A Quiet Place Roars with Original Ideas
We are in 2020, apocalypse has dawned on the world, and Earth is infested with Stranger Things-Demogorgon like creatures. You cannot make a sound, lest you will be eaten alive, evidently, most humans have already been eaten alive; the only family that has survived, is the one we follow in this ‘one-of-its-kind ‘film, A Quiet Place.
Director, John Krasinski who also plays the husband/father in the family whose story we are following, employs terrific sound design to give us the sense of the situation and how the forced silence has become a way of life. We first see that family in a store of some kind, nothing is in order, the streets are deserted, sharp wind blowing across, scattering the dry leaves around and a newspaper flapping in the wind. We, immediately, know that it is just a matter of time before the silence is broken and the beast is unleashed. This first act, which is a long scene, where a Vigilant, protective father, a paranoid, yet hopeful mother, a young deaf girl, a young boy and a little boy with a toy plane, go in search of a safe abode, is a beautifully shot, edited and written scene, which smoothly transports the audience into this world of impending danger. The scene is conceived like an orchestra playing a musical piece, the beat rising higher with every passing second and as it reaches the crescendo, the silence breaks and the beast is unleashed. It is terrific filmmaking.
Although A Quiet Place film shares similar theme to a Don’t Breathe, Hush and a few other Silent dramas, the uniqueness is conspicuous in the universality of the idea, both literally and metaphorically. The film can be a universal subject if viewed as a family drama, where a father is trying to protect his children, or it can also be viewed as an apocalyptic film, where the monsters have invaded the earth. The affect is both minimalistic and universal, this juxtaposition gives form to a deeper sense of fear and connection to the story and its characters, where, as an audience, you feel a personal connect to them and you know that there is no house to escape from, unlike in Don’t breathe. Death is inevitable.
The inevitability of this terrifying situation leaves them with no choice but to construct a lifestyle where they go along their lives without making any sound. It is fascinating to see the imagination of the writers soar, as they almost create a new world for the family to live in. They cook silently, they eat silently, play LUDO silently, by tossing the Dice on a thick carpet so that it does not make any sound. The screenplay is filled with such detailing and it creates early man like impression of the characters; in a scene, the father and son, hoot like animals, accentuating the above reference to early men. The ideas at fore are absolutely riveting and something to ponder upon as you leave the cinema hall.
All the above mentions are the ones to be savored in this creature film. The craft is impeccable as the sound changes, with the character we are focusing on, the mood created, the colors used, it’s a cinematic experience that not all horror films manage to create. The film A Quiet Place remains utterly riveting for the most part, however, loses the gusto ones it goes from being a survival drama to a confrontational film. The director does not seem to have the same command over the screenplay in the cat and mouse chase sequences, as he does in the scenes with familial complexities and sheer terror of the beast. Basically, until the monster is under the covers, the fear works. The screenplay fails to do what a creature film like, Spielberg’s Jurassic Park did and it might not well be the intention of the filmmaker to create a similar experience as Jurassic Park, but there is a clear disconnect with the monster we are dealing with, unlike the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, where you were terrified at the mere sense of its presence. The lack of paranoia, after the monster shows up, does not allow your concern for the family to build and the climax, pretty much, falls flat for a movie with such original ideas. It, nonetheless, is a display of immaculate craftsmanship that is a joy to experience.