John Krasinski’s ’01 ‘A Quiet Place’ makes little noise


In the first scene of “A Quiet Place,” the new film from actor and director John Krasinski ’01, a family tiptoes around an abandoned general store to gather a few necessities. We hear the soft taps of their bare feet on the linoleum and the slight rattle of pills in a bottle as the mother carefully picks them up. No one speaks, and nothing goes boom. And yet the longer the quiet lingers, the more uneasy we become. It’s an effective opener, putting the audience on edge as they wait for a pin to drop. But it also puts into stark relief what is maybe an obvious realization: Most movies are awfully loud, aren’t they?

The decibel count eventually goes up in “A Quiet Place,” and the movie becomes significantly less interesting when it does. But for a few brief stretches, the film uses silence in a way that sets it apart from most movies of its ilk. The quieter something is, the closer we listen, and “A Quiet Place” occasionally takes this lesson to heart, using it to craft some delicious scares and to deploy tension with admirable finesse. Had Krasinski been more ruthless in sticking to his premise, the film might have been a real nerve-jangling knockout. But as it stands, “A Quiet Place” is decent, scary fun.

The story unfolds in a world ravaged by nonhuman predatory creatures. Gifted with extremely sensitive hearing, they hunt and kill anything within earshot with quick, violent efficiency. The stakes are viscerally established at the beginning of the film when a child, Beau, is snatched up mere seconds after his electric rocketship toy makes noise.

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