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Saturday, April 7, 2018


(Emily Blunt)

Silence has never been more terrifying in this riveting post-apocalyptic thriller. (Review by Patrick Compton – 9/10)

In this time of noisy Hollywood blockbusters, it’s a real pleasure to celebrate silence in John Krasinki’s suspenseful and unusual thriller (with a dash of horror), A Quiet Place.

The action takes place in the future after an unnamed apocalypse in the United States. Only small bands of humans survive in a blasted landscape also occupied by vicious predators (not dissimilar to those that populated Ridley Scott’s Alien series). The creatures are blind, but they have super-sensitive hearing that means, in effect, that if you sneeze you lose ... your life.

The traumatic pre-credit sequence introduces us to the Abbott family whose (mis)fortunes we follow. The parents, Lee and Evelyn (played by Krasinski and his real-life wife, Emily Blunt), have a son, the fearful Marcus (Noah Jupe), a hearing-impaired daughter, Regan (deaf actress Millicent Simmonds) and the youngest of them all, Beau (Cade Woodward).

After this sequence, we move forward a year and a massive hurdle beckons ... Evelyn is pregnant and the pressing concern is whether she can have a baby without anaesthetic and, even more important, without uttering any cries of pain and exertion.

Enough of the plot – which has plenty more length to run – but I can reveal that the movie ends on a brilliantly provocative note that should leave audiences thirsting for more.

The monsters could have been the main visual focus of the film, but Krasinski has cleverly presented them as barely discernable flashes of malevolence, almost figments of the family’s imagination. Even when they are in plain sight, he focuses on unexpected close-ups, detailing the creatures’ monstrous ears, orifices that enable them to detect sound from distance.

Underpinning the constant tension audiences will feel as the family tries to minimise the noise they make, are the relationships between them. Without giving anything away, Regan’s deafness – and her frequently malfunctioning hearing aid – are the keys to the movie and Simmonds’s brilliantly authentic performance is suitably impressive. In the main, communication is by sign language, but there are certain exceptions to this, resulting in feelings of both liberation and trauma.

The existential threat of the monsters is, of course, a major selling point, but so too are the nuanced relationships of the family members. Blunt is effective as the pregnant mother whose main focus is on protecting her family – including the developing foetus in her womb – while Simmonds is simply remarkable as her agonised daughter. For his part, Krasinski deserves massive plaudits, not only for his starring role as the father, but even more importantly for his script and superb direction. He is certainly a talent to follow.

It would be no exaggeration to say that A Quiet Place is the best and most unusual thriller that I am likely to see this year.

A Quiet Place opened in Durban on April 6 and is showing at Gateway, Pavilion, Suncoast and Musgrave. - Patrick Compton