The Popcorn Periodical
John Krasinski writes, directs and stars in explosive new alien thriller, “A Quiet Place”
The first weekend of April has sprung and movie traffic is hot on the heels of an impressive Easter weekend at the box office! Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s novel, Ready Player One, broke personal records for Spielberg and debuted in the number one spot worldwide, making it the second biggest opening of the year, after Marvel’s Black Panther. The gamer film is spliced with a CGI outburst of the most nightmarish scenes from The Shining but it’s still a sci-fi/fantasy. So where is the seemingly undead horror genre as of late?
March brought us the psychological Unsane as well as the poorly received serial killer sequel, The Strangers: Prey At Night. February released the biographical ghost story, Winchester, and January cashed in on a ghoulish fourth installment of Insidious: The Last Key. With another horror film (Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare) being released next Friday the 13th, horror fans have had quite a few screams to buzz about since February 2017, with Jordan Peele’s Academy Award-winning debut feature, Get Out, scaring audiences into a realm of horror we’ve never seen before. Since then (and despite the box office successes of Annabelle: Creation and IT), A Quiet Place is the first horror film to represent the genre with even an ounce of Get Out’s originality. And in the same vein, it’s daunting, smart, and unexpected.
Written, directed, and starring John Krasinski (TV’s The Office), A Quiet Place is an apocalyptic alien thriller that follows the Abbott family – Lee (John Krasinski), Evelyn (Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada), their daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck), and their two sons, Marcus (Noah Jupe, Wonder) and Beau (Cade Woodward). The film starts 89 days into what seems to be an alien invasion, and the audience is quickly made aware that the Abbotts haven’t made a rural lifestyle choice, they’re in survival mode, sequestered and as silent as can be.
Real life couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are powerhouses in this spine-chilling monster movie and their love and affection translate beautifully on-screen. From the get-go, you believe this family as a unit, and although the reasoning or methods behind the alien invasion remains unclear, Lee Abbott’s basement “office” is filled with newspaper clippings and whiteboard observations that help the audience understand just what the hell is going on (like how staying silent is mandatory for survival). “Stay Silent. Stay Alive,” is the motto, and for the Abbotts, communicating without sound is inevitable as their only daughter Regan is deaf. Millicent Simmonds, the young and hearing-impaired actress who plays her, is phenomenal from the very first scene; the acting in A Quiet Place is impeccable, no questions there.
Majority of A Quiet Place is just that, quiet. The 90-minute feature stretches across a nearly mute script – complete with sign and body language – and it’s only when that silence is broken that the audience is jolted into mayhem and unexpected, well-thought-out jump scares. The blind, faster-than-a-speeding-bullet alien bugs are privy to attacking what they hear, so it’s the Abbott family’s human instinct to keep hush and protect one another from the savage alien species (which you end up seeing in full – ahhhhh!). They’re a mix of Jurassic Park’s velociraptors and Ridley Scott’s Alien, perhaps even more frightening, depending on what you consider to be a successfully terrifying alien species.
Overall, John Krasinski’s debut film is a fresh, nervy, and heart-pounding horror film that opts for leaving all the typical sex and gore behind. Instead, A Quiet Place romanticizes the gritty feel of old school 80’s touchstones, mixing them with a completely new take on alien encounters. The film’s CGI remains crisp without reading as cliche, the setting is beautiful and remote, the score is haunting, the sound effects are tantalizing, and the plot takes multiple left turns (in a good way). Even though there are a few “yeah rights” (newborn babies are supposed to make a lot of noise, right?), there are just as many “holy shits” to keep you quiet about what you didn’t like, which won’t be much.
“If they hear you, they will hunt you!”
Tip: Watch out for the nail!
4 Popcorn Kernels / 5
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About the Author
Joey Viola is the Co-Founder of MoJo Toronto and an LGBTQ community leader who utilizes his passion and flair for the art of writing by bringing a fresh perspective in reviewing entertainment and advocating for equality, tolerance, and social/political justice.