I think we all take the sense of hearing for granted far too much. We never appreciate the subtleties of how far audio has made strides within the film industry. Films like “Gravity” get all the praise, yet sometimes people don’t realize it’s for different reasons such as the immersive sound atmosphere this film creates. Films have become overshadowed with the spectacle of special effects that demand all of the viewers’ attention.
This is where “A Quiet Place” had me sold on the film’s premise: more show, less tell. Audience members will have to watch the characters’ faces to understand what is going on in the scenes instead of dialogue filling the space.
In John Krasinski’s third film behind the camera, in which he also stars alongside his wife Emily Blunt, the world is set in the future with a post-apocalyptic setting where making too much noise can get you killed.
In this world, the main characters, the Abbott family, are isolated on a farm that is surrounded by creatures that are blind but can hear the slightest of noises from far away. If they hear you, they hunt you down.
What this simple premise does is allow the theater to be an experience. The tense atmosphere allows for some clever use of sound, which immerses you within the silent world of the Abbott family.
Think about how that would change your everyday life routine. Something as simple as cooking would have to be adapted to this new quiet lifestyle. How could you enjoy a bag of chips with the crinkling of the foil signaling your doom?
This is what the movie does well: present a world to you and adhere to the rules set up. The problem, however, is that it does nothing new in terms of plot or characters.
While it does try to break new ground by portraying certain character traits as strengths, it ultimately misses the boat entirely on character development. I just wish there was more exploration as to who these characters really were besides knowing they were perhaps farmers.
This distracted me throughout the entire film since it’s central to the film’s plot, which is unoriginal but still interesting. It’s enough to keep the film going in momentum but just as things finally start to pay off, the cliffhanger leaves you high and dry.
As far as horror movies go, it does try to tread new water and show you something different in what can be done with less visual spectacle and more tension that makes you feel like you are on the edge of a knife.
As a director, Krasinski succeeds in technical skill but has a hard time showing the audience a clear narrative. I was guessing constantly during the movie as to what exactly the characters goals were.That combined with the minimal dialogue made things unclear, to say the least.
I did enjoy the film and thought it was a great take on the horror genre but still failed to achieve what most horror movies these days are missing: a good story. “A Quiet Place” deserves to be seen in theaters, because without the immersion, you would be doing a disservice to the strengths of the film.
I hope Krasinski continues to try new things since the film left me walking away thinking, how amazing it is to hear a film.