The Cambridge Geek

A Quiet Place

Finally got to this one. Fairly late in its cycle, but it did mean that the theatre was almost entirely empty, making it very quiet, perfect viewing conditions.

The film is set in a world in which humanity have been mostly wiped out, by a race of stalking monsters, referred to in-world as "dark angels". These fiends are attracted by sound, with loud noises sending them into a killing frenzy, unstoppable due to their armoured frames and scythelike arms.

The family about whom the film centres have learned to adapt to this new environment, with careful adjustments to their lives that eliminate any possible noise. Walls are padded, the routes along which they walk have all been coated in a layer of sand to muffle footsteps, and they communicate entirely by sign language.

They have a slight advantage in this, as the eldest daughter is deaf, so when the time came to stop speaking to each other, they already had a language in place to replace the audible one that would have got most people killed.

It's an excellent film. The lack of most sound is great for building tension, and the film also knows how to set up future disasters. You'll find yourself waiting for everything to go wrong, and even though you know how it's going to happen, the moment when it does is still powerful, and usually more than a bit painful. There are some nicely gory bits in this.

The horror is added to with the sound murdering monsters. They are mostly fairly basic in design, but their heads tend to be impressively creepy, and the sounds they make send a tingle up the spine. Though they were also a bit dinosaur-y. Parts of the film in general tend to remind me rather heavily of the first Jurassic Park, with the same hidden dangers and creeping around cornfields.

The family are a twisty mess of feelings and fears, but manage to survive due to being clever and practical, and having prepared a large amount of contingency plans for things going wrong. No-one in the film pulled a stupid move, so you'll be dragged into their adventures without that annoying moment of "nobody would actually do that". And the efforts they make to prepare for the soon to arrive birth showed an impressive level of forethought. I really believed they'd been living in this sound deadly world for a while.

It's one of the most tightly written things I've seen in a while. None of it feels wasteful, with every interaction adding to the hints of their character we can get with such minimal dialogue. The subtitles will probably annoy some, but telling the story mostly in sign language drops you into it quicker than most other tricks would.

Along with Jurassic Park, the other film it reminded me of the most was 10 Cloverfield Lane. It has mostly the same close environment, hidden enemy, and similar excitement spike. That was also good.

In general, probably one of the best films I've seen thus far this year. And apparently there's a sequel, which should be interesting. The Girl spent most of the film hiding behind her hands, suggesting she also enjoyed it.

Score 5

Tagged: Film Horror Evil aliens Fiction Cinema