A Quiet Place – A Movie to fall asleep to

By Nadine Koch

I am a huge horror fan and would go so far as to claim that I know quite a few things about what makes a horror movie good. From The Shining to Hostel to Midsommar I have watched an estimated 200 horror movies from every horror subgenre existing. I came across many movies which had awful reviews but were surprisingly good. Though there were also some movies which were praised as masterpieces, when I finished them, I was sitting there wondering how they achieved this status because they were not good… at all. John Krasinski’s 2018 A Quiet Place is one of those movies.

John Krasinski himself and his wife Emily Blunt star as the two protagonists, a married couple with two kids, who live in the near future in complete silence in order to not be killed by alien-like monsters that inhabited the earth.

Sonia Cerca took her time to write a review about this movie and displays it as one of the best horror movies of modern time, which is totally not like every other horror movie. (It is though.) Apparently, it makes the audience feel “genuinely fearful”[1] and “keeps you on the edge of your seat”[2]. This makes me question if we are both referring to the same movie. She goes on by exclaiming that the minimal use of the scares kept the movie suspenseful and balanced. After this she keeps on praising the movie as a completely new and innovative horror movie – as if there are not enough monster movies out there already. 

I approve of Cerca`s statement that the concept of a horror movie being in complete silence, without anyone screaming out in pain or fear is an unusual but surprisingly fascinating one. I must admit that this is the reason which kept me glued to the screen for the first 30 minutes. The suspense and anxiety of the characters not trying to make any noise even made the audience cautious. Emily Blunt’s character trying to give birth in a bathtub in complete silence is probably the peak of suspense in the movie. But this tension was ruined once she went to the basement to yell at her husband in an argument. This moment threw me off completely and made me wonder: Why can they yell at each other when the monsters attack at the slightest noise? And since this basement appears to be soundproof why do they spend the majority of the time outside where the monsters are? By releasing this tension the whole concept of the movie was ruined. After this blunder the movie was not able to gain my interest anymore.

Even the scare factor was not able to make up for this failure. The jump scares were weak and predictable, which is a common weakness in modern horror. They were not used in a minimalistic fashion as Cerca proclaimed, but in an overused and annoying way. Most of the scares were wasted on unnecessary sequences like somebody getting grabbed by their arm or something falling outside the window. By only relying on loud noises and random momentum the jump scares turn into blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments. Additionally, only two or three of the scares are related to the monsters or actual danger, but due to the overuse even these could not get someone to throw their popcorn out of shock. If I am being honest the scariest part of the movie was the guy sitting a few seats away from me who constantly put his shoes off and on for no particular reason.

Not to mention that the monsters look like a bootleg version of the Xenomorph from the Alien franchise. This made the so called “Uncanny Valley” method completely ineffective. The method is commonly used in horror and is simple yet effective – you basically put humanity somewhere where it should not belong, just like the Xenomorph’s movements and physique resemble the ones of a human. Or you take humanity away from something where it should belong like for example Michael Myers with his slow and inhumane movements and his emotionless mask. Since the creatures resemble the Xenomorph so much most of us are already familiar with the monster design. This obliterates all scariness and surprise moments since we already know what to expect.

In short, A Quiet Place is wasted potential. The simple yet interesting story could have made an atmospheric and captivating horror thriller, but unfortunately it was not able to live up to these hopes. It has a good start but loses suspense and most importantly logic after the first half an hour. As always, the audience is bombarded with jump scares which does not even give one the opportunity to be scared anymore. And the monster design being a rip-off takes the only left scare factor’s power of terrifying the audience. Maybe the sequel, which I have yet to watch, can make up for this disappointment. But for now, this movie will remain an average modern horror movie.

[1] http://afilmadaybysonia.blogspot.com/2018/04/a-quiet-place-2018.html?m=1 April 9. A Quiet Place 2018

[2] http://afilmadaybysonia.blogspot.com/2018/04/a-quiet-place-2018.html?m=1 April 9. A Quiet Place 2018