In ‘A Quiet Place’, noise does an awful lot more than annoy
Scary psycho-thriller about sound-hunting killer aliens
How long could you live in silence? Not the kind of contemplative silence that tickles the fancy of the monastic classes, just the kind of silence that mutes your daily experiences. You still get to do chores, shoot suggestive looks at your wife, scold your kids and grimace when you stub your toe; you just can’t use your voice to do it.
My guess is that most people would not last long and, judging by the distinct lack of humans in John Krazinsky’s A Quiet Place, I’d get the R64,000 prize. Set in post-apocalyptic New York State, the movie follows the travails of a family trying to survive in a world that has been overrun by aliens that hunt by sound. So snapping twigs, an errant cough, or an overly boisterous fart is an invitation to be mauled. Throw young kids into the mix and one has all the ingredients for a disaster soufflé.To characterise A Quiet Place as a horror movie feels a little bit like a misnomer. Yes, it healthily sprinkled with jump scares and it is certainly a member of the same WhatsApp as horror movies, but it doesn’t quite fit the mould. Instead it is a deeply intense psychological thriller that brilliantly uses sound to create a mood. By virtue of it being a movie, with a limited amount of time to play with, there are a few questions about the aliens that go unanswered and certain scenes stretch the idea of suspended disbelief to its breaking point.Ostensibly the film is supposed to be a kind of touching ballad about the love parents have for their children. The real theme, however, is what it is like to live in a world where the consequences for bad decisions are murderously high. Getting pregnant when a crying baby is a death sentence is unbelievably foolish, as is giving a four-year-old boy a noisy toy with the batteries still in it. In essence, the moral of the story is that small children and a dystopian world filled with sound-hunting aliens go together like visible herpes and the prospect of a healthy sex life.