Eye of the Tiger

A Quiet Place amplifies psycho-thriller genre

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ADAM HAGEN

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Anticipating my college rejection letters was nothing compared to the mountain of tension that built up inside of me while I watched A Quiet Place.

This twisted take on the phrase “silent film” naturally relies on visual components to let the audience in on plot development.

Just a twitch in facial muscles, a bead of sweat, a quick pan to widened eyes, a footstep on the wrong creaky floor panel resulted in me probably feeling the same amount of anxiety that Emily Blunt was feeling.

Director John Krasinski rejects the stereotypical thriller/horror movie scene in which the protagonist sits down and conveniently discusses every in and out of the beast/monster/poltergeist and its origins with an all-knowing old lady.

Krasinski’s loyalty to this fundamental, yet often neglected aspect of filmmaking, that you must show and not tell is astounding.

In one of the most impressive sequences of the year so far, we discover solely through clever camera shots and sound design that the daughter of the family – played by wonderful young actress Millicent Simmonds – is deaf.

Despite Krasinski being the director, co-writer and a star of the movie, it’s Emily Blunt that really steals the show here. She handles the role of the matriarch with such warmth and resilience that one can’t help but fall in love with her.

We learn early on that she’s in the late stages of pregnancy, a huge obstacle that heightens tension as the family faces the laundry list of issues they already have. Nearly an hour into the excruciating silence, Blunt’s character reaches her wits’ end, releasing a shriek so desperate and raw that I felt it in my soul.

Amidst silence the bursting action scenes deliver. There isn’t a saturation of gore and guts, running through woods for 40 minutes while being chased or any of those elements that I find myself tiring of too quickly.

The scenes are filled with emotion, and shot with expert cinematography that amplifies it.

With the way that A Quiet Place experiments with the limits of human sanity, it is in the company of masterpiece thrillers old and new, with Black Swan and The Shining being the most comparable of the lot.

Through these compelling images Krasinski communicates everything we need to know: his film centers on a family who must remain silent to evade blind beasts who have ravaged society.

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