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“A Quiet Place” Traps Audience in Peril

By Mason Masotta; For the Clock
On April 15, 2018

I couldn’t even take a drink. I am being completely serious. During one of the tensest scenes in the very first moments of John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place,” I attempted to carefully grab my drink out of the cup holder. It felt as if I was trying to disable an explosive device as the complete silence of the dark theater, made me afraid to make a sound. Needless to say, the slight jiggle of ice cubes caused me to be shushed to silence by an older lady ahead of me, causing me to bow my head in shame and sink into my seat. The stakes were at an all-time high, and the title card hadn’t even appeared yet.

Silence is one of this films greatest assets as the story follows a small family in a post-apocalyptic Earth where monsters hunt the surviving humans. The main gag and novelty of these creatures is that they can only track people based on sound. Whether it be as loud as a gunshot, or as quiet as a can rolling, the monsters will find and take you.  Audiences can really feel this same kind of tension and panic, especially in theaters, as close encounters similar to Ridley Scott’s “Alien” leave no room for error.

The real selling points of this film are in the wonderfully complex portrayals of the on-screen talent. With only a handful of actual spoken lines in the film, they manage to tell story only through emotion. Ranging from panic, relief, horror and salivation, the performances of the youngest cast members, Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) are a true credit to the horror genre as a whole.

Though a lack of noise is one of the film’s biggest feature, it is also accompanied by very artful uses of piano-driven scores. Building with harsh “plinks” of keys as tension builds, and simmering down with light and soothing moments, you’re forced to match your heartbeat with the pacing of the film. This is no extreme thrill ride of explosions or car chases, but an intense survival horror that highlights cinematography with limited dialogue and audio cues.

“A Quiet Place” is a must-see in theaters for any thriller fans. The experience is only improved for the better with a darkened theater trapped in a total void. Just as the film implies, it should be watched in “a quiet place.”

 

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