Falling on deaf ears
A silent horror achieves pure tension – until they finally find the volume knob.
A QUIET PLACE directed by John Krasinski
AQuiet Place carries a strict imperative: do not talk. Do not make a sound. The instruction serves two
functions. First, as a guide to the film’s action. The family at the centre of this horror picture cannot utter a peep because the planet has been decimated by a swarm of mysterious, fast-moving aliens who cannot see or smell. They hunt by sound alone.
Second, it’s a command to the audience. For moviegoers, this is commonplace
– or at least should be. But in this case, it binds us to the film with a sense of apprehension, both of the coming frights and scares and the startling thought that we’re about to experience something truly audacious: a story told without spoken language, score, or effects – left only with diegetic noise and constantly bated breath.
Its first scenes artfully establish the heightened mood and paranoid tone. The family – composed of the film’s writerdirector John Krasinski, his real-life wife Emily Blunt, and three children – tiptoe to a nearby town for supplies. The venture ends in violence, after one of the kids plays with a noisy toy. No dialogue, no music, no screams. Pure tension.
Keep it down: Emily Blunt tries not to alert the aliens.