A Quiet Place Spoiler-Free Review
John Krasinski’s directoral debut is a decent movie. I wouldn’t say it revolutionized the horror genre, nor would I say it was a completely forgettable experience. The way it utilizes sound and sign language is easily the main reason to go and see it, but outside of that, it’s just decent.
I would be remiss to ignore the good qualities this film has. Like I said, the fact that the majority of the film is spoken dialogue-free is very cool, and the emphasis on silence makes seeing this in a theater a really, really cool experience. I’ve long maintained that horror movies are at their best in a theater, captivating an entire audience into hushed silence. The monster design is also the coolest. It takes a smidge from Stranger Things and a pinch from Alien and morphs that into a very unique creature. I’ll remember it for a long time.
Out of necessity, for lack of dialogue, the foley work is tremendous. The art of sound is so little appreciated until a spotlight is shown on it and everything else drops away. Every crunch of sand and footstep is rendered marvelously, and even given character of its own.
Unfortunately, not everything about the movie is great. Despite the little twist given with the silence aspect, the film is very predictable. You can see a scene and instantly understand what’s going to happen at the end of it simply due to how the shot is framed. This is the scene where the kid reaches out from under the tractor and grabs his sister with a scary sound. That is the scene where the woman’s bloody hand smacks against the shower door and slowly drags down. It’s just so by-the-books, I found.
Along with that, I didn’t find the atmosphere to be as splendid as the professional reviews might lead you to think. There aren’t many shots that emphasize the slow burn scare. Instead, most of the movie’s horror quotient is relegated to jump scares. They are pretty effective, to be fair, but when the film is almost all jumpscares, it kind of loses my trust as a viewer and I’m inclined instead to watch the scary scenes cynically, waiting for the inevitable chord of jangly music.
It’s a good film for what it is. It’s a fine horror film wrapped in an excellent gimmick and the sound design to pull it through. It just isn’t the best horror film of the year or anything.