"If you make a movie on a high quality concept, half the battle is won"
"A Quite Place" is what I would call a film with a great concept. How do you narrate a compelling horror story with more than 90% of the film with no dialogue...
Set in a dystopian future against the backdrop of an alien invasion, AQP creates a world never seen before on celluloid. Most of the movies set against an alien attack will use a big canvas ie war planes, space battles, cities being destroyed, some gruesome creatures and much more. But AQP takes the opposite route, it centres this Man Vs. Alien duel on a small farm in rural town in the US. This is where writer/director/actor John Krasinski ( also husband of actress Emily Blunt)takes the big leap.
Krasinski and his co writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods create a world and put caveats and checklists for its characters in it to survive. Failing which they will perish.
AQP stars the Abbott family which has Lee, Marcus, Reagan and Evelyn. The family has survived this Alien apocalypse as it is fiercely disciplined about how they "manage" their lives. Unfortunately they lost their other son Beau to these spider like creatures as he makes the cardinal error of switching on her toy in the past. The Aliens who resemble giant spiders are actually blind and are very sensitive to "sound" of any kind. In short, if anybody shouts they are eaten alive by these creatures. Its this concept which brings out the emotions that run high in the Abbott family in a way the audience have rarely seen before. They use sign language, "whispers in a basement". Reagan is deaf and uses a cochlear implant to hear.The scene in which the Abbott family has dinner is particularly gripping. The most fascinating part of the film is that the family has created an ever evolving recipe for escaping these creatures.
Curated walkways with sands, red lights across the farm, various escape hatches and tonnes of other refuge and repel tools are used in the film. Come to think of all this, you would feel that the Abbots are a common folk and would be defensive after all these things around them....But Hey! its quite the opposite, Evelyn is almost 9 months pregnant. Isn't this weird and bold at the same time. This too my mind is the Hitchcockian move in the film. When life is under threat every minute of the day, you pave the way for more life to enter.
To have a troubleshooting guide on how to survive in a world which thrives itself on being silent was a challenge which the writers meet with aplomb. A house which has only open doors, spick and span hallways, a survival kit for a new born baby, red lights across the farm, a grain tank and so much more. These distinct characteristics essentially builds the films central characters in stature. Reagan who plays a deaf girl and ultimately holds the cure for defeating and battling these creatures is put very intelligently in the film. Above all one can see the tenacity and resilience of the Abbott family.
Politics Behind A Quiet Place
AQP makes a compelling case for a film about "hope in chaotic times". Director Krasinski told in a recent interview that " AQP is a film like the politics of our current times ie .either you hide yourself under the sand or you get involved in the process to make changes". This clearly is a jibe aimed at The Trump administration.
In addition to the above and Trump's crackdown on refugees and illegal immigrants who are essentially people with no voice is at the centre of the film. AQP highlights characters who don't have a voice but even then they develop capabilities to fight the evil which lurks in their own world. The fact that the story takes place in rural America, it clearly shows that it is small town America which will initiate the change. These facts don't have a direct influence on the story line but it will be safe to assume that the writers drew inspiration from these circumstances.
The writers also create a unique world where the proletarians of sorts hold power for humanity to survive. This underdog centric strategy is all over the film.
Hitchcock influence in AQP
The writers of AQP believe in Alfred Hitchcock's theory that "the films audience should sit on a chair without knowing that there is a time bomb ticking underneath and it may explode any minute". This technique is used when Evelyn steps on a nail while going up the stairs from her basement. Also Hitchcock's signature technique of "not showing the horror of the evil but make the fear of horror as a tool" is used all over the film. In fact, characters reaction of the fear of the creatures is as scary as the creatures themselves. The film's music by Marco Beltrami (Logan's Music Director) is in many ways deeply emotional and brings back sound in the background for the viewers of the film who don't wish to be stuck in the silent format of most of AQP.
The Influence of Wes Craven
Master Horror film director Wes Craven is also a major influence on "A Quiet Place". Craven's cult hit "Last House On The Left" which centres around a family attacked by robbers who are brutal but ultimately get defeated is similar to the premise of AQP where the Abbotts are attacked several times by the creatures. The idea of children and teenagers as the saviours in a nearly life ending duel is Craven's idea from "The Nightmare On Elm Street" series where kids battle Freddy Krueger in their dreams. In AQP, the deaf girl Reagan proves to be the key with her cochlear implant. ie. The child with the major defect turns out to be the biggest hope in an almost one sided battle. Other influences include last years sleeper hit "Don't Breathe"where a group of robbers get hunted by a blind man whose home they try to break in.
The Director's Journey
John Krasinski envisaged the idea for this movie when he and his real life spouse Emily Blunt were having their second child. According to Krasinski in various interviews on TV, he feels strongly that the emotional bond and the abundance of resilience in the Abbott household is the key to this story. The creatures are just incidental it seems ie as a force which threatens their way of life.The role of Reagan essayed by real life deaf actress Millicent Simmonds adds a natural tone to this otherwise tough horror film which is based on a figment of imagination. Emily Blunt for whom this is a homecoming of sorts delivers yet another knockout performance which is studied and deeply emotional.
Filmi Baniya gives a 7 out 10 for "A Quiet Place"