Thursday, 16 August 2018

A Quiet Place (2018)

Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) and Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) try to live a simple life with their children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and Beau (Cade Woodward). Regan is deaf, and so the whole family spend a lot of time communicating with one another using ASL. Their method of communication isn’t really a choice though, it’s all down to the fact that they are trying to survive in a dangerous environment that also contains deadly creatures drawn to sound.

Post-apocalyptic in tone, A Quiet Place is an interesting oddity that seemed to surpass many expectations with the level of success it attained in cinemas. It’s a horror film with heart, one that will appeal to anyone seeking some thrills and emotional turbulence to view in the company of loved ones. It may not appeal as much to people wanting better scares, or a decent amount of bloodshed, or a tight plot that doesn’t fall apart under closer scrutiny, but it definitely tries to please most of the people most of the time.

Directed by Krasinski, who also worked on the screenplay alongside story creators Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, A Quiet Place benefits from some very effective lead performances and a few moments of near-unbearable tension. It's just a shame that the level of care shown in those areas wasn't also shown when it came to crafting the backstory to the world we are shown, or even explaining the motivations behind certain behaviours displayed (characters being barefoot is one of the most obvious ones that seems to make sense until you think about it for more than five seconds).

But let's get back to praising those performances. Krasinski is solid in his role, but in some ways he is the least of the leads (not due to his lack of talent, simply due to the way he keeps the focus on the other characters). Blunt is excellent, remaining tough while she becomes more and more vulnerable, due to her state of pregnancy, and Simmonds and Jupe prove to be more than a match for their adult co-stars, and Woodward doing just fine in his smaller role.

It seems obvious to say that the sound design of the film is an essential component, but it's also strange to have to admit that it doesn't always seem to get this part right. This isn't anything to do with the actual technical side of things but is, once again, to do with a lack of care taken with the rules and backstory left underdeveloped in a way that leaves some seeming lapses in logic populating the screenplay like potholes in a fairly new road.

All in all, this is almost as good as many people will have already told you it is. While it's on, and while it's building the tension and taking you through a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. It's just not one that holds up as well as it could, once you start to think about the details more.

You can be quiet here.
Americans can be quiet here.

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