Enjoy the silence: 'A Quiet Place' is a powerful, terrifying experience

Emily Blunt plays Evelyn Abbott in A QUIET PLACE, from Paramount Pictures. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

A Quiet Place
4 out of 5 Stars
John Krasinski
Writers: John Krasinski, Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds
Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller
Rated: PG-13 for terror and some bloody images

Synopsis: A family is stalked by a group of blind monsters with particularly acute hearing.

Review: SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KUTV) - Genre film is alive and well at Paramount Pictures! Earlier this year they released the excellent sci-fi thriller “Annihilation” and now they’re offering “A Quiet Place,” an inventive horror film with sci-fi elements that feels refreshingly new.

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The inhabitants of the world have been savagely killed by creatures that track their prey through sound. Holed up on a farm, a family of survivors have learned to exist in almost absolute silence. They communicate primarily using sign language, a skill they had already learned due to their daughter being deaf. Still, the family lives in constant fear as the smallest of noises could alert the creatures to their whereabouts.

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There is very little audible dialogue in “A Quiet Place,” but the film is anything but silent as it features one of the best sound mixes that I’ve ever experienced. From the clicking of the aliens’ echolocation to bare feet touching down softly on a safe path made on sand, every sound is carefully placed and helps to create an immersive world. Marco Beltrami’s minimalistic score adds an atmosphere to the proceedings, but never overwhelms it.

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Much like “10 Cloverfield Lane,” “A Quiet Place” relies heavily upon the talents of its cast and the intelligence of its screenplay. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are quite good as the parents. There’s a particularly effective scene that finds the couple slow dancing to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” It’s a magical, magnetic piece of cinema that is filled with unexpected hope; an oasis in the bleakness of dystopia.

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Noah Jupe is also quite good as the couple’s young son, but the real star here is Millicent Simmonds (“Wonderstruck”) who stars as the deaf daughter. Simmonds, who is deaf, gives a tremendous performance as a young teen who is filled with conflict, guilt and sadness. The character’s best attribute, a kindhearted innocence, proves to be an Achilles' heel that makes her and those she loves more vulnerable to the physical terror that surrounds them. She’s a child without a recognizable future. Simmonds gives the film its heart.

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“A Quiet Place” works primarily because it is about people, rather than the monsters, who are terrifying, that stalk them. It explores the complicated relationships between parents and their children while also being an enjoyable creature feature.

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Some might balk at the PG-13 rating, believing that a horror film needs to be rated R to be effective. “A Quiet Place” doesn’t feel the least bit censored and the splashes of gore are plenty to convey the sense of danger. Sometimes restraint makes what isn’t shown more horrific than it would have been if it was caught on camera.

Be ready to hold your breath for 80 minutes. The exhale that comes right before the credits is an adrenaline rush.

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