Kaitlyn Waller, Staff Writer
“A Quiet Place” demands silence, but leaves nothing to speak of when the credits roll.
“A Quiet Place” was released to video and streaming services on July 10 having opened to loud praise during its theatrical release on April 6. The film ultimately scored an impressive 96% on rotten tomatoes. “A Quiet Place” stars John Krasinski and Emily Blunt who play Lee and Evelyn Abbott, a married couple with three kids. The family is forced into silence by deadly aliens with supersonic hearing.
The movie is truly quiet, much like its recent horror-flick predecessor “Don’t Breathe,” which debuted a similar suspenseful concept. The Abbott’s are careful to not make a sound as they scavenge for supplies, play board games, or even walk across the floorboards in their remote farmhouse, lest the aliens hear and attack. But a new family circumstance makes keeping quiet harder to manage despite the measures taken to keep silent.
“A Quiet Place” pays homage to many sci-fi movies and ultimately becomes a re-hashing of previous films such as “War of the Worlds,” “Don’t Breathe,” “Alien” and even “Spiderman 3.” “A Quiet Place” begins several months into the now quieted world and focuses exclusively on the Abbott family. No information is given on why or how seemingly unintelligent aliens came to Earth to hunt and kill both animals and people.
The film thereby avoids responsibility for answering logical inconsistencies and plot holes. It falls short in both the science fiction genre and the suspense genre. Each jump scare is expected and each event in the plot is predictable. The film adds nothing new to the science fiction discussion on the binary between human and alien or on the effects of a new environment on the human psyche, human relationships and morals.
Then, “A Quiet Place” becomes a movie about family dynamics, but this, too, fails in execution. Aliens were an unnecessary ploy to create a common family tragedy to expose parental fears and worries. The movie’s central theme lands on the Abbott’s concern over who they are as parents if they cannot protect their kids, but the threat against the Abbotts isn’t convincingly threatening.
Krasinski and Blunt’s characters also lack emotional chemistry with their on-screen children. Lee and Evelyn Abbott worry if they can keep their kids safe, but yet they are mostly absent from their children. Then, they put their children at risk through a selfish action which threatens the family’s ability to be silent. The Abbotts can speak through sign language, which also makes the film’s silent concept unnecessary. The signing adds little to suspense or to the discussion of the loss of communication within families after tragic events. The need to restore sound isn’t an understandable motive. Additionally, the film’s musical score undercuts any sound which appears in the midst of silence.
“A Quiet Place” resolves into a muddled film caught between conflicting genres. The film possessed room to explore profound ideas, such as the impact of silence on human interactions and the communal search for a solution Instead, it ends on a confused thesis, but the film is not without its merits; It is taut and well-acted.
The film also posits interesting juxtapositions between characters and their screams made from reactions to different tragic stimuli. Although, the importance of such a juxtaposition becomes lost in the film’s musical score. Ultimately, nothing new or important speaks through “The Quiet Place” even against a background of complete silence.