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A Quiet Place is going to storm the box office for the next three weeks until Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters. This is a heartbreaking, dramatic, tense, strong horror film that has all the heart and punch of the best drama. John Krasinski has crafted a masterpiece here, and A Quiet Place is the best film of 2018 so far.
We open in the world as we know it torn asunder in the year 2020. Creatures have landed on our planet, hunting anything they can find in packs. They attack based on sound, so silence is golden. We see this all through the eyes of the Abbott family (Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds), and the film wastes no time teaching us the stakes of what they are dealing with. Things are about to get even more difficult for the Abbotts as they prepare for the birth of a child in a world where you can’t make a sound. Needless to say, things go haywire and difficult choices have to be made. All of it ends with one of the best fist pump moments in a film in a long time.
Every sound made in the film is given such incredible weight. You will feel a sense of dread with every twig snap, every step taken too hard. Attention to detail is everywhere to be found here — sand being poured on the roads to muffle steps, newspapers and mattresses to dull conversations and general noise, using the cover of a stream to fish and gather resources. I love the amount of respect paid to the premise. When the characters are able to speak to each other, every line feels vital. Some might have an issue with the use of a score here, but they shouldn’t. It adds to the story in beautiful ways; without it we might feel like we’re watching a weird experiment instead of a film.
The Abbotts themselves are all fully fleshed out and given life by an exceptional cast. Blunt is my new favorite on-screen mom of all time. She is so caring and willing to go to any length to protect her children. You believe these are her actual kids — at some points the line between performance and real life feels blurred.
Krasinski does a fantastic job directing this and turning the film’s limitation into a strength. As a performer, he has come a long way from Jim on The Office. A Quiet Place is not just wildly different from anything else we have ever seen from him — it is a welcome change. Just like Blunt, you forget that these are not his real-life kids. They of course share just as deep a bond on screen as they do off (they are married in real life) with off-the-charts chemistry.
And the kids! Jupe’s growth over the film’s brisk run time is one of its best surprises. His transformation from a meek, fragile child into a strong, capable young man was completely believable. An excellent performance. But the standout of the entire experience is Millicent Simmonds. She wants nothing more than to test the boundaries of her independence — to have value beyond just being a family member. She commands your attention every time she is in a scene, and the film is lucky to have her. A star is born here.
With such a small budget, the film uses every penny and nothing looks cheap or wonky effects-wise. The creatures are menacing and tough to look at when they debut, but by the end in their own way they are gorgeous to look at. They are designed almost as a cross between the demogorgon from Stranger Things and the monster from Cloverfield.
I am being purposefully vague on actual plot details. A Quiet Place is a film you need to go to a theater and experience with as many people as possible. I knew little going in and was all the better for it — you should do the same. This is my favorite film of the year so far, and while it’s only April, it may be tough to top.