WHAT I LOVED & DIDN’T LOVE ABOUT ‘A QUIET PLACE’

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If you don’t at least know about A Quiet Place, then you’re surely living under a rock. The film is doing major damage at the box office and with good reason – it’s a simple concept done so right. I finally got around to watching it the other night, and from a technical perspective, it left such a good impression on me, but overall, I had a few issues with it that I still haven’t been able to see past. Today I am here to discuss those impressions with you all. Oh, and don’t worry – this will be an entirely spoiler-free post!

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Like I mentioned above, A Quiet Place was based around such a simple, and at times even overdone, horror concept – a post-apocolyptic world where a group of characters are targeted by an enemy of some sort, whether that would be in the paranormal or monster sense of the word. It’s a concept that has the potential to go so wrong, because of how many times it’s been done and redone throughout the years, yet they managed to, instead, take that overplayed idea and use it to their advantage. Adding the more distinctive elements, such as the noiselessness, gave the film an edge that undeniably made it stand out. Horror films have a reputation for making their concepts so unbelievably complex that it takes away from the meat of the story, hence why I enjoyed the simplicity A Quiet Place offered. Now, don’t get me wrong, a simple concept can fall flat if the execution is not carried out properly, but in this case, it definitely was.
  • There’s a lot to say about a film whose entire cast managed to keep the audience’s attention in line through their acting. Of course, it’s easier when you have a cast like the one from A Quiet Place, which only has a total of five actors, but considering that three out of those five actors are children, I still give them major props. Typically, films, especially the horror/thriller genre, tend to lean a whole lot on their use of sound to create a sustainable ambience. With this film though, because they took away most (I’ll get into why I specifically said ‘most’ later on in this post) of that element, they really depended on the actors’ facial expressions, mannerisms, and body language to convey every bit of emotion; it felt very theatrical in a sense and I really enjoyed that.

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  • John Krasinski deserves every bit of recognition for the fantastic amount of attention he poured into this film. You really don’t realize just how noisy humans are until you watch A Quiet Place. Also, as a side note, you don’t realize how noisy we are until you have to challenge a crowd to stay quiet throughout a 90 minute film. The struggle was real. ANYWAY. Everything we do in our day-to-day lives requires us to make some sort of noise and the fact that this film made me realize that says a lot. Even things like the eating utensils or how they covered the path they walk home on with sand…every little detail was accounted for and it made the entire experience seem so much more believable. You could really dwell on the idea that these characters have genuinely adapted to this new world in the most extreme and realistic of ways.
  • Given the fact that silence played such a massive role in the narrative, it was almost a given that jump scares would be used. I mean, if not, why develop all that tension to begin with, right? I’m typically not a huge jump scare fan – I think they’re overly used to the point where they become a way to get a cheap scare out of the audience. A Quiet Place uses them sparingly though, which I think created just the right amount of build up. With the lack of noise, you’d expect for the movie to be full of them, which I was scared of, but I was pleasantly surprised about how they chose to go about it. The ones used were very strategically placed and actually managed to scare me half to death. Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating a little there, but still…it was great.
  • My favorite aspect of A Quiet Place, by far, has got to be how they put in the effort to actually include a deaf actress, Millicent Simmonds, to portray the role of young Regan Abbott, the oldest daughter who, in the film, is deaf. Millicent did a phenomenal job depicting Regan’s frustrations and strides towards her character’s turning point. Disabled individuals are highly underrepresented in the film community, and even the roles that are written as disabled are typically played by abled actors. The fact that the producers and Krasinski were so adamant about giving this role to a genuinely disabled person is incredibly important and a step in the right direction when it comes to being more inclusive of a marginalized community.

