The best part about thriller movies is the chill you get leaving the theater. If you aren’t scared of the dark once the credits roll, the horror wasn’t real enough and the movie was a cheap scare.
As rule of thumb, horror genres rely solely on isolating the characters both physically and emotionally, but what if this necessity for quiet and quick-thinking must all be done in silence? No screaming, no crying, no gunshots, no sudden movements.
Director and actor John Krasinski executed this isolation perfectly. To survive in this world, everyone must be absolutely silent. From the first few scenes, we understand from minimal information that aliens have invaded Earth (not a new concept), but these aliens have super sensitive hearing to everything around them. Though blind, they attack on the slightest of sounds. The movie reveals what can be done and what can’t in the opening scenes. Footsteps, whispering and grunting are all considered too loud. As to the defense of the aliens, they’re bulletproof.
With all of this in mind, watching this family interact primarily through emotion, physical gestures, and especially sign language shows how those smart enough to understand the sound barrier may survive, and those who do not will die. Audience gasp in realization when they see the wife is pregnant. Though usually a celebrated moment for a family, this pregnancy is treated with absolute care? What do you associate with giving birth and babies?
These subtle cues to the audience tell a story beyond a good scare. The few things people want to do in a time of distress is express themselves. Kransinski and his co-stars Emily Hunt and child actors Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe perfectly capture the wide range of human emotion throughout this unspoken film. Throughout the movie, Kransinski notes the delicacy of communication and just how lost many would be without words, without sound.
These themes of horror make audiences reflect on their own lives. Humanity thrives on sound–talking, singing, music, dancing–not to mention all of our whirring and running technology that powers our everyday life. When we’re attacked by another, we yell, we fire our guns and we find protection through these actions. Kransinski poses this question: What would happen to humanity if we lost everything we’ve always known?
I’ve never been so enthralled by a thriller movie, perhaps because it’s so different from many others. Without dialogue, you have so questions wondering through your head, but Kransinski doesn’t fail to deliver. It’s ironic how Kransinski has scared his audiences more with the foreboding of the small things–a loose nail, a board game with dice, a pregnancy.
It doesn’t surprise me that “A Quiet Place” has ranked high with both percentage ratings and box office profits. It seems the whole world is watching and listening.