“A Quiet Place” transforms horror genre


“A Quiet Place” hit theatres on April 6, ending the long wait of many horror fans, such as myself, for a good flick. For a lot of us, the last good scare we had was the reimagining of Stephen King’s “It.” What makes “A Quiet Place” especially endearing is that John Krasinski, who many of you know as Jim from “The Office”, directs and stars in the movie.  He plays the role of the father, while actress, Emily Blunt plays the mother.

Krasinski as a director surprised me at first because I had always known him as a comedian actor. On reflection, it shouldn’t have surprised me at all. Other comedians have followed the same career path.  For example, Jordan Peele, known for his skit comedy show, “Key and Peele,” directed a thrilling horror movie last year named “Get Out.” Both comedians are not limited to one genre, which makes these two men very talented in my book.  One wonders, however, whether there is something in a comedian’s nature that makes them particularly good at scaring people.

The movie’s premise is that an unknown monster finds its prey based on sound alone. Making as little noise as possible is the only way to stay clear of the danger. Most of the film is virtually silent, and when any audible sound does interrupt the silence, the audience is instantly alerted to approaching danger.  This neat technique distinguishes this movie from other horror movies that use the absence of sound to foreshadow that something bad is about to happen. “A Quiet Place” takes the opposite approach.

The use of sound is what makes this movie so compelling. Every time the silence was broken with any sort of noise, something terrible was soon to follow. The audience becomes accustomed to viewing sound as a separate character, an enemy like the monster. Throughout the film, I was afraid of noises just as much as the monster. I found myself worrying about every little action the characters took, because one dropped battery on a hard surface, or one misstep onto a creaky floorboard, could result in catastrophe for the entire family.

Every horror villain has a weakness, and “A Quiet Place” is no different. If there is no chance for the protagonist to survive, it wouldn’t be very scary because the ending would be foreordained and the tension would evaporate. Jason had a fear of drowning, Freddy Krueger had a fear of fire and Chuckie, well he’s a doll. The protagonists in these movies exploited the weaknesses, giving them a chance to survive. The monster in “A Quiet Place,” has a weakness that limits its ability to find its prey. I was invested in the family because I knew they could overcome this horrifying situation. Whether they succeeded or failed, I’ll let you find out for yourself.