SOMETIMES there is nothing more terrifying than the quiet – how many times have we struck up small talk about the weather just to break awkward silences?
A Quiet Place knows silence has the ability to put us on edge and knows how to milk maximum tension out of that sense of unease.
The world has been invaded by a lethal alien race that is sensitive to sound – violently attacking and killing anyone that makes a peep – plunging the last few survivors into a silent existence.
The resourceful Abbot family – mum (Emily Blunt), dad (John Krasinski) and their three children – have been surviving in the woods mainly because their daughter (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf and they can all communicate in silence with sign language.
Fast-forward about a year after the family is struck by greater tragedy and the matriarch is pregnant again and their already tension-filled existence spirals out of control when she goes into labour about three weeks early.
Context is scarce – a few newspaper clippings barely bring us up to speed – but what the creatures are and where they came from remains a mystery, adding another layer of tension.
A dialogue-free script can be such a blessing in so many ways.
Director, co-writer and star Krasinksi draws nail-biting terror from so many mundane things (a floorboard nail, a child’s toy, a crying infant) and cleverly allows a character’s disability to be helpful in evading the enemy, as opposed to being a constant hindrance.
Tension is sustained for an almost unbearable length of time, indicating that Krasinksi could be a talent to keep an eye out for.
Coming in at 90 minutes, it is also an example of short, sharp and economical storytelling – something we so rarely see.
A Quiet Place (M)
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds
In cinemas now