PG-13 is usually the kiss of death for horror. Reliant on jump scares, an absence of gore, and an aim to be just terrifying enough to still work for teenagers, it’s the wheelhouse for horror sequels and throwaway ghost stories. Then, we have A Quiet Place. This is a true cut above. What John Krasinski has accomplished here is truly remarkable. From the first Teaser Trailer, it seemed like this had potential. Then, having seen it last week, I was blown away. It’s truly a new horror classic, along with being one of the five best movies that I’ve seen in 2018 so far.
The film is a fright flick that actually manages to scare you while still telling a riveting story. Set in the days after a devastating alien invasion, we follow a family who has managed to spend the months since surviving in upstate New York. The creatures (aliens, it seems) are blind, but have incredible armor and are sensitive to sound, so if they hear you, they pretty instantaneously kill you. Luckily, the Abbott family has adapted. Daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf, so they already knew American Sign Language. Father Lee (Krasinski), mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt), plus sons Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward) seem to have a system in place, though one wrong move in the opening act costs them dearly. From there, we check in at two other junctures with the Abbotts, each of which offers a new insight into what they’re going through. Suffice to say, danger lurks at every single turn. Factor in a pregnancy and the tension levels are through the roof. Krasinski directs and co-writes with Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who both contributed the original story. Without anyone else really in the cast, it’s all about this family. The haunting score is by Marco Beltrami, while some terrific cinematography comes to us from Charlotte Bruus Christensen.
Folks, this movie is legit unsettling. From the unique creatures to the use of sound, everything here works to keep you on edge. Again, not having an R rating doesn’t impact this one bit. The folks at Platinum Dunes (yes, Michael Bay is a producer here, but he doesn’t factor into the equation one bit) are notorious for mediocre PG-13 outings, but this is anything but. There are certainly jump scares here, but they feel organic and are executed with panache. We can easily see a style on display that elevates the already strong material. Just like It Follows a few years ago, it makes horror into an art form all its own.
John Krasinski has been growing as a filmmaker, but this is something else. Easily his best work to date, in all regards, it’s masterfully done. Oscar won’t go for A Quiet Place, but at the same time, this is a film worthy of praise. Frankly, if voters really pay attention, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing are categories where this is actually more than deserving of Academy Award consideration. Don’t look for that to happen, but knowing that the technical aspects of the are that good certainly should help hammer home how worthwhile this picture is. To me, it’s a must see.
As a bonus, here is how I would rank Blunt’s ten best performances so far:
10. Sunshine Cleaning
9. Charlie Wilson’s War
8. The Girl on the Train
6. The Five Year Engagement
5. A Quiet Place
4. The Adjustment Bureau
3. Edge of Tomorrow
2. Your Sister’s Sister
Honorable Mention: Into the Woods, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and The Young Victoria
On Friday (or technically Thursday night), A Quiet Place opens to scare the absolute crap out of you. It’s among the best 2018 releases to date, which is really saying something. Krasinski’s filmmaking (not to mention his performance), coupled with Blunt’s, really sell this flick. Creative, efficient, and deeply unsettling, it’s an example of what horror can fully achieve when it’s on point. If you enjoy the genre, you have no excuse not to race out and see it. This should be a big hit, and rightly so. Even if you don’t really like horror, it’s such a strong film that you should make an exception. One of the year’s best, this movie is just tremendous. See it and thank me later…
Be sure to check out A Quiet Place, in theaters everywhere this weekend!