My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A Quiet Place is in my top five favorite post-apocalyptic movies of all time, and because A Quiet Place: Part II heads to theaters at the end of May 2021, it seemed an excellent choice for my first movie review.
The world (as far as we know) has been invaded by ruthless, seemingly invincible monsters that hunt by sound. And these creatures are determined to kill us all.
But one family has survived the terror thus far. The movie opens to them silently taking supplies from an abandoned, rundown store in a small town—leaves and trash blow in through front doors that have been propped open, bags of chips hang untouched in big displays, and a toddler zooms around with bare feet that pitter patter ever so slightly on the linoleum.
Within the first ten minutes, this family experiences a tragedy that had me wanting to scream at the TV while simultaneously making me feel too scared to make a sound.
At the heart of this film, and what I believe is at the heart of all great post-apocalyptic works, is family. There’s something incredibly powerful about a group of people who care more for each other than for themselves in a world that begs them to do the opposite.
In A Quiet Place, every family member struggles with guilt due to their loss. Nobody more so than the parents. As a parent, I felt the burden of their guilt. Throughout the movie, you watch them fight for their kids, fight with their kids. All the while wondering if they could have done more to prevent what happened. As the mom says to the dad in a moment of desperation, “Who are we if we can’t protect them?” A tough question, one that is asked mostly silently throughout the movie. Self-doubt notwithstanding, this family consistently chooses life and even tries to find ways to grow when it would be easier to just give one good shout of rage to end the pain.
There’s a lot to love in the non-plot elements of this flick, too. Action, nail-biting suspense, and moving performances from every member of the small cast. Perhaps most impressive is the way sound is (and is not) utilized. The story is told with almost no audible dialogue, and we writers should take this as a challenge to use the neglected tools gathering dust at the bottom of our writing toolboxes. Indeed, silence becomes its own character in the film because its presence is so arresting, both terrifying and comforting all at once.
Creative filmmaking, great love, and badass beasties. What more could you ask for?