*Note: This needs to be a real movie. “Starving” college students can all go eat a steaming pile of ramen, this is a GoFundMe I could totally get behind.
Okay, now back to the good part.
By: Dan Torres
John Krasinski’s “A Quite Place” is a very simple movie that is executed exceptionally well. The premise of the movie is straightforward, and the audience is thrown into the middle of it with little to no preface. The plot consists of a family, a father, mother, and three children, attempting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world that is mostly populated by terrifying alien spike monsters that hunt their prey by sound. And these monsters have incredibly attuned hearing that can pinpoint prey from miles away if the prey so much as speaks, barks, sneezes, or steps on a twig. Where did these monsters come from? FUCK YOU – that’s where. The movie never bothers to explain what’s happening to the world on the grand scale. Where did these aliens come from and why they want to wipe us out? Those are two questions that never get answered. The only perspective the audience is ever given, is the point of view of this one nuclear family, as they desperately try to not get eviscerated because one of the kids farted. If you can look past that gigantic omission from the plot, and accept the movie for what it is, you’re in for one of the best horror films of the decade.
Speaking very broadly, there are two types of horror films out there. The first is the kind that tries to terrify it audience with scary or disturbing images. The film will conjure up grotesque and horrifying scenes that terrify the audience by the shear unnatural or grotesque nature of whatever it is they see. Good examples of this are “The Ring” or “American Horror Story.” The second kind of horror film instead uses tension and surprise to keep the audience on their toes. A good example of this is the movie “Alien” (the first one, not the kinda scary action movie with space marines). In that film, the audience doesn’t get a good look at the monster until the very end, and most scenes involve an undefined dark shape, leaping out of the shadows, and dragging some unlucky sucker into the dark.
This movie is a little of both, but mostly the latter kind. The audience does get a good look at the monsters (fairly early in the film) and they are, indeed, grotesque and terrifying looking. But the real way this movie really makes it’s money is by creating tension. The kind of non-stop, white-knuckle tension that will make you flinch the moment some asshole in the audience gets a text. From start to finish the movie is almost totally silent, except for a bit of ominous music, and a few traumatizing moments when a character accidentally drops a dinner plate, and all hell breaks loose.
The movie is also excellently casted, and my hat is off to John Krasinski for acting in the movie, directing the movie, and for casting his real world wife, Emily Blunt, as his wife in the film. Most marriages in the real world don’t have to deal with horrifying alien spike monsters, but their chemistry as a husband and wife surviving in the face of a truly terrible threat was genuine. There was a brief moment where I couldn’t look at Krasinski and not think about Jim, the snarky character from the “The Office” who is constantly firing off witty quips about his dumb but lovable boss. But that thought dies the moment someone gets eviscerated by a spike monster.
There’s lots of other good things to say about this film. The family’s chemistry together is great. The young deaf daughter played by an actual deaf actress is amazing. But I don’t want to spend this entire review blowing sunshine up John Krasinski’s ass. Speak personally, as a complete nerd, I have major problems with this movie. As a nerd, one of the very first things that I do when I watch a truly immersive film, is I imagine what I would do if I was character. When I do that, it really doesn’t take me long to find holes in this movie’s plot. These monster’s hunt by sound. So why not plant a loudspeaker in the middle of nowhere, lure a couple of hundred of the ugly buggers to one spot, then remote detonate a bomb. BOOM. All the spike monsters within five miles are now spikey toast. The world is saved. Additionally, (SPOILER) one of the big revelations in the movie is the monsters can’t hear you if you’re in areas with large amounts of ambient noise. So why doesn’t everyone just live by the beach? Or by a waterfall. Or in windy mountain passes. Or in Seattle where it never stops raining. And let’s not even get into the whole debate about why these aliens can apparently travel hundreds of lightyears across the galaxy, can apparently breed a race of unstoppable killing machines that can hear a pin drop in China, but apparently can’t figure out this whole “eyes” thing.
I can’t help but feel like these aliens are kinda half-assing this apocalypse. But I get it, I’m being unreasonable. The plot of this movie is nothing more than a vehicle by which a talented young director and an excellent cast can present the audience with a unique kind of horror film that breaks barriers with its terrifying silence. But the nerd in me just wants to scream, and not in horror.
All I’m saying is that if I was in this movie, I’d kick the crap out of these aliens. That’s a fact.