“A Quiet Place” has grossed $103 million as of April 15. (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures)
“A Quiet Place” is not a bad movie, but it is a disappointing one.
Strange creatures that hunt by sound have overrun the planet. In the post-creature wasteland that has been left in their wake, a family attempts to survive.
“A Quiet Place” is the kind of horror movie that has the right premise to get creative with. As the premise is that the people surviving in this world have to be quiet as to not attract the monsters to their positions, there are a lot of creative things that could have been done with the sound. Take the 2016 movie “Don’t Breathe” for instance. The movie centered around a group of burglars having to stay as quiet as possible as to not let the dangerous blind man they are robbing from discover them. To add to the tension, the movie amplified all of the white noise like floorboards creaking and the burglars’ shallow breathing to make it sound really loud.
“A Quiet Place” does not do anything creative like that for the most part. It is mainly just fairly quiet scenes, and then something loud might happen to act as a jump scare moment. Other times, there is music playing over the scenes which drowns out any of the white noise that could be used as a creative means to build tension. The one creative thing the movie does with sound is a scene where a couple of characters are behind a waterfall.
The one creative thing that the movie does do with its premise is attempt to tell the story visually, though it is also disappointing on that front. For the first half of the movie, the story is told through sign language dialogue, character actions and visual acting. It also does a good job of it. It is easy to figure out why characters are acting the way they are, and the development makes sense.
The movie ruins this by throwing in a scene in the second half where the dad (John Krasinski) and the son (Noah Jupe) are at a waterfall where they can talk out loud, and the two of them just flat out tell the audience everything that is going on and why characters are feeling the way they are. It is simply a slap in the face to the audience and their intelligence by explaining something verbally when the movie had just done such a good job of showing that exact thing all through the visuals.
All of these things point towards the movie favoring the status quo instead of taking advantage of its creativity, which is fine. However, the movie needs to execute the status quo well, which “A Quiet Place” does not do. As stated above, the scares in the movie are predominately jump scares caused by loud noises. These scares are easy to predict because they come at times when the music stops playing so that the scene is completely quiet, which ends up taking away the power of the scare to begin with.
Then, there is the final act of the movie, which gets bogged down with an anything that can go wrong will go wrong approach. Way too much happens in the last act in terms of drama to the point of being overbearing. The characters are all getting separated and or getting hurt, and it eventually becomes so much that it gets boring.
The one aspect of the movie that is not disappointing is the acting. Both Krasinski and Emily Blunt are good as always, but even the child actors do a good job. Millicent Simmonds, who plays the daughter in the film, is simply astounding when it comes to acting completely through facial expressions and body motion.
“A Quiet Place” held so many possibilities for creative ways to tell its story, but it instead decided to aim for status quo story-telling and filmmaking in the framework of a mediocre film.
Final grade: C