This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Kyle O’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Yes, a PG-13 rated horror film can indeed work! Shocking! Probably because this film, surprisingly a fine directorial work from one John Krasinski, was conceived from the ground up as one, rather than being an originally-R film that was edited in post into a weak PG-13 film.
This could've been any garden variety alien invasion film. We've seen enough of those? No, actually. Krasinski brings something new to the table with his execution... The film, like its title implies, is near-silent. Long stretches of the film are wordless, sign language is used frequently. Because it's so, ahem, quiet, whenever it really gets going, it's absolutely thrilling.
The story explores a family trying to stay alive, and the rocky relationship between a father and his deaf daughter, who is thankfully played by a deaf actress. The father might've been endlessly working on technology to help his daughter, but also undermined her in many ways, to the point where she has had it. Score one for the writers and Krasinski, for she turns out to have the answer.
The aliens are vision-impaired, but have heightened hearing, a unique twist. Design-wise, they were an amalgamation of the post-CLOVERFIELD bony armed-bodies with a slight dash of ALIEN, with Venom-esque mouths. Ramping up the tension is the fact that the mother is pregnant, making things all the more nerve-wracking. Having a film based on the characters not making a single noise really elevates what could've been just another survival horror film with menacing aliens. Also, it succeeds because it doesn't needlessly hide what the threat is. In the effective opening ten minutes, we see what it is that the family is trying to avoid. Movies don't have to imitate JJ Abrams' mystery box approach.
And of course, you'll probably hear about how this "isn't a horror film" and how it's a "this" kinda film or whatever... because ya know, horror films can never be "great" or thought-provoking or... Just art in general. Enough of that. Here's a horror film with sci-fi and family drama elements that challenges ableism and does something cool with the alien invasion template.