A Quiet Place review - a magnificently controlled personal horror story
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A Quiet Place is the most intelligently directed horror film since Trey Edward Shults' It Comes At Night. In repeating that film's beguiling tone, albeit with a less stylistically- and more technically- obvious central conceit, John Krasinski recasts Shults' film's chilling control of light into a mastery of sound. It's perhaps a reference to the overbearing reliance on quiet-loud dynamics in modern horror cinema, but Krasinski commands those dynamics better than most because his concept, being as ingenious as it is, demands it. In what is surely a personal story, Krasinski and real-life spouse Emily Blunt star as the parents of a family in a monster-ravaged America. The monsters are entirely blind, and rely entirely on sound to seek their prey. One misplaced jostle that knocks over even the tiniest object will set them off, and likely spell death. As a result, the family communicate entirely through sign-language, a skill they have learnt from Blunt and Krasinski's onscreen daughter being deaf (happily, she is played by Millicent Simmonds, who is legitimately deaf in real life). The family is rounded out by Noah Jupe, who currently sports the best "scared child" face in the business. Understandably, it is put to use frequently here. The personal conceit, then, comes in the form of Krasinski's character, who spends much of the film's runtime preparing and carrying out rituals and processes designed to keep his family safe. It seems to be an overarching metaphor for paternal protection, finding the will to help one's family to survive, and the fear that one will fail at doing so.
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