fresh no ads
The sound of silence is...Scary |

Sunday Lifestyle

The sound of silence is...Scary

THE X-PAT FILES - Scott R. Garceau - The Philippine Star
The sound of silence is...Scary
John Krasinski gives the universal sign for “Shhhh!” in his hit movie, A Quiet Place.

John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place is literally a quiet movie, but its lack of dialogue forces you to focus in on the tension, action and reactions playing on the actor/director’s face, that of his wife, Emily Blunt, and of their children. Forced to adapt to a world that’s been decimated by blind, predatory aliens that rely on their keen sense of hearing (we never really learn how or why the aliens arrived, just a few scattered old newspaper headlines here and there), the Abbott family uses the best weapon they have in order to survive: silence.

The opening sequence is a stunner, as we track the Abbotts hunting for groceries in an abandoned town. Literally walking on tiptoe, they’re careful not to make a peep as they stash away medicines and food supplies. A battery-operated space shuttle toy fancied by their youngest son, Beau, is nixed because of the possible noise it could make; a sympathetic and deaf older sister Regan (Millicent Simmonds) gives it to Beau anyway — and you can imagine what happens next.

The Abbotts live in an old farmhouse near a forest, for some unfathomable reason, where wife Evelyn (Blunt) is about eight months pregnant. (Why she wouldn’t insist on living in, say, an abandoned hospital with soundproof rooms instead is a peculiar plot mystery.)

What grounds A Quiet Place is the clever idea that only those families used to dealing with a family member’s disability (deafness) are equipped to outsmart super-sensitive aliens. They sign their way through difficult moments, and it seals them together in a protective world.

You may never give birth in a bathtub again after seeing A Quiet Place.

The alien encounters at times remind us of other movies — The War of the Worlds, both the earlier 1953 version and Spielberg/Cruise remake — in the almost balletic dance through enclosed, subterranean basements where the slightest misstep can cause alien heads to swivel around menacingly. The aliens themselves are nasty creatures, prone to making a disturbing high-pitched clicking sound as their auditory nerves prickle up; it lets us know they’re around somewhere, in the forest, about to descend in packs.

The other movies we are reminded of are Alien, M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs (all those cornfields, that creepy basement), the recent Don’t Breathe (blind old man hunts trespasser kids trying to rob his creepy, dark house), and maybe even Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark. These are all movies where villains play a lethal game of hide and seek, and protagonists try to evade detection. It’s a surprisingly resilient storytelling technique, and the script — co-written by Krasinski from a story by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck — runs with it, setting our Abbotts up for peril after peril. There may be precious little dialogue, but the action threatens to overspill each scene, whether it’s Evelyn tiptoeing down the cellar stairs (with that nasty exposed nail) just as her water breaks, or the remaining Abbott kids getting caught in a grain silo and nearly drowning in corn kernels (!).

Still, plotholes are abundant — like, the Abbotts are supposed to be very quiet, but everything in their farmhouse setting could use a healthy dose of WD-40 to eliminate squeaks and groans; and one wonders why no other survivors have stumbled upon the discovery that deaf daughter Regan inadvertently makes.

But what A Quiet Place sometimes lacks in logic, it makes up for in a solid family survival premise. “Who are we, if we can’t protect our children?” Evelyn signs to her husband Lee (Krasinski) at one point. That being said, this family is often fragmented, off on separate errands, split up and often dragging one another out of trouble. The trailer of A Quiet Place shows Emily Blunt about to give birth in an empty bathtub while something unspeakable lurks behind her (not really a spoiler, as it’s right there in the trailer). Again, it’s hard to imagine a woman giving birth sans medical assistance without howling bloody murder. But the movie neatly covers up that discrepancy, too.

Running at a trim 93 minutes, A Quiet Place is the kind of movie where audience members sit as hushed as statues, waiting for the next shock to come. You can actually hear people munching on popcorn in the cinema. And even that becomes a little unnerving after a while.

vuukle comment




Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with