I admittedly often have a certain amount of social anxiety when it comes to eating in quiet movies. I remember trying to eat some mixed nuts during Blade Runner 2049, and waiting to chew handfuls during the loud parts. For that reason, I usually don't even bother bringing food to movies, which I'm unbelievably grateful to have done for the premiere of A Quiet Place in Austin for SXSW.
As the title would suggest, it's a quiet movie, but even that doesn't do justice the anxious silence of the film directed by and starring John Krasinski. A Quiet Place follows a man (Krasinski) and his wife (Krasinski's IRL wife Emily Blunt) as they raise their family in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by blind monsters with super-hearing. The family can't talk, they can't wear shoes, they can't even play Monopoly with the metal thimble or top hat because it would make too much noise. Sneeze and you're dead within seconds.
It's like a fucked-up parable for raising a family in a broken world. One might even say that after loudly spewing hatred and bad takes and opinions on computers, TVs, and everywhere else, humanity is finally paying for all the loud noise. And it does so silently. There's rarely music, there are rarely loud noises, and the characters communicate in whispers or sign language. The crowd at SXSW was so silent that I could hear someone carefully chewing popcorn on the other side of the 1,000-plus-capacity Paramount Theater. The guy near me opening a candy bar sounded like he was putting a ton of bricks in a cement mixer. If someone coughed in the balcony, the whole theater jumped. Even within these constraints, Krasinski and Blunt give some truly touching performances. There are tender moments that don't need words.
And the silence isn't just a gimmick; it's an effective mode of building tension. The quiet was so defining I wanted to scream just to hear something. Then, as Krasinski does something as small as show a glass lantern on the edge of a table, the stress is nearly unbearable.
A Quiet Place is innovative, it's terrifying, and it will have you squirming in your seat covering your mouth in fear of making a noise. Walking out of the theater at SXSW, my colleague and I found ourselves wound up, stressed out at all the noise in downtown Austin, glaring at anyone yelling on the street and jumping at car horns.
This movie will rattle you. It'll stick with you. It'll hopefully have a sequel, because it's refreshing enough to be the next great cult horror franchise like Cloverfield. And critics are already raving about A Quiet Place. It currently has a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes - and, at this point, it's easily the scariest and most innovative horror movie of 2018.
There's plenty more for me to talk about when the movie is out in April, so I'll save it. But for now remember: Prepare to be very silent when going to see A Quiet Place.
You Might Also Like