How 'A Quiet Place' Forces Audiences To Really Listen!
Horror films convey tension through a series of tactics, but their use of sound might be the most powerful driving force in building suspense. While loud noises dominate many scares, silence can be an equally strong tool. The film A Quiet Place focuses on the absence of sound to deliver a world that will leave viewers holding their breath in tandem with the characters, and maybe even inspire some people to actually silence their cell phones (ahem)...
Set in 2020, A Quiet Place stars real-life partners John Krasinski and Emily Blunt as parents who must protect their children from creatures who rely on sound to hunt. Each movement that the characters make must be calculated, as they walk barefoot and communicate through American Sign Language and the occasional whisper. The high-stakes scenarios are contrasted with idyllic rural landscapes that offer both isolation and protection. There is a strong sense of humanity as the family struggles to maintain silence amidst the tasks of everyday life and the children’s desire to have fun.
The film’s lack of sound in most scenes creates a minimalistic environment. Dialogue is only used when necessary, which forces the narrative to be shown through action rather than simply discussed outright. This leaves the storyline with a balance of mystery and careful information that allows the audience to come to conclusions on their own. It emphasizes all of the ways thoughts can be expressed outside of language, and shows how resourceful people become in survival situations. Although much of the film comes with a score, the overall silence is immersive. It feels as if making a noise in the theatre could actually change the events in the film.
Krasinski also took on the role of director and rewrote the original script by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, which was based on a story the pair had written previously. Beck and Woods had watched several silent films in college, which became the inspiration for the beasts that terrorize the planet. The creatures are dark and unique, boasting an impressive anatomy. Unlike films where the reveal of the monster dissipates the fear, these beings maintain their eerie nature throughout the entirety of the feature.
A Quiet Place is a promising example of what can be achieved in an often underrated and overlooked genre. The cast does well in executing the emotions of a real family, promoting realistic bonds and feelings of guilt, fear, and unwavering love. The film is now out in theatres, but be mindful, because as the tagline goes, “If they hear you, they hunt you.”
(Image via Paramount PIctures)
- Melissa Breccia, YH Contributing Writer