‘A Quiet Place’ is a decent thriller, but still falls short from being ‘great’


John Krasinski and Noah Jupe star as Lee and Marcus Abbott in “A Quiet Place.” Paramount Pictures’ Website Photo

“A Quiet Place” had the potential to become a great horror film, but its flaws and shortcomings leave something to be desired.

Though “A Quiet Place” is far from perfect, John Krasinski has established himself in mainstream cinema by displaying his talents as a writer, director, producer and actor.

Set in the year 2020, “A Quiet Place” depicts a world where extraterrestrial creatures land on Earth and hunt humans. Since they are blind, they only hunt by sound. Lee Abbott (Krasinski) and his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), must protect their children and live a life of silence in order to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

Right from the start of the film, “A Quiet Place” hits the ground running.

The opening scene is probably one of the most disturbing I have seen since watching “It” (2017) back in October. The scene really sets the tone for the rest of the film and leaves the audience with a sense of dread.

One cinematic technique I find most effective in building suspense, specifically in a horror or thriller film, is to hide the monster or monsters and give them as little screen time as possible. This method is best seen in Ridley Scott’s “Alien” (1979), a film that is considered a benchmark in horror films.

Though the film “Alien” perfectly creates and builds suspense, the Xenomorph is given only four minutes of screen time of the 117-minute film. Because of this, the audience is left with their own imaginations to create and picture what the monster may or may not look like, thus forcing them to engage with the film and making the appearance of the actual monster even more frightening.

“A Quiet Place” uses this same technique in hiding the blind monsters from the audience and building suspense, to an extent.

Although “A Quiet Place” begins on a strong note, this is where the film begins to fall off. As the film progressed into the second half, the monsters were given more screen time.

Though this is not inherently a flaw in the film, the constant appearance of the monsters made their presence expected, rather than a surprise and took away from the “thriller-factor” of the film.

The one cliché I cannot stand in horror films is the jump scare. Jump scares, usually accompanied with loud music, have become so run-of-the-mill, that they fail to serve their purpose to scare the audience and instead become annoying and a nuisance in horror films.

Jump scares aren’t always bad and can be used effectively in horror films. However, it’s the overuse of them that has become the demise of horror films, and “A Quiet Place” unfortunately falls victim to this cliché.

“A Quiet Place” has some shortcomings, but there are redeemable factors, including Krasinski’s and Blunt’s performances, but they are not enough to save this film from being a truly frightening thriller.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.