This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Arthur D. Schupbach’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Fantastic critical reviews, an interesting premise, and Emily Blunt. I went into this convinced I'd love it, and find in it a horror classic. Alas, Krasinski is a mediocre director and this movie goes down like a can of soda: initially refreshing, but it's the same exact thing until the last drop, and full of high fructose corn syrup and nothing actually nutritious.
There isn't much going on here, nothing deep, groundbreaking, or revolutionary. Silence for the sake of silence, cashed in during a handful of cheap jump scares. The audio is so low at points and so high at others it's frustrating, not engaging. I can see how some might think this is something truly unique and it deserves praise, but I found it a distraction. In terms of content, we get a mediocre monster movie that holds an often-repeated, familiar theme about patriarchal love and a nuclear family and its dynamics. It has nothing new to offer in either department.
I find the movie's internal logic contrived. Over a year of surviving in this soundless post-apocalypse and they couldn't figure out the value of a soundproofed dwelling until way down the line. Perhaps dedicate yourself to traveling to a waterfall, or underground facility? No explanation is given as to why the family picks a rickety old farmhouse and fails to maintain it, nor are we let in on why they decided to grow one of the noisiest foodstuffs, corn. In a world in which communication is limited, why not explore the impact of being unable to convey one's self, instead of gluing over that issue with sign language? How about the impact on society at large? Social dynamics and norms? Questions over mental states, growing up, trauma from the constant threat of death, etc. So many interesting questions and potentials brazenly ignored by a script obsessed with shooting for the ground and not the stars.
But let's get into the cochlear implant. This is perhaps the most in-your-face way to stress a theme, the literal incarnation of daddy's unconditional, protective love turned into a randomly activated shield to ward off the monsters, and later, weapon to defeat them. Perhaps, instead of making it a fluke, develop it so salvation feels earned instead of coming from a lucky break? This plot device culminates in a braindead ending that pisses away the menace and atmosphere in a hokey gun cock.
Let's not get into the absurdity of the everything surrounding the pregnancy, though. How the hell did the act of giving birth happen in a blink of an eye? By the way, have they ever heard of a pacifier? Why is this family of doomsday prepper-esque folks so fucking unprepared?
Too much of the story hinges on the daughter's gross dereliction of duty. I get it, she's moody. While none of the family threads feel authentic in the movie, I'm stunned at how much goes wrong solely because the daughter doesn't listen, despite the permanent imminent threat of a fuckup meaning a bloody demise. The idea of a family member abandoning a pregnant mother in a situation like this is too much of a stretch, and I don't find it believable that a daughter would throw a hissy fit about daddy not loving her literally minutes after a near-brush with death. Are the sound-hunting murder monsters really that normal to them, that the characters treat their presence more like an annoyance at times? It creates an uneven level of menace.
Anyway, Emily Blunt was great and her solo moments are among the movie's best. It had decent atmosphere and some interesting ideas. There's just not much going on beyond the premise and the paper thin theme of parenthood, specifically, fatherhood. Go play The Last of Us or something.