A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place ★★★★

Horror, perhaps more than other film genres, has been doing some interesting things with disabilities. There is Hush, which is a cool home invasion thriller where the protagonist is deaf. And, uh, what was that one from a few years back where a group of teens decided to steal from a blind man? I'm totally blanking. Anywho, A Quiet Place may just be the best one yet.

In the future a plague descends upon mankind. Are they aliens? A gift of evolution? Angels of death? Who knows. But they're slightly larger than humans, with spinly legs that have spidery angles, and a head reminiscent of Venom. They are bringers of pain and will kill indescriminately. They can't see, but damn do they hone in on noise.

The story focuses on a family trying to survive. There are other survivors, but as with most apocalyptic films most of humanity has been eradicated. This family has a bit of a leg up: Their daughter is deaf. Knowing sign language means that voices are a non-issue (more or less), but there's still random living noises to worry about.

The kids, the aforementioned daughter, as well as a son, are the driving sources of emotional engagement with the film. I'm not usually a fan of using children to spark the viewer's evolutionary instincts to worry about kids, but I really like these kids. I'm not even sure why, other than the parents aren't particularly well developed (perhaps because they almost never talk), but the kids feel pretty genuine. I identified with the guilt that the daughter engages in, as well as her belief that her parents blame her for their problems. Meanwhile, the son has a true terror towards the creatures--something that comes through with some wonderful facial expressions.

It's a film with good tensions and a good narrative arc. A few plot decisions didn't make sense to me. The primary one has to do with a nail in the basement stairs. Like, they're walking around barefoot all the time because of noise, so any nail undone enough to snag should have been removed at the outset. That goes double because they have specific places to walk--probably less noisy steps--painted on the steps. And this nail was right in the middle of one of the painted areas. Like, I just could never suspend my disbelief that this nail could have been ever been allowed to reach a point where it's a problem.

And I have to admit that I felt exceptionally stressed out by the whole pregnancy/"here's how we soundproof the baby" thing. Holy shit. Granted, my solution would be "don't have babies" because babies are not quiet things, but even so there has to be something better than... that.

Not minor points, really, but A Quiet Place does enough right to eclipse those mistakes. And a HUGE kudos to them for hiring a deaf actor to play the deaf daughter. Good shit.

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