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Review – A Quiet Place


FILM REVIEWA QUIET PLACE
With Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds. Written by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck and John Krasinski. Directed by John Krasinski. Rated PG-13 for terror and some bloody images. 90 minutes.

quiet_place_xlgA QUIET PLACE is a seriously-made horror film with a strong cast and smart direction. Why doesn’t it work? It should have been obvious before the cameras started rolling. It has a clever premise that the three writers (including director/actor John Krasinski) didn’t fully consider. As a result, one must stop thinking while watching or else it all falls apart.

It starts off promisingly on “Day 89.” We’re three months into a worldwide crisis that is never explained. We see the Abbott family rummaging through a drug store in an abandoned town, trying not to make a sound. As we learn, creatures of unknown origin are rampaging across the planet, and are attracted by sound. If they hear you, they will attack.

We then jump ahead a year or so later, and we see the Abbotts in their stronghold on their farm. Evelyn (Emily Blunt) is pregnant. Her husband Lee is trying to find other survivors while protecting his own. Their daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf, but Lee is trying to devise a hearing aid for her. Their young son Marcus (Noah Jupe) isn’t sure he’s old enough to start learning survival skills.

Now as the family dynamics proceed with the ever-present fear of the creatures, a number of questions arise. Evelyn is pregnant? Did they think babies could be ordered to be quiet on command? When they were raiding the drug store did they not think to pick up some condoms? Since they’re being so careful not to make a sound that they spread sand everywhere they walk, how could they do this?

Then there’s the question of what the world did prior to the start of the film. Once they figured out the creatures were attracted by sounds, why not set off sirens or loudspeakers, and then pick off the monsters once they arrive?  We see the characters using sound to distract the creatures, why didn’t they use it to go on the offensive?

Which leads to the big reveal – not given away here – of what might be effective against them. With scientists, governments and the militaries all over the world realizing the fate of humankind was at stake, did no one think of this? Perhaps providing a little more backstory would have been helpful.

Recent attempts at what might be called “smart horror,” like “Get Out” and “Colossal,” didn’t offer up documentary reality but they did have an internal logic for the world the films created. “A Quiet Place” fails this basic test. What it does have is solid performances by its four principals, particularly Simmonds as their daughter, and some suspenseful set pieces such as Evelyn going into labor while trying not to make noise.

“A Quiet Place” is more of an interesting failure than a total disaster. It’s worth a look if you like the genre. Just try not to think too much while you’re watching.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 2 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His latest novel is Time on My Hands: My Misadventures in Time Travel. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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About Daniel M. Kimmel

Film critic, author, lecturer.

7 responses »

  1. I completely and utterly agree with this review. I am perfectly fine with ridiculous premises as long as the movies play within the parameters set. This movie didn’t come close. And I’m not being picky. A few eyerolls are fine but dozens of nonsensical issues happens throughout. It becomes distracting and takes you out of the movie. Considering they are asking movie going crowds to dwell in silence for long stretches, this is doubly bad.

    Another aspect is the complete lack of real motivation other than survive for survival sake. There is nothing about this world that screams other people are alive (Walking Dead, 28 Days Later), nor is this some interesting look at the human condition in the face of completely destruction (The Road). Without ANY backstory or a motivating factor it falls flat and becomes a bit boring. You really don’t care much about the characters at all.

    Finally, when the casual viewer can come up with dozens of ways to do things differently WHILE WATCHING the movie play out, it becomes comical to the point of failure. Sounds can attract the creatures and you have shotguns but you don’t go on the offensive but instead prefer to live in endless fear and silence? Yet you let your kids roam around all day like it’s a walk in park? Let’s have a baby too. It doesn’t work without more information which it does not provide.

    The shame about this type of movie is that critics now are lauding them which promotes more sloppy productions and squeezes out real well made films. It’s frustrating. This was a decent Redbox or a late night streamer, but anything more thanthat shows a complete lack of movie watching sensibility.

    Reply
  2. Jeff Greenberg

    given the circumstances, its not surprising they would want another child. and they did have a plan for how to mask the baby’s noise. but i would agree the movie is way over-hyped. aside from some of the points in the review, the poor deaf girl who thinks daddy doesn’t love me sub-plot was silly. and how loud does something have to be? and does it not matter how close or far the creatures need to be? a lot did not make sense.

    Reply
  3. I saw this film today and I could not comprehend the disparity between the reviews, including the audience reviews of IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic with what I saw on the screen. I was completely blown away by the absurdity and illogical screenplay. Just like Kimmel wrote above, I thought the exact same thing about the mother getting pregnant. The sister giving a toy that makes noise to her little brother, the sand, all of the characters shushing each other during long periods of time of absolute silence. Kimmel makes sense, why wouldn’t they set traps for these creatures and kill them off? A movie ticket wasted on this film. argggh

    Reply
  4. Backstory. Backstory. Backstory. God. Reminds me of Lady in the Water. Let’s just drop everything.

    The pregnancy thing, well that reckless decision was to atone for the death of the kid. Plausible. Yes, some things are forced, but it’s a darn movie.

    The showing I went to resulted in people standing up, chattering away, and some even breathing a sigh of relief. They felt as though they were on a rollarcostar.

    As for me, I live in reality every second of every day of my life. I go to the movies to escape that. This did the job.

    Reply
  5. It was a mess of a movie and totally illogical. I am the wrong moviegoer for this film though as I’m not a breeder so if you expect me to think “it’s a good reason” to have another kid just because you lost one, you lost me as a viewer. I can’t think of any good reasons to put up with screaming brats and poopy diapers so that whole part of the plot ruined the rest of the movie for me. Not only can I not put myself in their shoes, I don’t believe even in their shoes they would act that way. I just don’t believe it. Because if I believe they’re so stupid then I hate them and don’t care whether they live or die, which is basically what made this movie worthless. The characters suck. The woman is literally pictured in the kitchen almost immediately and then she’s doing laundry and then she’s dealing with the brats and walking around pregnant because that’s all she is – a dumb stereotype of a woman from hundreds of ears ago who contributes nothing except mental chores and babies. It was an anti-feminist message. Meanwhile the guy is building hearing aids, solving problems, setting fishing traps, using the short wave radio, basically doing all of the thinking including having made the silent alarm system no doubt. Why would anyone even want to be with a lady like that?! It’s not a dream, it’s a nightmare, she offers nothing to the world that one would expect of a human over an animal. “Who are we if we can’t protect our CHILDREN?!?” Lady, there is a life and a world beyond just being a breeder. Holy cow!

    Reply
  6. Honestly I couldn’t take this review seriously due to the glaring errors in grammar. Proof read next time before you sadly attempt to criticize a truthfully amazing film.

    Reply

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