Review: A Quiet Place
By Benjamin Allen Dickson
A Quiet Place is the new horror/thriller film by Jim from The Office, starring Jim from The Office. I know reviews are much more spicy when they contain controversial opinions, whether they love or hate the film, but this review will not be one of those.
I’ll start by saying this movie is perfect for children/non-horror fans who are trying to get into horror/thriller movies. I heard a term from someone who describes those kinds of movies as “Gateway Horror Films”, films to get younger audiences into horror. As a kid the Goosebumps novels were perfect Gateway scares for me, it really got me into that kind of entertainment. A lot of these Gateway horror films came from the 1980’s, like the appropriately titled 1987 film The Gate, or the 1984 classic Gremlins. Both are prime examples of films to get children into the wonders of horror filmmaking. This is sort of a dead genre now, besides 2015’s Krampus. But that is what I will 100% give A Quiet Place, is that it is a really solid “Gateway horror film”.
The film itself though was so uninteresting to me. It reminded me of Blumhouse studios (responsible for making films like Insidious and Sinister) making an “arthouse” horror film like something A24 studios would release. (Notable examples of their “arthouse” horror films are: The VVitch, Killing Of a Sacred Deer, It Comes at Night, Under The Skin). But this film isn't arthouse, I wouldn't even call it a smart movie either. It's a simple premise elevated by its “mystery”. The film has no deeper meaning and it doesn't feel like the director/writer had anything to say besides a ham fisted message about family, and “who are we if we can't protect our family” bullshit. I understand this is more of a gripe of the reaction following this film than the film itself, but the whole film felt “fake deep” to me. It felt like the film thought it was so much more meaningful than it actually was. It's a fine premise that's conveyed in a semi-interesting way, it is no more and no less than that. It is a painfully average movie to me, which is honestly worse than being a horrendously broken movie.
But what the film does well it succeeds at. The creature effects looked great in this film, especially towards the ending. Just the look of them was the most interesting aspect to me. The child actors were pretty good, which I will give props to in any movie since child actors are usually terrible. I like the tension in the film, that's done really well and it makes the film semi-engaging.
The problem with this movie is that it’s premise is worn thin. It tries to make it interesting by showing the audience how the family lives everyday life and how they survive in this world, but when you don't have compelling or interesting characters, you don't have an engaging movie. Then since the film only relies on its premise, by the end of it the premise was just aggravating to me. Yes I get it they need to be quiet, it doesn't need to be written on the whiteboard. Yes I get it that it's a metaphoric story about family, you can still have that and make the family not squeaky clean - almost Brady Bunch like.
Take this premise, have more mystery around the monster and the world, and make the family more interesting. You can even keep the family theme bullshit, but for the love of god just make them compelling and not so one dimensional.
Then maybe I’ll give your film a higher score.
Oh wait I stopped doing number scores out of 10.
I'm no Ebert though so who cares what I say this film deserves?
...I guess nobody is Ebert now.
Because he's dead.
Do you GET it?