Thursday, April 11, 2019

Don't Make a Sound

A Quiet Place
Director: John Krasinski
Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millient Simmonds, Noah Jupe
Released: April 6, 2018

Oscar nominations:
Best Sound (lost to Bohemian Rhapsody)

I am going to review this movie the same way I reviewed Searching: first I will give a quick synopsis without spoilers, then I will dive into a more in-depth review that will include spoilers. Even though I found certain aspects of this film frustrating (which I will touch on in spoilers), I would recommend it.

The basic plot of A Quiet Place is that everyone has to be quiet because there are these monster/alien-type creatures that have very acute hearing (probably to compensate for their lack of eyesight) and if they hear any sound, they attack and kill. The aliens reminded me of something you would see in a season of Stranger Things, only this movie takes place a few years in the future (I believe it's 2021, so literally it's just a few years in the future!) It's a very suspenseful movie and it's clever how the family we are following (John Krasinski and Emily Blunt play the parents, Lee and Evelyn) have to adapt to living a silent life. They play Monopoly with felt pieces and roll the dice on the carpet, they never wear shoes, they use their hands instead of silverware when they eat, they listen to music through headphones, they have their yard outlined in lights that are usually white, but they can turn them red when there's an emergency. (I don't think it's a spoiler to say the lights will turn red!) In a way, they are lucky because their daughter (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf so the family already knows sign language and are able to communicate that way. However, I do question some of their soundproofing methods. For one thing, they have a whole bunch of framed photos hanging on the wall and if one of those drops, it's making a loud thud. Also (and I don't think this is considered a spoiler), Evelyn is pregnant and I'm thinking, Hmmm, is a baby what you really need right now? You live in a world where you're supposed to be quiet and you are adding something that cries and screams a lot? Yikes! They will have a solution to this problem which I will discuss in spoilers, so at least they do address it. I know what you're thinking: why would this be a problem when they already have children? Yes, that's true, but the three children they already have were all born before the aliens appeared. When we first meet the family, we are told it is "Day 89" and the youngest is four, making all the kids old enough to know what's going on and to not make any sounds. With a baby, you really can't tell it not to cry. 

This movie is on Hulu, so if you haven't seen it, go watch it, then come back and read the rest of the review because we are getting into spoiler territory now! 

Spoilers starts right now! 

So something pretty shocking happens within the first ten minutes of the movie. I'm not sure if you can count anything that happens so early in a movie a spoiler, but I thought I'd rather be safe than sorry. Maybe everyone already knew about this, but me, but I have to say I didn't see it coming at all and I was shocked! When we first see the family, they are all at an abandoned drug store getting supplies, including medication for their older son (Noah Jupe). The younger son, the four-year-old, wants a toy rocket, but his father tells him it's too noisy and takes out the batteries leaving both the batteries and the toy on the counter. In hindsight, his dad should have just taken out the batteries and let the kid have the toy, but I guess he thought it would still be too loud. The kids follow their parents out the door and the girl gives her brother the toy, indicating for him to keep it a secret. What she doesn't see is that the kid also grabs the batteries on his way out. I guess when I said that all the kids were old enough to know they need to be quiet at all times, that wasn't exactly true. I guess his parents didn't exactly put enough of the fear of God into him because, needless to say, he puts the batteries in the toy and it starts making loud noises. His parents are a bit further ahead of him and when they hear the noise, they just have a sheer look of horror over their faces. His father runs to try to save him, (even if he did catch him, I'm not sure what he could have done), but the alien is faster and just grabs him. It's very quick and you don't see anything, but they are setting the tone that these things mean business and being quiet is an essential part of survival. 

It's been a little over a year since the boy's death and Evelyn blames herself for not carrying her son home; the girl blames herself for giving the toy to her younger brother and she thinks that her dad blames her for her brother's death as well. The older son tells his father this when they are at a waterfall and are able to speak since the water is so loud that the aliens won't be able to hear them. 

Lee has been tinkering with his daughter's cochlear implant so she will be able to hear, which seems kind of ironic since they have to be quiet at all times, yet in a situation like this, it is important to be able to hear so you know if you have inadvertently made a sound or not. Whenever we get the POV of the daughter, it is completely quiet. When he tells her he has made adjustments to her hearing device, she angrily brushes him off, telling him it never works, so he just puts it in her hands. The daughter is angry because she wants to go with her father and brother as they leave to go fishing and gather supplies and she has to stay behind with her mother, but instead she sneaks out to her brother's memorial spot.

Of course on the day Lee is gone, Evelyn's water breaks. Before that, she had been doing the laundry in the basement and when she's lugging the bag of clothes upstairs, it gets caught on a loose nail which is pulled up, sharp side at the ready for a bare foot. The camera zooms in on the nail so we know it will come into play later. All I could think of was that scene from Home Alone; wonder if John Krasinski is a fan and paid homage to it, haha. When she does go into labor, she heads to the basement where that sharp nail is waiting for her bare foot. She has to clap her hand over her mouth to keep from screaming. I'm telling you right now that if that were me, I would not only scream, but also be screaming a list of curse words. This is by far the worst scene in the movie and made me cringe! And it's not any better when we see her dislodge her foot from the nail. :::shudder::: While she does keep from screaming, she puts her hand up on the wall and knocks down a frame that crashes to the ground which inevitably alerts one of the three confirmed aliens that live in their area. We see it pass by the basement door so this gives Evelyn a little bit of time to put on the red lights to alert her husband she's in trouble and to set an egg timer that will distract the alien when it goes off while she hides in the corner of the basement. This poor woman is in labor, a nail just went up her foot, AND she has a dangerous creature after her. I mean, what else could go wrong?

When the egg timer goes off, she is able to escape and goes to the upstairs bathroom where she gives birth in the tub. Lee, who sees the lights, tells his son to set off fireworks to distract the alien (and it is distracted in the nick of time as it is on its way up the stairs to where Evelyn is about to give birth and she's trying really hard not to scream!). Once the fireworks go off, she lets out a loud scream. Lee checks on his wife and newborn son. And wouldn't you know, the baby starts crying, which of course, attracts the alien back to the house. We see how they plan to keep the baby quiet by putting an oxygen mask on him and putting him in a wooden box with a lid.

Guess what? We find out these aliens do have a weakness. The girl, who is wearing the new cochlear implant that her dad gave her, is heading home and an alien comes up right behind her and her hearing aid starts emitting a high-pitched sound which makes the alien back away. I know the girl can't hear anything, but I am surprised she didn't feel the presence of this large creature which was literally only a few feet behind her. This will happen again when both kids are being attacked by one of the creatures and the hearing aid will scare it away. You think this would have have tipped off the girl, but nope, when the kids are once again being attacked by an alien, this time while they're in an abandoned truck (which reminded me of the scene from Jurassic Park), the girl takes off her implant because the sound is so painful. Their father sacrifices his life by screaming to attract the monster to him, but not before he tells his children he loves him.

I think that's what I found so frustrating about this movie; why didn't they know what the aliens' weaknesses were before it was too late? It's not until the very end of the movie, when Evelyn and the three kids are all down in the basement, when the girl finally discovers her hearing aid is the key and is able to keep the first alien at a distance while her mother shoots it. I do love the very last shot of the movie where they see on the TV monitors they have in the basement that the other two aliens are on their way to the house because of the sound of the gunshot and Emily Blunt cocks the gun, ready to kill the last two. 

No comments:

Post a Comment