestructible monsters that hunt by echolocation have edged out mankind from the top of the food chain. A little over a year later we find ourselves watching the Abbott’s, a family that has adapted almost seamlessly to the end of the world. The father spends his time trying to rebuild his daughter’s cochlear implant and studying the forever unnamed monsters. The mother spends her days educating the children and preparing for the baby she is pregnant with while grieving the loss of her youngest child killed by the monsters at the start of the film.
The film is as much a story about loss and recovery as it is horror. The entire family is shaken by the sudden, brutal death of the youngest child just a few months into the apocalypse with each member dealing with the grief in their own way. It’s as heartbreaking at times as it is suspenseful. With the added benefit that there is only, maybe, two minutes or so of actual spoken dialogue with the rest of the interactions coming from subtitled sign language and body language. It’s a very surreal theater experience to say the least with the entire audience almost entirely silent. We’re not talking about regular, movie theater etiquette quiet either. I mean dead silent.
The monsters in A Quiet Place are 100% CGI which, as you know, I’m not a huge fan of. There are also some things that make you stop and ask “how” or even “why?” especially when it comes to the fact that she’s pregnant. Having a baby when there are literally horse sized nigh invulnerable monsters roaming the earth hunting and exterminating life based on noise is like tip toeing blindfolded through a minefield. It ain’t going to have a happy ending.
A Quiet Place does three incredible things that absolutely floor me. First, it creates a viewing environment where everyone is literally as quiet as possible which is a feat in itself. Second, it introduces audiences to the world of the hearing impaired by showing us a family that many would have considered “suffering a disability” a decade ago functioning and surviving better than any of their non-impaired neighbors. Lastly, it joins a growing collection of big budget, A list films that have managed to be thought provoking, suspenseful, and fun with great narrative and portrayal. The fact that it’s only PG-13 is all the more surprising and adds to the hope that Hollywood might still know how to make a good horror movie.
A Quiet Place is playing in theaters nationwide so check it out for yourself soon.
Dan Lee is a film critic, editorialist, independent author, and horror culture correspondent from Tennessee. You can also follow him on social media @dotdblog