The best movies sneak up on you. A vicious tornado that rips through town without any warning. You didn't see it coming and the aftermath quite literally blows you away.
This is a pretty bad metaphor, but my point is, the best movies are the ones you don't think much about and are left slack-jawed once the credit rolls.
This is the happenstance of A QUIET PLACE, a marvelous post-apocalyptic monster movie about family. That's a sentence I never thought I would write.
A QUIET PLACE stars John Krasinksi (who also co-wrote and directed) and Emily Blunt (SICARIO), a married couple (whom are married in real life) trying to raise their children in a future world where monsters hunt anything that makes a sound.
What makes the design of these creatures so terrifying is that they're not here to feed, or hunt for sport (hello, PREDATOR!). These monsters go berserk by the sound of anything -- human noise, a tractor, or even a child spaceship toy. We don't know why they are here, we just know they've been here a while and wiped out half of humanity.
Lee (Kraskinski) and Evelyn (Blunt) have built a quaint little home / fortress for themselves and their kids. They've paved paths to walk (barefoot) on to eliminate noise, and have learned sign language to communicate -- one of the children, Millicent Simmonds, is deaf in real life, and kudos to Krasinski for not hiring a child actor to play deaf. Simmonds reactions to important scenes feel may more realistic because we -- the audience -- knows she's truly hearing impaired.
Sure, A QUIET PLACE is a movie with monsters, but this is not a monster movie. This is a movie about family and challenges how far a parent / guardian would go to protect their children. At the beginning of the movie -- within the first five minutes -- the Abbott's lose a child in a most violent and jarring way, setting the tone for the rest of the film: nobody is safe. This is an unspoken rule in cinema -- when you kill off a kid, all bets are off. Anyone can die at any moment, including the stars of the movie. It makes the audience sweat the entire film's running time because of that dreadful feeling so-and-so could die at any moment versus the usual trope is it happens as the movie unfolds.
Yes, there is a major character death and it's one that I don't think I will ever forget. This scene replays in my head over and over.
What makes A QUIET PLACE so impactful is the real star of the movie -- the silence. It makes you question long after leaving the theater the noises you make. I now tip toe at my apartment because I think of this movie and imagine the chagrin of my downstairs neighbors when I stomp.
It's only April, but A QUIET PLACE will make my top 10 movies of the year. I did not expect to be walloped upside the head as hard as I did seeing this movie.
A QUIET PLACE is making a loud statement in Hollywood; it's already dominating at the box office and is a critic darling. The message is pretty clear: people want originality. A QUIET PLACE gives us this.