In the world of impossibly loud children, A Quiet Place has sneakily topped our list of favourite horror movies. Directed by John Krasinski, who stars alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place is set in year 2020 and follows the Abbott family, who must live in complete silence lest they attract sightless, extraterrestrial creatures that hunt by sound.
Unlike most ‘loud’ horror movies, A Quiet Place heightens suspense and tension by bringing the sense of hearing (or lack thereof) to the foreground. The film has close to no dialogue – the family uses American Sign Language to communicate – and toggles through complex layers of sound engineering to build a wholly immersive movie-going experience that renders even the usual crunching of popcorn a glare-worthy offense.
“When I got the original script, we had just had our daughter three weeks before — our second daughter,” Krasinski said. “I was in that pretty terrifying phase of new parenthood. I was scared to keep her safe, scared to keep her alive, scared about whether or not I was a good enough person to be her father. And all these things are in this movie.”
In this post-apocalyptic landscape where silence is the key factor to survival, the odds are stacked against the family of five (they have two young sons and a daughter who is hearing-impaired). The family struggles to hang onto a sense of normalcy through the deadly silence – padding barefoot through town to get daily supplies, playing monopoly with cloth tokens, holding hands silently around the dinner table… But how is anyone expected to raise three kids in total silence, much less in a hostile environment where danger lurks at every turn?
“[A Quiet Place] felt very close to home for me, as being a mother of two young children, feeling like I’m worried about exposing them to this brutal world,” Blunt shared with Buzzfeed News. “It’s a fragile world we’re in anyway, and wanting only happiness for my children, and their health and happiness and their safety, it’s like, this mother and the way she operates was so — it was a no-brainer for me.”
Rooting itself deeply within the idea of ‘family’, the film manifests parents’ anxiety and the challenges of communicating with children going through different developmental stages, be it teaching the children to obey ground rules or trying to reason with a stubborn four-year-old. It speaks volumes of the lengths to which parents will go to protect their children from the horrors of the world – one where the consequences of minor mistakes are magnified into the deaths of loved ones – even though they are eventually rendered helpless.
As thought-provoking as it is chilling, the true brilliance of A Quiet Place lies in how it interweaves every mother and father’s worst fears and insecurities into the haunting realisation that even the best parenting efforts and plans may not be enough to keep your children safe – an unsettling feeling that all parents would’ve grappled with, even without bloodthirsty aliens in the picture.
A Quiet Place is in cinemas now.