FOUR STARS A family is terrorised by creatures who hunt by sound. Can they survive in the quiet place?
John Krasiniski, Emily BLunt
In a quiet place, can anyone hear you scream? Not if you want to stay alive, and therein the premise of this wildly entertaining, frequently shocking and utterly thrilling yarn. For reasons unknown, mankind is being hunted down by a variation on ALIEN’s aliens whose only talents are acute hearing and the capacity to kill human prey in a heartbeat. They’re otherwise blind and unable to smell, yet no less dangerous: make one sound and you’re dead.
Out in the countryside, a small farming family is trying to stay alive. Mum and Dad (Emily Blunt and John Krasinski) are caring for their young children, one of whom is deaf. You can imagine the complications that alone causes before you factor in Mum’s pregnancy plus an errant, upright nail (the family walk barefoot to minimise the risk of sound). The possibilities for noise are endless and right there you see how well considered this film is.
Though, of course, this isn’t a noisy film. There’s virtually no dialogue (the family communicate, logically, in sign language) and barely any music. In fact, it’s our side of the screen making all the noise with audiences jumping and squirming (see above re nail) throughout. This is what a good old-fashioned thriller looks like with everything fitting together like a neat little jigsaw, albeit one you’ll watch through your fingers.
What could be thought of as a vanity project (Blunt is married to Krasinski who also wrote, directed and produced the film: the epitome of a liberal-democratic Renaissance man. I also hear he’s kind to animals, plays music and uses a KeepCup) is unquestionably a startlingly good film, with emphasis on startling. Blunt and Krasinski command the screen, but their kids are no less energetic: their son’s terror is palpable and easily reinforces our own, their daughter’s sense of liability is heartbreaking.
A QUIET PLACE will raise your anxiety levels to eleven, but in the best possible way. Sit back and enjoy. Just remember not to make a sound.