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Review: Staying silent to survive in A Quiet Place

PUBLISHED: 17:21 05 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:21 05 April 2018

Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott and Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott in A Quiet Place. Photo: Paramount/Jonny Cournoyer

Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott and Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott in A Quiet Place. Photo: Paramount/Jonny Cournoyer

Archant

This bold almost silent sci-fi horror thriller taps into a rich vein of parental anxiety with Emily Blunt and John Krasinski as parents of a deaf daughter battling against sightless otherworldly creatures that hunt by sound.

John Krasinski as Lee Abbott and Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott in A Quiet Place. Photo: Paramount/Jonny CournoyerJohn Krasinski as Lee Abbott and Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott in A Quiet Place. Photo: Paramount/Jonny Cournoyer

A Quiet Place (15)

****

Succesful movies (and good ones) generally rely on a concept that is simple but compelling. But coming up with the great concept is only half the struggle – the really important bit is knowing the very best way to exploit it.

Writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck’s killer idea was a scary movie where if you make any loud noise you will die. It’s not in itself that original. Their gimmick is expanding the range.

Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott and John Krasinski as Lee Abbott in A Quiet Place. Photo: Paramount/Jonny CournoyerEmily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott and John Krasinski as Lee Abbott in A Quiet Place. Photo: Paramount/Jonny Cournoyer

We begin two-plus months after an alien invasion where the planet is overrun by blind creatures with very acute hearing.

So far so good, but the clever part is choosing for your protagonists a family unit with a deaf daughter (Millicent Simmonds) which means that they are all adept at signing and can move around in virtual silence.

And the really really clever, if rather twisted, thing is making the mother (Emily Blunt) heavily pregnant and just a few weeks away from bringing a bawling bundle of discontent into this silent world.

A Quiet Place can’t really be faulted. It delivers its premise seriously, but it is still lots of squeamish fun. You really care about this family but still thoroughly enjoy watching being put through the wringer.

Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott in A Quiet Place. Photo: Paramount/Jonny CournoyerEmily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott in A Quiet Place. Photo: Paramount/Jonny Cournoyer

It’s odd that this should be coming out the same week as Ghost Stories. Watching that I consistently resented all the scares and tension, the contrivances that went into them. In this though they are all gleefully entertaining. Maybe because there is an element of bedroom farce to it, everybody tiptoeing around desperately trying to not to make a noise and be discovered, even when they are in absolute agony.

Acting opposite his wife and mother of his children, John Krasinski’s third directorial project taps into a rich vein of parental anxiety. The power of the bond with your offspring and the terror that can lead to is skillfully, even touchingly, exploited.

It’s a bold film in being almost silent, and for largely ignoring the received wisdom that monsters should be hidden as much as possible

Perhaps the film’s greatest pleasure is its ability to take you back to the time when M. Night Shyamalan made good films. It plays almost like a remake of Signs and has the intelligence, invention and daring that Emnight displayed in his early.

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