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Silence Is Deafening

Saturday, April 07, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

John Krasinski
Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski and others
Rating: * * *

The premise is fascinating – in a post-apocalypse world, on a deceptively calm homestead, a family lives in complete silence, because there are monsters around that hunt by sound. Early on in John Krasinski’s 'A Quiet Place', a child plays with a toy and is snatched up by the creature in a blurry second, as his parents and siblings watch in horror, unable to even scream or weep.

The film begins with no explanation; the audience just has to accept the setting and not ask why there is nobody else around, or how Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn Abbot (Emily Blunt) created a silent home, with underground hiding spots and all, without making a noise. Have the critters eaten up everyone else all over the world? Or is some kind of defence being mounted somewhere? The film is just concerned with the survival of the Abbots and their two remaining kids, the hearing impaired Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe). This limits the scope of the film, as the novelty of sign language and barefoot walking wears off, and once the audience has been shown that they eat leaves and wash clothes by hand, what more can be done. Evidently, none of them snore or talk in their sleep!

In spite of the fuzzy script, the horror is steadily built up, and the excessive care the four have to take to keep the scary-looking monsters at bay, gives the film many heart-in-mouth moments. But for all the fuss the parents make about protecting their kids, how foolish is it for the woman to get pregnant at a time like that? How can a newborn be trained to be quiet?

In the film’s most effective scene, Evelyn has to give birth alone, without making a sound, as the monster hovers frighteningly close. And, to up the ante, she has already stepped on a protruding nail and screamed silently! The film’s high concept takes it only this far and then on to a predictable climax, but Krasinski keeps finding ways to keep the tension simmering till then. Worth a watch!

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