Here’s the thing with zombie like apocalypses. What happens to all the snorers?
From My Name is Legion to your basic Walking Dead – if you suffer sleep apnea or have half a bender (and when the world is effectively nuked, why wouldn’t you?) then how can you realistically expect to survive a night when sleep finally takes you? If they hear you chain-sawing, they’re gonna find you!
So straight away that’s an interesting twist on the twist that is the premise of A Quiet Place.
Specifically – what if the apocalypse you’re trying to survive hunts through sound and nothing else?
And by that we mean anything louder than a sneaky cheek squeak, and you’re toast. OH! Farting! That’s another one! Everybody does it. Eventually.
It’s an apocalypse…food is scarce… you’re down to your last can of beans and starving… it’s not an unrealistic scenario in a scenario that’s unrealistic (ish. We are still only 1 year into this presidency after all).
ANYway… A Quiet Place. Its set in generic country-town USA, and sometime after an unknown global catastrophe.
Although the time scale is hard to judge, as what has wiped out humanity in this case – you get the impression – was WAY swifter than your basic zombie attack.
So, for our leads – The Abbott family – finding viable supplies is not that much of a problem.
Stressing about other human survivors forcefully taking what’s theirs (something all writers automatically assume will happen when things go to shit) isn’t a worry either. Because what few pockets of humanity there are, give each other a LOT of space.
For when people congregate, they make noise. And as established above, noise is death.
In this case, fast and brutal death that will eviscerate you like a hangry landshark on steroids. To elaborate any more than that would be to miss the point.
For the joy of AQP is not in the minutiae of its premise (if you look hard enough there are holes, but when aren’t there in any concept film?) but in the preciseness of its execution.
It’s a brilliant and ridiculously simple idea that right from the start sets the tension to a certain level that does. Not. End. Because to be quiet is to hold your breath, and as an audience member, you find yourself doing this a lot.
It is tightly written, tightly directed and beautifully designed – especially audio wise. Which you would expect from a film that is about silence, but the way it is crafted here belies the experience of its director.
John Krasinski is no stranger to saying “action” on a film set, but in this case he had to write (well, more specifically re-write) a studio creature feature where he had to carry the Male Lead as well. PLUS direct his offscreen wife Emily Blunt into the bargain.
That’s a delicate balancing act, yet he has come away with a story that is smart, tense, and relentless; but doesn’t leave you exhausted.
Just in love with film, because this is a fantastic example how a neat sci fi premise, executed through a smart horror lens can cross over into a great movie-going experience.
Don’t Breathe was an impressive example of how silence can be a wonderful horror device. This is even better. And people who won’t like this film will do so for the wrong reasons. Everybody else will just “get it”.
Who knew Jim from The Office had it in him? I’d love to see if the guy from Chuck can do the same. Maybe he already has? You know – considering they’re the same guy…
– Antony Yee