“A Quiet Place” presents a new kind of horror movie

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures
“A Quiet Place” was released in American theaters on April 6 and was met with critical success.

Hope Schreiner

Directed by and starring well-known comedic actor John Krasinski, “A Quiet Place” is unlike any other horror movie. In a post-apocalyptic world where terrifying creatures hunt by sound, a family must survive by living in silence.

This film wastes no time immersing viewers in how horrifying this world truly is. It kicks off with several tense scenes, and the tension doesn’t ease up until the credits start rolling. Just when you think you can relax, it hits you hard once again.

The idea and overall concept for this film is particularly unique. This leads to a different kind of post-apocalyptic world that doesn’t feel cliché or overdone. Typically in monster movies, a fair amount of the tension is relieved after the physical reveal of the creature, but this film puts a fresh spin on this by placing the focus of the tension on the family’s constant sense of danger and the fact that nowhere is truly safe.

The lighting in this film is oddly beautiful. Most horror movies capitalize and feed off of darkness or the lack of daylight, but allowing a few of the frightening scenes to occur during broad daylight enhances the fact that even light can’t save you from the darkness of this world. When something lighthearted or happy does occur, it is immediately ripped away by more terror and tragedy.

The use of silence in this film is profoundly intriguing. While attention to sound has always been prevalent in horror movies, this film capitalizes off of it even more. Because of the lack of verbal dialogue, the actors are forced to convey emotion and tell their character’s story through facial expressions and body language. Each character feels unique and has a realistic amount of psychological depth.

Along with that, the lack of dialogue or music throughout forces viewers to tune their ears and listen closer and with a heightened intensity beyond everyday hearing. Even the smallest of sounds is amplified, creating a tense and edgy movie theatre atmosphere in which merely breathing is viewed as too loud.

The male-female, father-mother dynamic is portrayed remarkably well. While Lee Abbott (the father, played by Krasinski) does appear to be the man of the house, his wife Evelyn (played by Krasinski’s real-life wife, Emily Blunt) holds her own as a strong and diligent provider for her family. They clearly have a love for each other that is deeply rooted beyond their circumstance, and they value each other as equals.

As it progresses, this film becomes less about the monsters and more about family and what extremes one would go to in order to protect the ones they love. There is a tremendous weight of sorrow and loss that is carried throughout the film, which is different from the typical horror movie. While there are plenty of jump scares to go around, they don’t detract from the quality of the story.

There aren’t many horror movies that pay such close attention to story, emotion and character development, so “A Quiet Place” is certainly making a statement by incorporating these elements into the genre. While the conflict isn’t fully resolved in the end, there is progression and some semblance of a solution in the near future. With stellar acting, consistent tension and a unique premise, this film will surely go down as one of the best horror movies of all time.