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Make no sound

With exceptional sound design and outstanding performances, director John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place packs a gut-wrenching punch.

Noman Ansari |

For a small film made on a paltry budget of around 20 million dollars, A Quiet Place packs a surprisingly big, sometimes gut-wrenching punch. Well written, wonderfully acted, skillfully directed and boasting an awesome sound design, this post-apocalyptic horror film reminds me — at least in terms of narrative — of M Night Shyamalan in his heyday, you know, before the Signs (2002) director became known as a one-twist pony.

One of the most interesting things about A Quiet Place is that it is directed and co-written by The Office star John Krasinski, who has made a career out of a series of comedic everyman roles. After the third instance where the film literally left me gripping my cushy cinema seat in anxious fright and suspense, I thought to myself, “Jim Halpert, I didn’t know you had it in you.”

Set in 2020, A Quiet Place takes place on the farmland outskirts of an American city. Almost all of the world’s population has been brutally killed by nearly invulnerable creatures that look like a cross between monsters from the video game Silent Hill and Xenomorphs from the Alien movies.

These beings are almost impossible to kill because of a tough armour-like skin, the ability to move faster than any predator and an attraction to sound so intense that any living creature more audible than a whisper is as good as dead.

This unique ability to hear is what sets them apart from most scary beasts in the genre. Thanks to extraordinary sound editing that will make A Quiet Place a guaranteed favourite of audiophiles once the film hits home release, the scare flick delivers one nerve-wracking sequence after another. John Krasinski certainly utilises this sound gimmick in innovative ways, building up stress with some clever foreshadowing, including a rusty nail from hell.


A Quiet Place
Left to right: Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds in A QUIET PLACE, from Paramount Pictures.


Whether the creatures are aliens or simply military experiments gone wrong, the film doesn’t say, because their details aren’t the focus of the story. Instead, the spotlight is on a closely knit family named the Abbotts, who are a handful of the last surviving humans.

These are Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt), a doctor and the pregnant wife of Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) who is an engineer, as well as their young children Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward).

When traveling into town to look for supplies or living at their farmhouse, the Abbotts have learned to survive in this world by watching out for each other and by staying tight-lipped, even when eating, drinking, playing games, laughing, crying, grieving or expressing anger.

As I said, the acting is exceptional, and really adds value to the touching family dynamics. In particular, John Krasinski stands out as a father who will do anything to protect his family; his everyman persona allowing us to identify with his character.

On the other end is the fantastic Millicent Simmonds, who is a deaf teenage actress playing the role of a deaf teenage girl weighed down by the guilt of a terrible deed that has strained her relationship with her parents.

Then there is Emily Blunt, who is incredibly convincing as a resourceful mother whose pregnancy is — let’s face it — in a world where loud sounds are a death sentence, a ticking time bomb.