A QUIET PLACE (2018, John Krasinski)
A nerve-wracking theatrical experience, given that so much of the multiplex is filled with bombastic noise, and this thrives on silence for so long. Jump scares are heightened because of the added sensory deprivation, and the 90-minute runtime ensures that no time is wasted, as suspense builds and rarely lets up. Krasinski the director proves to be a clever craftsman (as an actor, he’s merely solid), using quick visual cues to set up the world and show evidence of a lot of things that happened off screen. But some of the unspoken traits raise more questions than they answer — why are they barefooted, when moccasins or soft slippers would be just as quiet and more protective? Why does nobody ever have to sneeze? Why not cover the loud hardwood floors with carpet or old clothes?
Unfortunately, as effective as the silence is, the film continuously undercuts it with a heavy dose of original score, draping almost every scene in needless instrumental music. Imagine how great the iPod dancing scene would have been if that were the only music in the movie? Also, Krasinski’s and Blunt’s fears of being unable to protect their children — the main theme of the movie and its reason for existing — come off like an argument for helicopter parenting; if not, at least it will encourage such behavior in those who emerge shaken from this experience. But those flaws aside, this is still a fiercely tense piece of entertainment: intelligent, jolting, and proving that original stories work when you go back to the basics of what make movies movies — off-screen space, on-screen reactions, composition, and, of course, audio.