A family has learnt to survive in a post-invasion world where alien creatures attack anyone who makes a noise. After the loss of one of their children, the husband and wife await the arrival of their new baby, but giving birth in a place where you need to keep really quiet isn’t going to be easy.
As the sequel is currently out in cinemas I thought I’d relook at the 2018 horror-science fiction original…
The premise for A QUIET PLACE is what made this movie stand out when it was released: imagine having to ALWAYS be silent because super-aggressive alien creatures will launch an attack on you almost immediately?
It is, however, a concept that you can pick apart if you think about it too much. Surely scientists, somewhere, could’ve come up with the sound/feedback solution that deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) stumbles upon when her juiced-up cochlear implant starts repelling aliens that get too close to her?
When the father (John Krasinski) takes his son Marcus (Noah Jupe) for a trek to a loud river and noisy waterfall, he informs Marcus that they can actually speak freely here because the noisy surroundings drown out their voices, so the creatures can’t track them: this, of course, immediately got me wondering why the family didn’t set up camp in this area?
Also, if they can improvise a soundproofed basement, as they do later in the story, why don’t they hang out here more often, where they can even have whispered conversations?
But if you don’t overthink the overall concept, there’s a lot to enjoy with this film.
Krasinski directs the film effectively, building up the tension as the story progresses, with gripping moments including the scene where mom Evelyn (Emily Blunt) stands on a nail with her bare foot and has to keep quiet as an alien critter roams the building. The pressure intensifies for Evelyn when she finds herself having to give birth alone in a bath, knowing that the nearby creature will strike out at her if it hears anything.
The final act ratchets up the stress-levels further, as Regan and Marcus are menaced by one of the monsters whilst ALSO trying not to drown in a grain silo and Evelyn has to dodge creatures and get herself and her newborn baby out of the basement that is now filling with water.
And things only get more critical for everyone as the survivors of the family have a final showdown with one of the critters in their home.
The alien creatures are an interesting addition to the world of cinematic monsters: they are slim, armour-skinned critters with extended forelimbs and eyeless faces. The armour-like casing surrounding their heads can hinge open like multiple flaps, presumably to help them properly locate the source of any sound they hear (they kinda resemble the Demogorgon from STRANGER THINGS when they do this), and their ears are massive organs (almost resembling a slimy, open oyster) that we see several times in close-up.
With very little dialogue, A QUIET PLACE works well thanks to Krasinski’s visual storytelling and confident grip of the plotting and character development.