The Sound of Silence in “A Quiet Place” (Review)

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The Sound of Silence in “A Quiet Place” (Review)

Kellin Cremeens, Writer

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Language is something that is easily taken for granted. Our ability to speak, to communicate, is fundamental to who we are. What happens when that is taken away? If talking meant certain doom? If we physically couldn’t tell the people closest to us how we feel?

That is the horror of “A Quiet Place”.

“A Quiet Place” is a horror movie directed and co-written by John Krasinski (of “The Office” fame) with a simple premise: A family tries to survive in a world overtaken by monsters who use sound to “see”. The monsters are fast, deadly, and nearly indestructible. The family lives in constant fear, since something as simple as a lantern falling over could lead to their deaths.

This is where the main tension of the movie comes in: the silence. A large portion of the movie is nearly silent, (unless you can hear the muffled noise of the “Ready Player One” showing next door, but that’s the Brownsburg 8 for ya). When it’s absolutely silent, something as simple as a character putting a jar on a table can be intense, since the audience is terrified of what will happen if they hear. This is ramped up to the absolute extreme when the mother (played brilliantly by Emily Blunt) has to give birth without making a single sound, while the rest of her family desperately tries to distract the monsters. I won’t dare spoil it, but it’s one of those scenes that’ll have people talking for a very long time.

Another strength of “A Quiet Place” is how it treats the audience. Krasinski, in an interview, said that the greatest advice he received was to never treat the audience like they’re stupid, and it shows. Despite some obvious “whiteboard-exposition”, information is never spoon-fed to the audience. The creature’s origins/abilities are never directly explained to the audience, although you can probably figure it out if you pay attention. The movie is still enjoyable if you don’t look for “clues”, but it rewards those who look just a little harder.

The monster, tension, and silence all serve the greater theme of the movie: family. More specifically, how far a person is willing to go to keep their family safe. Character moments, family interactions, and emotional payoffs are never axed in favor of cheap scares, or gory schlock. “A Quiet Place” is a movie about family first, monsters second. Both Krasinski and Blunt have described this movie as a love letter to their kids, showing how far they would go to protect them. And that is what makes “A Quiet Place” special. Because, in the end, the monster isn’t the scariest thing; it’s the responsibility of being a parent.

Rating: 8/10