"A Quiet Place" was a big hit earlier in the year -- not because it starred "The Office's" Jim, but because it used silence to scare.
Directing and starring in the film, John Krasinski let stray sounds -- presumably from blind creatures lurking outside a family's home -- resonate, giving the drama plenty of jump.
Part insect, part “Alien” monster, those predators had super-sensitive hearing, forcing the family has to abstain from speaking and making any extraneous noise.
The consequences were brutal – early on, a son was killed when he played with a toy rocket. Knowing as much, the survivors didn't wear shoes, used sign language to speak and operated out of padded rooms that enabled them to at least search for answers to what was plaguing the world.
Krasinski, who also co-wrote screenplay, cast his wife, Emily Blunt, as his spouse and Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe as their children. They were all very good at this game and willing to somehow do in the three creatures that hovered.
The rub? Mom was pregnant, suggesting she might scream at some point.
To keep the predators from hearing her, dad rigged the house for maximum silence and set up fireworks in a field to distract.
Krasinski spilled this out in due time and, in the process, made points about love, loss and preparation. He also worked neatly with the sound designers, giving us a taste of what the daughter (who’s hearing-impaired) heard regularly. He spotted sound around the theater, too, and made the audience feel like it was surrounded by the creatures.
Two white boards spelled out the things dialogue couldn't but they were pretty basic (and would have been erased long before we dropped into the action). Left alone, the kids were quite smart, devising a way of killing a creature that might have been advantageous months earlier.
Set on a farm – during harvest, no less – “A Quiet Place” raised plenty of questions – including the issue of planting. Who put in all that corn? And what was everyone planning to do about it?
The dead son, however, was another matter.
Blunt handled the situation well – she has extremely expressive eyes and an ability to telegraph plenty without uttering a word. Krasinski got a “talking” scene with Jupe that worked and, while there’s no hope that anyone exists outside the confines of the farm, it was safe to assume life will go on.
While this didn't have a broader message (as Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” did), it did scare in ways most recent horror films haven’t. It addressed the disconnect that festers in families and said an outside force, sometimes, can be a catalyst for change.