I love when horror does its job.
Not only was this movie genuinely scary, but it was dramatic. Uh…yeah…I cried a lot. After all, I Am a Big Cry Baby, and I Love Movies. Holy hell, though, the feels in this film!
You may be wondering if this is the flick for YOU, though. Here is a list of elements in A Quiet Place that are light on the spoilage to help you decide whether or not to shell out the box office cash, Netflix it, or just completely skip it, so, let’s jump into this full geek.
1. It is heavy on jump scares, but…
It is totally justified in this movie, and it doesn’t rely on them. It is INTENSE! Not only are the quick flashes of the creepy AF creatures shockingly disturbing, but the hiding in plain sight is even more unnerving than being totally immersed in a game of Until Dawn (Play Until Dawn, if you haven’t played Until Dawn. Dead by Daylight is also good. ;)). If you are against jump scares being used at all. This may knock it down to 9 stars.
2. It is a family drama.
However, this is something I’d much rather see than a plot summary beginning with, “A group of Highschool/College kids.” No offense to kids, but half of them in slasher flicks always turn out to be assholes, which makes me root for the killer. It is very important that the characters are likable so that I care about them or even identify with them. THIS is what can make you honestly scared at a movie intended to do just that, but if you don’t go for all the emo, then this may be what drops it down to 8 stars for your review.
3. There are some cliched sound tropes.
I have designed, directed, and performed in haunted houses, and although the old chestnut of a revving chainsaw sounds tired on paper. It NEVER ceases to cause people to crap their pants! It is a MUST have. So, yes, there are creaky floorboards and screechy doors in this movie, but they are not stock sounds, and they are really important since this movie’s terror lies in sound. There are sounds that have been used in numerous films to try to recreate the same results. This has been overdone to the point that even a laundry detergent commercial used some of the same audio clips. This movie has all original sounds. I was very happy to see the new cringe-worthy noises the monsters made. It set the suspense well. The sound was amazing all around, and even the score was phenomenal and only added to the emotion of the piece. However, if you are the type who has stopped going to haunts because the Texas Chainsaw has worn out it’s welcome with you, then the rusty hinges and old wooden planks might be why you knock a star off. This would put us at 7.
4. Survivors should be more clever.
The movie opens 89 days after what basically is an apocalyptic event. Without giving too much away, these people make mistakes, and even I caught that with my overly sheltering parent’s eye, and this causes a lot of the family dynamic issues in the movie that help tell a heart-wrenching tale of guilt, remorse, and …well, I don’t want to spoil it. Personally, I know people, even highly intelligent people, can do really, really dumb things. I’ve been told I’m intelligent, but I see the things I do, and I just can’t agree. These people were smart, but not too smart. There is also a bit of dramatic irony, where we learn what they need to do, and we struggle wishing they would hurry up and learn it, too. Of course, you aren’t being chased by lightning fast bastard sword-toothed…things. That tends to cloud one’s thinking…and underwear. However, you may wish to see what a group of geniuses do in a perilous situation, instead of what everyday people (even ones that can survive for over a year) making mistakes. This may bring your rating down to 6 stars.
5. This movie isn’t about the monsters.
The Walking Dead isn’t about the zombies. They are just a device used to show that Man is the biggest monster of all, and to pose questions, about who the real zombies are, who’s really alive, who’s really dead? Of course, when this hits you over the head too much, you might lose interest much like TWD has (I still watch it.) in its ratings. This is a matter of the Goldilocks effect. How much message is just right? I loved seeing a juxtaposition of a perceived weakness becoming a strength (I’m ADHD, or have I mentioned that?). I love the symbolic way that they couldn’t communicate had more than one meaning. If this doesn’t fit your definition of just right, you might just dock the star rating down to 5.
That’s all I can find that was even remotely “wrong” with it, and I think some of the most scrutinizing moviegoers wouldn’t mark this below a 5 out of 10.
In short, for a horror movie to actually be horrifying, it must have characters that you actually care about, not rely on jump scares, and the effects and situations need to invoke genuine terror; lastly, a truly great horror has a message, likely brought to us with characterization and symbolism. This movie did all of these things for me. I will be buying it, to cry and douse my trousers along with at home.