Upon hearing that John Krasinski, best known as Jim from the American version of The Office, has written and directed a horror film starring himself and his wife, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was destined to be a complete and utter disaster. However, A Quiet Place manages to create a suspenseful atmosphere through its use of silence, even if it does resort to the occasional cheap jump scare at times.
Krasinski makes the wise decision of not weighing the film down with needless exposition. All that is revealed at the start is that we are a few months on from an event that has led to the extinction of most of the world’s population. Oh, and everyone has to be super quiet now or a monster will come along and tear you from limb to limb. The monsters are rarely glimpsed at first, Krasinski sticking to the idea that in horror, what you don’t see can be far more terrifying than what you do. Even when the monsters are shown more in the later stages of the film, the CGI creations are impressive, with a unique design that sets them apart from other recent cinematic beasties.
The aforementioned wife of Krasinski is the super-talented Emily Blunt, whose performance as the mother of the central family is one of the highlights of the film, and helps to paper over plot contrivances such as nails conveniently sticking up from floorboards just waiting to be trodden on. Comparisons can be drawn between this and Don’t Breathe, which had a similar be-quiet-or-die gimmick, but where that film had its foot held down on the accelerator and never let go, A Quiet Place is more interested in ebbs and flows, which can allow the tension that has been wonderfully built up to dissipate.