A Quiet Place would have indistinctly blended in with all of the other post-apocalyptic films if not for one inclusion: the characters cannot make any noise. It is the year 2020 and earth has undergone a massive invasion by beastly, terrifying, ultra-violent alien creatures. Yet as vicious as they are, the aliens do not have eyes. They rely on an almost supersonic hearing to track down and kill their prey. This is an interesting scenario for a plot. Usually, the main characters are trying to avoid being killed by hiding themselves. In this film, you could be standing right next to the alien and survive as long as you do not make a sound. Anything louder than a whisper, and you’re dead.
The family (John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward) the film centers around has one advantage. The daughter has a hearing impairment, so they all know sign language. This comes in handy because they can communicate without talking. Even whispers, depending on the proximity of these creatures, could trigger them to attack and kill. They are massive with multiple mouths, rows of jagged teeth, and arms that can (and do) slice like razor blades.
The story itself is not unique except for the issue of sound. This makes it a whole different ball game. Everything is altered. The family hides themselves away but must take protecting themselves to different levels because you could frolic around out in the open with no weapons whatsoever and as long as you do so quietly, you would be alright. We have to keep reminding ourselves of their blindness just because of what we are used to in most sci-fi/horror films. As A Quiet Place progresses, we learn the mother is pregnant and almost due. Trying to carry out her pregnancy and do so in absolute silence becomes the apex of the film.
This movie reminded me a lot of Signs. Aliens have taken over earth, most of humanity is killed off, and in the end, we learn these horrifically violent invaders can be defeated by something ridiculously simple. Where these two differ, though, is the presentation of the aliens themselves. In Signs, you do not see them until the very end and even then it is in the shadows and not exactly visible. I always enjoyed this because it allowed our imaginations to create a character unique to ourselves and to add a bit more mystery. A Quiet Place makes their image more known. First, we get a fleeting glimpse. Then we see a bit more. By halfway through, we know exactly what these creatures look like. In my eyes, this helps and hurts. There may be nothing leaving us wondering, but at the same time, like anything else that is frightening, the more you see it the less of an impact it has. Perhaps director John Krasinski could have limited our full viewing until the final scenes.
For uniqueness, A Quiet Place gets an A+. For excitement, it is a little bit lower. The lack of dialogue is essential to the story but that also means you must be paying full attention. You cannot zone out, even for a few seconds. If you’re watching this for the first time, do not just have it on in the background. There is ample subtitled sign language; probably the first film of its kind to depict signing in detail. There are moments of sheer terror but scenes equal to that in boredom and waiting for something to happen. A solid 7 out of 10 stars.