In “A Quiet Place” alien beasts descend upon the earth and kill anyone who makes a noise, which proves that one man’s horror movie is another man’s fantasy.
The entire world a quiet car?
Grisly death for cellphone gabbers, horn honkers, the drunken numskull who yells “Baba Booey” at golf tournaments. Where do I sign up?
I’d guess we’d all sneeze eventually, but those last few weeks would be heaven.
It’s hell though, for the folks in “A Quiet Place” — New England farmers (John Krasinski, Emily Blunt) who, on day 89 of the alien plague, are scavenging for food and medicine and useful items in a deserted rural town.
They’re literally tiptoeing about, wordlessly and fretfully watching over their children (the movie’s stated theme), but that proves to be more than they can manage, and the movie leaps forward roughly a year to find the family still quietly grieving, still quietly surviving.
Krasinski, who directed and co-wrote the movie, makes the most of the movie’s horror hook. It’s a fun filmmaking exercise — without the crux of dialogue and conventional exposition, he provides a stream of visual information that explains the situation and also contributes to the atmosphere of creeping dread.
The family walks barefoot on sandy pathways they’ve created to muffle noise. They’ve painted footsteps on the floorboards to avoid squeaks, and dad has created a string of signal lights — white for safe, red for danger.
He’s a bit of a tinkerer — he’s got a ham radio in the basement, listens for signs of life elsewhere, and works to devise a hearing aid for his hearing-impaired daughter (Millicent Simmonds).
Solar panels on the roof provide plenty of noiseless power, fresh farm-to-table food is served daily, and he has kids who aren’t allowed to talk.
What’s the downside again?
Oh, yeah, killer aliens.
On that subject, the movie is open to endless amount of nitpicking.
The aliens are attracted to sounds, and yet it hasn’t occurred to the farm family to do what they do for crows — tie some tin plates to a stake so they bang around when the wind blows. Wouldn’t you put your front-porch wind chimes in the woods, to keep the aliens running foolishly around?
And wouldn’t you put a tape deck playing Michael Bolton in the middle of a puddle of gasoline, which you could light when they showed up, thus killing two birds with one stone?
Also, this seems like a fairly crunchy family, so it’s possible they haven’t seen “Mars Attacks!” — one of Tim Burton’s more underappreciated movies — but surely somebody else on the planet is a fan and would know what to do with hearing-sensitive aliens.
Slim Whitman, anyone?
Still, Krasinski makes suspension of disbelief easy, and the movie mostly works — I can’t remember the last time I was in a movie theater so quiet.
‘A Quiet Place’
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe.
Rated: PG-13 Grade: B
Running time: 90 minutes