Mr. Movie

Mr. Movie review: ‘A Quiet Place’ lets the tension do the talking

Emily Blunt playing Evelyn Abbott and Millicent Simmonds playing Regan Abbott live in a world where the slightest sound can mean death. “A Quiet Place” is a movie filled with tension, on par with “Alien.”
Emily Blunt playing Evelyn Abbott and Millicent Simmonds playing Regan Abbott live in a world where the slightest sound can mean death. “A Quiet Place” is a movie filled with tension, on par with “Alien.” AP

‘A Quiet Place’

The silence of “A Quiet Place” is terrifying. Here’s why: Movies are fairly noisy. It’s part of the experience I guess. Some films overdo sound to the point that the background music and sound effects drown out the dialogue. At times films are so loud it is uncomfortable.

Once in a while, someone does one that is quiet. Really quiet. Or to be a bit more specific, it’s when the sound of the popcorn you’re chewing is louder than what’s happening on the screen.

That style of film making leads to a different kind of discomfort.

“A Quiet Place” — at least early on — has that kind of quiet about it. There’s a good reason. Sound can kill you in the dystopian world of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s Lee and Evelyn. Drop an object or step on a twig, and lightning fast monsters appear in a flash. A bloody, horrific death follows.

The creatures can’t see, but their sense of hearing rivals a dog’s sense of smell. It’s thousands of times better than ours.

So death lives just a small sound away. That makes the world of Lee and Evelyn, and of their kids, one of total silence. All conversation is done in sign language. Paths in and out of their safe-haven farm are lined with sand. Lee, Evelyn and their two children walk everywhere barefoot.

“A Quiet Place” has one of those great scripts that gives actors a chance to show off their non-verbal skills. There is very little dialogue, and what dialogue there is comes in whispers. While it sounds like a walk in the park, most actors struggle with a skill most of us assume is easy.

It is not.

Krasinski and Blunt — who are uncommonly good actors — pull it off. Terror, anger, pain and all discussion is done with facial expression and the use of hands, arms and other forms of body language.

Blunt is a Golden Globe winner for “Gideon’s Daughter” and nominee for “The Girl on the Train” and “The Young Victoria,” so we already know she can do drama. She’s on pitch here and — I won’t go deeper because I don’t want to spoil the experience — her best scene is a terrifying few minutes in a bathtub.

It’s also the most intense scene in a movie full of them.

Krasinski is best known for comedy and his role in TV’s “The Office” and for light dramatic parts. “A Quiet Place” gives him a chance to stretch and demonstrates that Krasinski also has serious dramatic chops.

So do Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds who play their kids.

The acting is amazing but the real star of “A Quiet Place” is Krasinski the director. “A Quiet Place” is hold-your-breath intense. Krasinski — who co-wrote this with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck — has put together a movie that rivals Ridley Scott’s original Alien for pure, unadulterated terror. How good is Krasinski? You’ll find yourself gripping the arm rest of your seat so hard your hands hurt.

Nail-biting follows.

I’m comparing the tension to Scott’s film, but many of you will find the story similar to M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs.” However you choose to define the story, as the credits roll at the end of “A Quiet Place,” you’re drained, done in, and in desperate need of your own quiet place.

Horror doesn’t get any better than that.

Movie name

Director: John Krasinski

Stars: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck.

Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars

Rated PG-13 for violence and mature themes. It’s playing at the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco and Queensgate 12s, the AMC Kennewick 12, at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.