Not a totally flawless, yet highly gripping, edge-of-your-seat post-apocalyptic foray might have as its motto what theatres try to impose on consumers in a bustling information age, “Silence Is Golden.”
A Quiet Place stars John Krasinski (who also directs, co-writes, and is an executive producer), Emily Blunt (Krasinski’s missus), Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe. And, to the director’s credit he makes really care about the familial unit who attempt to survive interloping killer extraterrestrials who literally feed off of sound.
This unspecified clan has Krasinski and Blunt as a bearded father and (pregnant) mother beginning around three months after societal downfall and mostly set a year or so thereafter (at a remote farm) with Jupe (Wonder, Suburbicon) as their son and actual deaf actress Simmonds (Wonderstruck) as their deaf daughter with an ineffectual cochlear implant.
The early section uses tragedy and deeper ramifications that allows for emotional flexibility to develop in damaged, though loving and caring individuals who do their best to mask their pain. Obviously, not too many words are spoken and signing is prevalent with the gifted Simmonds on hand.
Disclosures that frequently occur augments apprehension into an already precarious situation. Even what might be the more predictable circumstance also has some surprise bearing from it. Under Krasinski’s sure-handed direction (his third outing after The Hollars) the pressure mounts and some on-lookers may be gasping for their breath.
Being kept in “the conversation” is crucial to how well four devoted, desperate souls are so natural in their gesturing and countenance that a connection among them is easily tangible. Peril isn’t exploited by any means in the typical ‘jump scare’ gotcha way; just wringing out much feeling and dread in many a sequence. Of course, with the brutish creatures (maybe petal-like, avocado-coifed cousins to those once devised by H.R. Giger) quite unnerving and unequivocally foreboding eliciting perhaps the heebie-jeebies when confronting the trying-to-be careful (but not always successful) survivors.
Often real-life spouses aren’t really good together on-screen but Krasinski (Detroit, Away We Go) and Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, The Devil Wears Prada, My Summer of Love) buck the trend with natural aplomb during a roiling escalation which takes into account the taxing challenges of (an innately joyful role) parenting. Especially when it comes to conflict of a father (attempting to build a soundproof crib, as well as more than home improvements for his beloved) and headstrong daughter.
This admirably paced high-concept Place is deceptively disquieting as staged by someone who had no previous experience in the genre, and the result happens to be for the better in the alarming nature of personal knowledge drawn from its effect. Certain moments that creep up on characters in the rural enclave have a sticking fear about them immersed around a creative sound design (distinctively novel when it comes to the aliens) and a subtly effective score from Marco Beltrami. Krasinski’s deft fright fest is white-knuckle entertainment that can only slide for so long on the sounds of silence.