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‘A Quiet Place’: Frighteningly Good

Ellie Dugan, Staff

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A Quiet Place, a 2018 American horror film, features John Krasinski and Emily Blunt in starring roles and Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe as their on-screen accomplices.  The movie is perfectly cast and the actors’ on-screen chemistry with one another is almost palpable, making for an appropriate and natural depiction of human interactions. 

The four starring actors play members of a family in a post-apocalyptic setting whose efforts to survive amongst dangerous creatures of hypersensitive hearing are the focus of the plot. 

The movie opens on a scene in which the Abbott family—Lee, Evelyn, and their children Regan, Marcus, and Beau—scavenge for supplies in a deserted convenience store.  The scene serves to introduce the characters and convey hints of the film’s taut and fearful atmosphere through dim lighting and muted colors. 

The movie builds tension expertly throughout this scene and others, making the audience sit still and silent in anticipation of the next jumpscare.  A Quiet Place follows the typical horror movie-style ebb and flow of tension and release, keeping audiences interested and engaged. 

In a moment in which Regan and Marcus knock over a lantern and make a loud sound, the movie’s mood becomes almost unbearably tense as the Abbott family waits in silence for telltale signs of attacking creatures drawn by the sound.  The audience collectively holds its breath as John Krasinski slowly creeps over to a window and looks for the monsters’ appearance, finding nothing but hearing movement on the roof.  In a sudden and heart-stopping moment, the tension is broken as the disturbances’ culprits are revealed.   

Along with its expertly-developed moments of tension and release, A Quiet Place stuns viewers with incredible visuals and state-of-the-art camera quality as well as its use of American Sign Language, which the characters communicate with. 

The use of American Sign Language in modern films is extremely unconventional and is just one of the ways in which A Quiet Place sets itself apart from other horror-dramas.  The sign language usage helps to draw viewers into the story due to its intimate nature and makes the audience feel similarly to the characters: isolated, fearful, and cautious. 

The movie also takes artistic liberties within its creature design.  The creatures that plague the Abbott family are excellently animated and visually striking, and every appearance of them on the screen is the cause for audience members’ alarm. The creatures bear resemblance to prehistoric fish, snakes, and bats, as well as bog people: bodies that have been preserved in peat and mummified to look black and sagging.  The creatures’ long limbs and upright postures make them appear somewhat humanoid in nature, something that is contrasted by their lack of eyes.  Design of the creatures in this way was intentional and served to portray an evolutionary dependence on hearing alone as well as a coldness and a desire to kill. 

A Quiet Place is an exemplary feat of cinematography and storytelling, and its cohesive plot, well-developed characters, and visuals are captivating.  The film has drawn significant praise, and for good reason!  A Quiet Place is still in theaters and is most likely playing at one near you. 

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‘A Quiet Place’: Frighteningly Good