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October 1, 2022

A Binge too Far #26 - A Quiet Place duo (2018 - 2020)

A frame from A Quiet Place (2018)



A Quiet Place (2018) poster

A Quiet Place


The tagline pretty much explains the plot here (the screenplay was written by John Krasinski [who also directed], Bryan Woods and Scott Beck [based upon the duo’s own story]). Set in a post-apocalypse world, where disgusting and big alien creatures have taken over, this is focusing on a family that tries its best to survive; meaning they try to remain quiet at all times (they employ the sign language in order to communicate with each other), because the monsters may be blind (an advantage to the few human survivors) but they have extra sensitive hearing abilities (a disadvantage to the few humans left alive) and will attack anything that makes the slightest sound.


Not a lot has been left that hasn’t been already said about this, which is essentially the cinematic sensation of the year, so I’ll keep it short and simple, in the tradition of this column. The project was originally developed as a Cloverfield (2008 – present) sequel, one that would be inspired by the many silent films the filmmakers are fans of, but somewhere along the road it was decided to make it as a standalone feature with no connection to that franchise. It was mostly filmed in November 2017 in New York, and a teaser was quickly released, albeit to not too many views. Then in March 2018 the film was premiered at the South by Southwest Festival to huge critical acclaim which worked as a domino effect and had everyone talking about this new original piece, resulting to several online hits and queries for further screenings. It went on general theatrical release and it grossed more than $334.5 million, which considering its $21 million budget is impressive to say the least and a sequel is already in the works (it is said that it will see the light of the night in 2020).


But is it as good as the word of mouth says it is? Yes, and more so! It is featuring the best sound design in the history of the medium, and it actually is the most original and intelligent horror film that we have seen in ages. Sure, it is awkward in the sense that all its set-pieces are long, so we do not get too many of them in its short 90 minutes running time (and some 7 minutes of that is the end credits, leaving us only with approximately 83 minutes of monster mayhem), and maybe the whole idea would be more appropriate for a longer film or as a matter of fact, an event TV series, but there are so many moments of great drama on display here that you should be forgiving with such small faults. The end result is not entertaining per say, and it should probably be mostly observed as a great work of art. But even if you are here for the monsters and the monsters alone, fear not, the ones here are both terrific and terrifying. The bottom line is that if you need to see only one horror film this year, this should be it.


A Quiet Place Part II (2020) promotional poster

A Quiet Place Part II


Follow Emmett (Cillian Murphy), Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt), and a fistful of kids under their protection, as they try to survive an alien invasion featuring big and gross creatures that cannot see you, but do instead have very sensitive hearing, not to mention a desire to eat you alive. For a chase film with overtones of horror (don’t look for too much character development in here), this is competent enough (the air of professionalism is top-notch in every department), but I prefer films that have something to say, and this does not.


For a film about monsters that attack when you make a sound, the sound design in particular is outstanding, especially when it changes its point of view (or is it point of hear?). Directed by John Krasinski, this dialogue-free for most of the time, which is its most original element, but its overall silence also boosts the jump scares when those happen and help them become more effective. The end result is very similar to television’s most successful zombie show, but this is not a bad thing. Made on a $61 million budget, this went on to gross $297.4 – an impressive amount, considering the Covid-19 pandemic factor – so it was natural that more of the same has already been announced.

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