We are currently staying at Palms for Dan's annual trade show in Vegas. Dan had a kick-off party to attend, so I headed to the Brenden Theatres, located near the hotel's food court, for a screening of A Quiet Place. We stayed at Palms for the first time last year and I was really excited that there is a movie theater in the hotel, however, last year, we lived in Portland and I was going to the movies all of the time. I arrived in Vegas having seen everything. This year, we live in a ski resort community that doesn't have a great movie theater, so I haven't seen a single movie that's currently out. My Vegas plan is cocktails, pool time, and plenty of movies!
Also, just a note about the actual theater. This was my first experience at a Brenden Theatre, I've never heard of this particular cinema chain. It was a really positive experience. The seats are stadium style with reclining chairs in a smallish theater with great sound quality. It was clean and up-to-date. The staff was very welcoming. I went for an evening show and my ticket was only twelve dollars. Overall, a very good experience and I look forward to more movies at Brenden Theatres later this week.
PLOT- A Quiet Place is set in the near future, where a group of mysterious creatures have attacked earth. How to kill them is unknown, but they are blind and rely on super-sharp hearing to kill their prey. The best way to stay alive is through silence. The Abbotts, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski), struggle to keep to keep their kids safe, while teaching them the skills that they will need to survive. They attempt to figure out the creature's weakness, while creating a plan to care for their soon to be born fourth child.
LIKE- The premise of A Quiet Place is fantastic. It makes for a tense, fast-paced thriller. A majority of the film is without dialogue, relying on subtitles to translate the sign language that the family uses to communicate. Although there is a fair bit of sign language used, it is amazing how much is communicated through facial expressions and body language. I can't think of a film where I haven't liked Blunt's acting, but she really shines in A Quiet Place.
The kids are also very well cast, especially Millicent Simmonds, who plays pre-teen daughter, Regan, who makes a deadly choice early in the story and can't shake her guilt. Regan is deaf and her father desperately tries to fix old hearing aids, to keep her safe. In a world where making the slightest sound can mean death, the inability to hear the sounds that you're making, substantially increases the risk. After I finished watching A Quiet Place, I started reading more about it, and I learned that like her character, Simmonds is deaf. This is only Simmond's second film, but she's a scene stealer and the emotional weight of this role makes it a juicy part.
The script is strong with both story and character development. I especially like the opening scene of the film, where the audience is dropped into the story and left to figure out the situation through various clues; like the sign language and bare feet. It was tense from the very start, but we don't learn how deadly making noise can be, until about ten or fifteen minutes into the movie.
This is neither good or bad, but the sounds made by the creatures reminded me of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Even though the creatures appear more human than dinosaur, there were certain ways that they moved and hunted, that reminded me of Jurassic Park. I actually love Jurassic Park and the similarities didn't bother how, however, they did momentarily take me out of the story world.
DISLIKE- Due to the nature of the story and how it plays with silence, anytime there was sound, it made for a jump scene. I have a hard time with movies that make me jump and A Quiet Place had several "startle" moments. I never relaxed, which I suppose is what makes a suspense, horror film work.
From a story stand point, I wondered why the Abbott family didn't work with the other local families. There is a scene where Lee sets a bonfire on the top of their grain silo, which is shown to be used as a way of showing other local families that they are still out there. The other families also light their fires. We never learn why they don't live closer together and work as a team. I suppose there is fear that more people might create a more dangerous situation as far as making noise, however, this also seems like a scenario where safety in numbers would apply.
The opening scene takes place in an abandon drugstore a few months after the creatures have started attacking. Like any town scene in a post-apocalyptic world, the store has been ransacked and the Abbott family is looking for supplies. They are shown getting drugs for their son (Noah Jupe), who appears sick. I thought this illness would play into the greater story, but it never reappears and the kid is shown healthy later. I'm not sure if this was a red herring or missed opportunity? Perhaps there were scenes that were deleted? In any case, it made me initially think that the Abbotts were alone and I was surprised to see, via the bonfire on the corn silo scene, that so many other families were in close proximity. If making a trip to the drugstore is fraught with danger, why didn't they bring all of the medicine to a location closer to the people and live together as a community? Perhaps they all watched The Walking Dead and feared other people, more than they feared the creatures!
RECOMMEND- Yes! If you can handle feeling very jumpy, A Quiet Place is a solid suspense/family drama with a great premise.