I’m not sure why, but for some reason my kids really wanted to see A Quiet Place, a horror movie that’s recently been in theaters. Maybe other kids at school were talking about it, I don’t know. After researching the movie a little bit, my wife and I decided we’d go ahead and take them.
Actually, for kids, this is a pretty good horror movie–very little actual violence or gore and no cursing (not much talking at all, actually, as I’ll explain in a minute). Still, it was probably a little scarier than I would have wanted my kids, especially my daughter, to see. And yet, on balance, maybe it was worthwhile, because we discussed this movie a lot in the following days. It does a lot to raise interesting questions, always a sign of a good movie.
It follows the Abbott family, who live on a farm in upstate New York. Earth has been invaded by aliens, who are blind and hunt humans with their extremely sharp hearing. Any sound above a whisper can be deadly, bringing a ravenous insectoid alien leaping from out of the trees. The Abbotts, in a way, have an advantage, for their teenage daughter is deaf, and they are able to communicate with each other in sign language. They also have a son, maybe 11 or 12, and they used to have a young son, who got eaten in the first scene in the movie. Also the mother, Evelyn, is pregnant and almost due. I’m not real sure what the parents were thinking, getting pregnant under these circumstances, but it certainly makes for a lot of tension when Evelyn goes into labor.
I can’t remember the last movie I saw that was as quiet as this. Everybody in the movie is trying to be as silent as possible, and it spills over to the audience, which at our showing was absolutely hushed. Small sounds–a leaf crunching, a spoon falling–take on huge significance. Maybe some of M. Night Shyamalan’s movies had this sort of quiet intensity–and actually, this reminds me more than a little of his movie, Signs. But whereas I was disappointed with that movie’s ending, this movie had a twist at the end that was completely satisfying.
A Quiet Place (2018)
Story/Plot/Characters–Really top-notch acting, characters are believable and rounded, plot is perfectly executed. (4 points)
Special Effects— Not much of a special effects movie and the aliens themselves were nothing special. (1 point)
Scariness–My children were quite frightened in the theater! Not the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, but up there. (1.5 points)
Atmosphere/Freakiness–An isolated and lonely farmhouse in a beautiful but spare natural setting, absolutely separate from the rest of the world, with abandoned barns and tractors littering the nearby countryside: this was exactly what I’m looking for in a horror movie. (2 points)
Total=8.5 points (Excellent)