Movie Review | A Quiet Place
Movie summary: In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing. (IMDb)
Horror movies have never really been my favourite genre, primarily because it feels like the massive majority of them require their characters to behave like complete idiots for the story to progress and bring out the scares.
Too often, there are extremely promising premises set up that are completely ruined by what we see over the course of the movie, or a plot point will come along that could've stopped everything and resolved the situation in an instant.
Unfortunately, A Quiet Place was one of those movies for me - there are multiple occasions when I wondered about the intelligence level of the characters on-screen. Not just for the actions they take over the course of the movie, but how they even survived long enough for there to be a movie at all.
Honestly, the opening scene of the film ends with a child dying thanks to behaviour that should've seen them killed for earlier than when we met them. How they act despite surviving in a world they've been living in for a while now made what happens to them feel stupid, not scary.
And that continues for the rest of the film, with Emily Blunt's character, Evelyn, heavily pregnant being a potentially-great set-up, but another one of those things that falls apart when you think about it. Did she and her husband, Lee (John Krasinski, who also directed the movie), engage in a little bit of kink and gag each other before having sex?
Or did they build a special sound-proof room to have sex in? There has to be some answer to it because of the monsters in this film and their ultra-sensitive hearing. This couple, after the death of one child, decide to risk the lives of their other son and daughter so they can make another baby.
It's one of those stories that feels like someone thought of a great scenario for a horror film, but didn't think through how the characters would actually get to that point. And that thought process appears to be consistent with the characters.
Repeatedly, they do things so dumb that you genuinely wonder how they survived as long as they have. The worst point is when a nail in the stairs gets tugged into an upright position, perfectly set up to be stepped on, which it inevitably does, later on.
Evelyn is responsible for this, dragging a laundry bag up from the basement into the house, but despite having lived in a world where you'd think sharp things would be inspected and removed or taken care of to prevent accidental injury, she doesn't check what the bag got caught on and simply goes about her business.
I really couldn't believe that when I saw it - if I catch anything on any surface in my home, I immediately check what it is to make sure it doesn't happen again if I can help it. So why doesn't she just do a quick check to see what it was and make sure it's not something that could hurt her family?
You can't even pass it off as her not being that intelligent, because she does show some very resourceful quick thinking later on. It's just that typical poor horror movie writing of making the characters dumb enough where needed to set up 'scary' scenes.
The same is true of other characters - I don't want to spoil things for those intending to see it, but it does get frustrating to see characters who are intelligent most of the time exhibit horror movie decision-making because the movie wouldn't work if they consistently acted intelligently.
It's a shame because the premise is so good, with monsters that hunt via super-hearing, but even the back-story to A Quiet Place doesn't hold up. Once you've seen the film and how things end, you might think it's quite clever until you wonder how no-one even accidentally managed to do it when the creatures first showed up.
I'll admit the creature design is fantastic though, and how they've been designed is almost the best thing about the film. They've got a pretty unique look, especially their heads, but they leave me wishing they were in a better film, with the humans letting things down.
The real star of the show is the sound design though, with moments of absolute silence enough to enhance the tension on its own, with the occasional jump scare perfectly executed to catch the audience off-guard. If this movie doesn't get awards by the bucket-load for its sound, I'll be very surprised.
A Quiet Place squanders an interesting premise with people who are shown as being intelligent, but prone to making the typical blunders you'd expect from every third-rate horror movie cast. The excellent monster and sound editing can't make up for the fact that I didn't care who survived when the climax came around, due to their frustrating moments of utter idiocy.