This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
mosquitodragon’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
First. I'll confess I had a few negative preconceptions about this movie which had stopped me running out and seeing it at the height of all its hype. I was kind of irritated by Krasinski's use of the term "elevated horror" - don't be ashamed of making a genre film, and don't try to hold yourself up as something better than all that's gone before - know what I mean? Also, I sensed a bit of a stunt - everyone was going on so much about how ingenious it is to see how this family lives in complete silence, I worried that if that little trick didn't work on me, I'd just end up being bored.
Well, I'll give credit where it's due. There are one or two terrifically suspenseful scenes in this movie, at which point I was all in and ready to forgive all the above. And the creature is really fun (which kind of surprised me; given how "elevated" this movie was supposed to be, I thought maybe fun monsters would be out of the question).
But my preconceptions did still colour my experience and led to some issues. Basically, for a movie which sets out its stall as being all about its original and ingenious scenario, it was horribly inconsistent. I am more than happy to suspend disbelief for a creature feature, of course I am. But this movie just cheats and it got under my skin. It's just simple stuff, like, if these things can really hear you drop a plate in your house from, say, 500 metres away - are you telling me their hearing isn't good enough to hear you breathing or tip-toeing when they are about a metre away from you? And once they heard something, why would they ever leave the house? What predator doesn't have at least the intelligence to wait for its prey to move again? These guys create a soundproof room to be where they will keep the baby, but they don't live in it? And why would the creatures only have one working sense? OK, maybe it's only their hearing that is massively acute, but these things are blind and apparently with no sense of smell at all. And then we are supposed to believe that the government or military never thought to use sonic weaponry on something the film goes out of its way to show us they KNEW was hugely sensitive to sound.
I was trying to put all these things to one side, but then the final act comes along. There's really no need for John Krasinski to just shout to distract the creature. Couldn't he have thrown his axe at the metal tower or something? How does him getting slaughtered give his kids so much more time to escape? And surely, if you're thinking about your kids' survival, sacrificing yourself surely isn't really an acceptable outcome, I don't care how heroic and selfless you are. And that ending. Fuck, what a cop-out. Like we're supposed to believe they stand any chance at all now? So weak.
I can see why this movie got people's attention, and it's a bit of fun, don't get me wrong, but the hushed awe it seemed to invoke is honestly laughable. It is no better than a lot of trashy movies I love, and considerably inferior to many of them.