Audiences stunned to silence by ‘A Quiet Place’

Emma Knudson, Staff writer

“No, Jim, be careful!” a concerned voice echoed as the tension mounted in the theater. Though it wasn’t dorky Jim Halpert from The Office tackling noise-sensitive monsters— it was the unnamed protagonist, notably played by the same actor (John Krasinski) in the horror film A Quiet Place.

Set in a dystopian, unspecified location within the United States ravaged by terrifying blind beasts sensitive to the slightest sounds, it’s a film that left the theater— throughout the entire 90 minute screen time— afraid to chew their popcorn too loud or fiddle with their plastic straws too carelessly.

There may be some spoilers ahead, so if you have yet to see the film, read on with caution.

The strength of the movie is rooted deep in the notion of protection and how parents will do anything to ensure the safety of their children. The father (Krasinski) and the mother (Emily Blunt) hold that as their top priority, and it becomes a game of survive and protect as the tension mounts.

Not only is the film rooted in protection, it’s also rooted in grief— how we deal with grief by ourselves, with our families, in total silence, or all of the above. Without a word their grief is felt and communicated, and the struggles thereof are made apparent as the movie presses on whilst warding off the beasts. It’s grief that upholds the family’s strength and commitment to one another and to survival, which is ultimately innate in all of us. Tragedy has the power to bring families together and to therefore save and protect one another, especially while still battling the cause of the grief.

However, the emotionality didn’t overpower the terror instilled in the audience. The silence created such profound tension that any movement in the film became fair game to disaster, and often times did. Every situation seemed inescapable, every terrified whimper by one of the brave children or misstep by the concerned parents seemed to be their undoing, and the audience was never certain how it would end for the family.  I won’t give away anything in that regard— just go see the movie.

Regardless, the intimate, human emotions of grief, love, and protection ground an otherwise monster-flick to a film with heart and without a lot of words. Without that, Krasinski’s directorial debut would have been a flop— but the reactions at the film’s sudden close suggested otherwise, as the audience took a collective sigh of uncertain relief and clapped. Perhaps Krasinski won’t always be referred to as Jim in any media appearance he makes— but that has yet to be seen.