Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Quiet Place

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! It never happens to me but, of course, when I see the movie that is all about being quiet, my damn cellphone goes off during it.

A Quiet Place – 5 out of 5

The trailer for A Quiet Place definitely had me intrigued and insanely interested in checking it out—I also found it totes adorbs that real-life married couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt was in it together playing a married couple because I’m a dork.  However, I almost didn’t end up seeing this one in the theater because I’m hyper-critical of horror films and, due to the fact I find more of them disappointing than satisfying, I’m hesitant to spend my money on seeing them in a cinema.  However, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to see it so I took the gamble and checked it out…and it was awesome-sauce!  Honestly, this could be one of the best constructed, acted, and dramatic horror films I’ve ever seen.  Prepare for a gushing review!

                                                                                                            Platinum Dunes
Just look at that adorable, stupidly attractive and talented couple.
If I didn't love them so I would be jealous and hate them.

The world has gone silent as a collection of mysterious monsters have taken over the world.  They hunt by sound so, if you make a noise, they attack.  Evelyn (Blunt) and Lee Abbott (Krasinski), along with their children; Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward), are struggling to exist in a quiet world.  However, tragedy weakens their bonds and it’s not long before the deafening silence is filled with their screams of terror as all hell breaks loose.

                                                                                                            Platinum Dunes
"Oh crap, the aliens from Signs are here too.  Quick, to the pond!"

Recent trends in the genre of horror show that films are now incorporating deep emotional drama with their thrill and chills.  The Babadook presented this in a very dynamic way and even the remake of It showed an emphasis on personal relationships over cheap jump scares.  What makes these impressive is how the products have these emotional and dramatic arcs but never sacrifice tone, atmosphere and scares.  A Quiet Place takes this dynamic and amps it up to insanely impressive levels.  The whole film has this amazing amount of tension but it also develops and delivered characters that you care for and, this is amazing, I cried as often as I was frightened in this one.  This story does what a thriller/horror is meant to do and gives you characters you are invested in and you are just as interested in seeing them grow in this unforgiving world as you are seeing them survive.  This formula made the film so much more meaningful than just a simple horror feature and made it a product that commanded attention and did so in a very subtle and simple way.

                                                                                                            Platinum Dunes
And if that was me in the tub, I would immediately draw out the monsters
as I start to sing "Rubber Ducky."

The characters are written incredibly well and that’s a big part of why they were so engaging but they are also performed amazingly by the cast.  Everyone is awesome to watch in this film.  They all have their characters and reactions narrowed in on perfectly and the chemistry they all exhibit together is very palpable and real.  They all feel like a real family and you get a sense of how much they care about each other and what they will do for one another.  Add in the fact the tension they show during the horrifying and nerve-racking moments feels so damn authentic and the result is some amazingly real performances that were just astounding to watch.  This also added to the fact that this movie is so much more meaningful than just your run-of-the-mill horror film.  They aren't just screaming at the top of their lungs, they look terrified for their lives.

                                                                                                             Platinum Dunes
Everyone in the cast is crazy amazing but special mention has to be made
to Millicent Simmonds.  This girl was incredible!

The next element that really blew me away concerning this film was the overall construction of the piece.  Everything that Krasinski brought as a director and what everyone did in the whole production felt so meticulous.  The little things that illustrate how the family is able to accomplish living every day in this dangerous situation was endlessly interesting to observe and really made the whole situation feel authentic.  However, the best part, for me, with the way the film and story is composited is how the film utilizes sound.  This element should be a no-brainer for the feature’s concept but bad sound engineering and editing can harm a movie and do it quickly.  This one didn’t have this problem.  The way silence, natural sound and the lack of music is used in the early moments of the film is orchestrated so well that even the most mundane moments are tense.  Then, as the story progresses and things are going from bad to “Dear God, my heart can’t take this!” a score is slowly feathered in and used to enhance the scenes rather than telegraph scares—something horror movies do way too often.  My personal favorite use of sound in the feature was the underlying heartbeat that would be mixed in.  Thrillers and horror features are no stranger to using this sound but in A Quiet Place it felt utterly perfect.  At least, I think there was a heartbeat added to the sound mix.  Honestly, it could have been my own heart beating in my chest.

                                                                                                           Platinum Dunes
And another great thing, that beard!

I mentioned that this film does a great job at being both dramatic and scary but I really need to emphasis that this film is very unsettling and chilling.  Krasinski does an amazing job in front of the camera but is also creating intense atmosphere and tone behind it.  Even when the family is going about regular activities like eating or doing laundry (silently, of course), there is this lingering threat always looming and never does the film feel like it is ever coasting.  The characters and story are developing at all times but there’s always a lingering threat predominantly surrounding all the proceedings.  The film also does a great job of providing some jump scares that never feel cheap (like jump scares often do).  The whole product is delivering horror and suspense in a consistent and very memorable way.  It never gets repetitive and the tension never lets up.  One scene in particular really got to me because I’m claustrophobic and my hands were literally shaking as I watched it.  Dumb me and my fear of confined places!

                                                                                                            Platinum Dunes
In a Shymalanian twist, it turns out this was all a revenge plot by Dwight on Jim.

I was overwhelmingly impressed with A Quiet Place.  The performances are fantastic, the concept is simple and incredibly effective, and the way it was presented and built made it loaded with drama and horror and allowed for these two tones to blend perfectly.  There was nothing about this film that I thought was holding it back and it was just an amazingly well done feature that was terrifically satisfying from beginning to end.

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