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A Quiet Place is a masterpiece of silent direction wrapped in a novel monster flick

By Leigh Monson 

   Who knew that John Krasinski – better known as Jim from The Office – had it in him to direct such a fantastic horror film?
   A Quiet Place is not just a generic monster movie, but an achievement in direction for a premise that requires little dialogue and even less of it to be spoken aloud. It's a film that smartly builds out its world in believable and authentic ways, asking questions of how one could effectively survive its scenario and answering them in casual and brilliant detail. And, most important of all, it's tense and shocking throughout. What a ride.
  In the near future, civilization has been wiped out by near-invulnerable creatures that hunt exclusively through the use of a hyper-sensitive ability to hear, but are otherwise blind and unable to smell. A farming family that includes Krasinski, his pregnant wife (Emily Blunt), their deaf teenage daughter (Millicent Simmonds, a deaf actress who has the makings of a star about her), and their pre-teen son (Noah Jupe) have survived through a combination of already-learned sign language and their naturalist ability to live off the land. However, with Blunt's pregnancy about to unleash a crying bomb into their midst, their carefully controlled existence is threatened by creatures that could wipe them out should they make the slightest sound.
  From a pure world-building standpoint, A Quiet Place is so carefully thought out and so fully realized within its singular farmstead setting that it's somewhat mind-boggling. As stupid as it may seem to bring a baby into a world where its cries would ensure the entire family's destruction, there are contingencies in place and mechanisms that this family has implemented to make sure the eventual arrival of the new addition to the family is kept safe and safe to keep. This is all demonstrated in a master class of storytelling that shows rather than tells, allowing exposition to develop naturally through set dressing rather than having characters explain the plot to one another, since they are unable to do so anyway. Furthermore, if this film isn't up for recognition for sound mixing and editing by the time the Oscars roll around next year, there is no justice in the world, as the tension at play between silence and the smallest noise will make you want to shush every single person in the theater brave enough to try and chew popcorn.
  But none of this impressive technical wizardry would be worth anything were it not for a compelling piece of human drama at the center of it all, and even more than a hard lean into high concept sci fi,
A Quiet Place is the story of a family, struggling to get along and stay alive in circumstances greater than themselves. There are moments of serious emotional weight and punch that are heart-lifting and heart-breaking in equal measure, and it's all the more impressive for how sparingly spoken dialogue is used to convey it.
  I wish the designs of the monsters were a bit more unique than the bog-standard Cloverfield-esque things we get here, but that's nit-pick in what is a superbly realized film. A Quiet Place is not for the faint of heart, but it is a veritable masterpiece of horror film-making that fans of the genre will not want to miss.

4.5/5 stars

Leigh Monson is technically a licensed attorney but somehow thinks being a film critic is a lot more fun. Leigh loves both award darlings and hilariously bad films, does not believe in superhero movie fatigue, and calls it like he sees it.