If you live in an out-of-the-way farmhouse, especially with small children, you might want to think twice before watching A Quiet Place– but the horror elements of the film aside, this piece stands out not only for its emphasis on the family – a ever-more rare breed, lawfully married husband and wife, along with their three children and all that. Well, I should say four, since the wife is expecting. But this is no Leave it to Beaver, for there is a tragic and yet endearing realism in their interactions. Emily Blunt and Jon Krasinski are a real-life married couple, and the children don’t look like typical Hollywood. They are, well, more normal-looking, and act so.
As said, the monsters in the film are presented as foreboding and horrifying – strange aliens from outer space, lurking in the shadows of the woods with super-sensitive hearing, with which they stalk and attack their prey (humans) with lightning speed and ferocity. But they are a backdrop to the deeper story of what does it mean to be a father, a mother? What sort of sacrifices will one make, or at least try to make, when push comes to shove, and the barbarians – in whatever guise – show up at the door? There is a subplot where the daughter does something inadvertently that leads to tragedy, and the father must work to forgive her – but he is still her Dad, and must love without compromise.
What there is of dialogue mostly fits well. What there is of talking, that is, for to survive, as the title suggests, they must keep very, very quiet, like Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny, but the film also keeps this from becoming a sort of joke, maintaining the seriousness of the situation, which could have toppled over into farce. There are some taut scenes – the one in the bathroom is particularly harrowing – even if things get a wee bit campy and formulaic towards the end – endings are always difficult in any story – they do work. Krasinski, who also directed, said he made the film as a ‘love letter to his children’, to show what a father must be prepared to do for those whom he must protect.
There is not much religion in the film – would it appeal beyond the homeschooling community if Jon and Emily, whose religious views I know not, had all knelt and recited the Rosary? – but he has more or less succeeded. If you can handle the more vivid scenes without nightmares, then recommended. There is much that is ‘Catholic’ therein.
The film was a surprise sleeper hit of 2018, and a sequel is on the way, with the explicitly atheist Cillian Murphy, with whom I take further issue. Besides his boring Irish atheism, which he adopted after playing a nuclear physicist in the 2007 bomb Sunshine, what was with his gratuitous nude walk-about in the opening scene of his 2002 dystopic apocalyptical film 28 Days Later, which I was watching a few years ago in mixed company? What’s wrong with these weirdos? Perhaps he will keep his clothes on this time round, as well as the innocence of the first film, but sequels have a habit of going awry. We will have to wait and see, I suppose.