Film Review: A Quiet Place

John Krasinski’s horror A Quiet Place is a great example of a decent premise that is finely executed. The film is very entertaining.

In a post-apocolayptic world, a family struggles to survive. Monsters with super sensitive hearing have wiped out most of the population, and the family must not make a sound if they want to survive…

With minimal dialogue, A Quiet Place does not necessarily strike viewers as a typical horror. Yet all the hallmarks of the genre are here; the uneasy atmosphere, the affecting use of lighting, and of course the monsters. Most associated with comedy, director, co-writer and star John Krasinski shows he can do horror too.

The narrative is fairly simple. The film follows the fortune of a family trying to survive in a world where they cannot make a sound. Krasinski and co-writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck reveal little about what the creatures are, or how they came about. The film is better for keeping this mystery about the antagonists. 

A Quiet Place develops the protagonists enough that viewers will care about their fates. The film does test this with Evelyn’s condition, which stretches credulity for a family that want to survive. Some of the tactics are heavily signposted, yet the film is very successful in ramping up the tension. There are a number of aspects which increase the sense of apprehensiveness, from Evelyn’s state to the unhappiness of Regan. The film is well paced, building to an expected yet exciting climax.

Emily Blunt delivers a great performance, as ever. Krasinski is also good as the father trying to hold everything together. Wonderstruck‘s Millicent Simmonds shines as Regan. Special effects in the film are decent, but the film is much more effective when it strips back to rely on lighting, editing, and sound design.

In a spate of critically acclaimed horror films, A Quiet Place holds its own. Not perfect, but a lot of fun.

A Quiet Place is out on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD from 13th August 2018.

Film Review: Wonderstruck

Director Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck is whimsical and enchanting. The film is captivating at times.

Ben is a young boy living in the 1970s who wants to know who is father is. Rose is a girl in the 1920s obsessed with a silent movie star. Both Ben and Rose’s obsessions lead them to New York City…

Based on Brian Selznick’s novel, with a screenplay written by Selznick himself, Wonderstruck is a charming tale of friendship and discovery. The film focuses on two strands which eventually become entwined. Each of these strands are depicted in a distinct way.

The film blends mystery with drama, and a little bit of comedy. Haynes’ protagonists are children, and he positions viewers to see things through their eyes. There is a sense of wonder which is unshakeable. The astonishment at being in Manhattan will be familiar to anyone who has been to the city as a visitor.

Given that the protagonists are deaf, it is no surprise that there is not an abundance of dialogue. This does not hinder Haynes from conveying emotions, or nuance. The burgeoning friendship between Ben and Jamie is lovely to watch. Rose, meanwhile, comes into her own in the second half of the film.

Cinematography in the film is great. New York is beautifully photographed in both eras the film is set. Haynes draws a distinction between periods with the use of colour and black and white. This is further emphasised by Carter Burwell’s brilliant score, and the soundtrack overall. Performances in the film are great, especially from the young cast. Oakes Fegley, Millicent Simmonds and Jaden Michael are all great, and Julianne Moore is as reliable as ever.

Wonderstruck is an ode to curiosity. It is sometimes sentimental but ever so charming.

Wonderstruck is screening at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017.