Sunday, April 08, 2018

A Quiet Place is Worth the Sacrifice: A Film Review

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*there are spoilers here. It would be best to watch the film first, before reading this review.

Tagline: "If They Hear You, They Hunt You."

Director: John Krasinski.

Writers: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and John Krasinski.

Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe.

A Quiet Place is creating quite a storm at the box office. The film has already been slated to make over 50 million, in the film's opening weekend; that is no surprise. John Krasinski ("The Office") has crafted a horrifying sci-fi tale, along with writers: Bryan Woods (Nightlight, 2015) and Scott Beck. In this film landscape, creatures haunt the woods, attracted by sound. So, characters must use sign language just to survive. There is constant tension as the Abbott family experiences one tragedy or catastrophe after another. The constant catastrophes lead to one major character's death. This sacrifice is for the greater good and a myth that recurs in film, often. A Quiet Place is an entertaining and mostly silent watch, until the must-see explosive ending.

The film's central premise involves being quiet. Very much a creature feature, A Quiet Place hosts an army of strange monsters. They stalk the Abbott family. What is their origin? This question is never really answered. The origins are less important, compared to the threat. So, the Abbotts must use sign language, or whisper as the creatures haunt the farm's periphery. Any sound will bring on a confrontation. Thus, tension is held by the characters' need to remain silent.

This is the premise on which the story is built. Meanwhile, central character Lee (played by director Krasinski) is doing his best to help his family stay alive. His wife, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), is pregnant and soon to give birth. But, a screaming baby could be the death of everyone. The rest of the world is only shown through newspaper clippings. This stalk-and-prowl is not just occurring on this farm, but globally. With no solution from outside, Lee and the other family members must work together to stay silent. When there is an attack, they also must team-up to take on an almost invincible foe.

Much of the tension comes about through the need for quietness. In later scenes, the tension is maintained by how much goes wrong. For instance, Lee and his son Marcus (Noah Jupe) go on a fishing expedition. Back at the home, Evelyn opens up a wound, while going into labour. Can anything go right? Not really. Not much later, Evelyn is in a flooding room - with one of the monstrosities. It hides under water, while electrocution is just a moment or two away. There is really no resting point, in the film's second half. This creates much of the film's chilling tension.

This film fan has been looking for an excuse to mention this recurring trope, or myth for some time. In many films, you will see a central male character often make a sacrifice for the greater good of other characters. In Armageddon (1998), Stamper (Bruce Willis) faces nuclear annihilation, to save the world. That is one way to go out. In Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the T-800 sacrifices himself to molten metal, so that no one can utilize his advanced technology, especially Skynet. This male sacrifice myth goes back to another one, which is over 2000 years old. But, to avoid being too biblical, it is best to say that male sacrifice is a myth the occurs often in film. And, there are several reasons why.

A Quiet Place is receiving huge audiences in theatres, deservedly so. The film is a great blend of genres. While offering a great premise of constant quietness, A Quiet Place also delivers an interesting story of a family just trying to stay alive. Every dire circumstance only gets worse as the film progresses. One character's sacrifice is influenced by an older myth. And, everything that happens within A Quiet Place amplifies the tragic, but still hopeful ending. This is more than just a creature feature and should not to be missed by fans of horror or thrillers.

Overall: 8 out of 10.

At least fifty examples of characters sacrificing themselves for a greater purpose, in film, at Text Week:

The Common Occurrence of Male Sacrifice in Film


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