 

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WHAT I DIDN’T LOVE: 

  • Contradicting exactly what I just said above (I know, I’m so complicated), the one thing that has bothered me about this film since the minute I stepped foot out of the theater is how they managed to turn right around and screw up said inclusivity. They were doing so well when it came to using ASL in a respectful and appropriate manner, and being careful to include subtitles throughout the majority of the film’s length, making it possible for hearing audiences to understand. That being said, you’d expect them to have the same courtesy for the deaf/hard of hearing community, considering they put so much effort into making it as inclusive as possible during every other moment of the film. Unfortunately, during the few speaking scenes that were included, they failed to offer subtitles, making it incredibly hard or impossible for the same group of marginalized individuals to comprehend, consequently defeating the purpose of a comprehensive experience. I was utterly disappointed with this, especially given the fact that it was such an easily remediable fix.
  • The score. You see, the score is typically one of my favorite parts of a film. Without a good quality score, films tend to fall flat and can be rather lifeless, making for cinematic disasters. But, in this particular situation, where the narrative depends so intensely on the use of silence, the cliche horror score they used during most of the tension-heavy scenes sometimes took away from what they were trying to achieve. Heavy silence is such a terrifyingly brilliant component to add to a film and it can make the audience’s experience an entirely spine-chilling one, but instead of utilizing it to its fullest potential, I feel like they took the safer route, and sadly, it reflected in the final product.

A QUIET PLACE

Putting aside my obvious issues with it, I still managed to enjoy A Quiet Place a whole lot. It’s refreshing to finally get a horror movie whose execution is dissimilar from every other one that’s been released in the past few years. I do believe that if they would have kept up with their fantastic efforts at an inclusive concept throughout the entire film, instead of just during the parts accessible to hearing audiences, I would have rated this a full 5 stars, but I have to at least knock down half a star for the backwards leap during those several speaking scenes. No matter what though, it is a step in the right direction and at the end of the day, that’s what truly matters. If you have yet to watch A Quiet Place and don’t mind the two negative points I noted, give it a go! Let me know your thoughts and whether or not you agree with my points.

My rating?

4+1-2+Stars

1 thought on “WHAT I LOVED & DIDN’T LOVE ABOUT ‘A QUIET PLACE’”

  1. I love your reviews. You write so well and are so engaging. Horror films are definently the one genre I struggle to watch but I’ve been really determined to try and see this film , if for no other reason than it’s representation of the deaf/disabled community…I have to say that this review has just intriguied me even more. I know you’re a big fan of horror, so the fact that you enjoyed the film so much and believe they did justice to a concept that could have fallen so flat, makes me think the movie will be enjoyable even if I don’t usually enjoy the genre.

    Alot of the things you mentioned reminded me of one of my favourite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the episode all the characters lose their voices, so there’s almost 40 mins of no dialogue. Over the years the actors have all stressed what a challenge filming was, simply because filming the scenes required a whole new side of acting where the story telling was entirely dependant on their mannerisms, body language and physical movement… It’s a type of storytelling we rarely see and makes you realise how heavily we depend on spoken language to tell stories.

    I love that you mention how the film bought home to you, how much sound and noise is part of every aspect of our lives. I wonder if one of the unitnended consequences of the movie is that it showed people who are not part of the deaf/HOH community, just how much noise we do make and by extension how we as a society isolate those who struggle to hear…. Obviously, I can’t speak to the expirence but from speaking to a friend who is HOH and uses hearing aids, the amount of noise we make that she never hears can, at best leave her feeling frustrated and alone and at worst can put her in very real danger. Maybe, the film made people think a little more about the privelages they have that they may not even be aware of.

    Ugh! You already know my feelings on lack of subtitles in the speaking scenes. I would say I’m surprised but honestly, I’m not. It’s just indicitive of the real life issues disabled people face. Able bodied people try so hard to be inclusive and then mess up the most obvious stuff. Like the wheelchair accessible bathroom  with all the right equipment but no one thought to check if you could fit a wheelchair in it. Or the ramp at the entrance to a coffee shop (instead of steps) but then you put the door handle so high up, a person in a wheelchair can’t reach it. Or you put a ramp at the front door but there’s steps inside the building and no elevator… this happens pretty much everyday and it’s normally because disabled people aren’t consulted and I’d imagine that’s what happened with the movie. Cause, if disability representation in movies is poor, behind the scenes it’s appalling. I mean trust me, I know behind the camera rep is pretty crappy for anyone who isn’t a white straight man but, whilst other groups are slowly starting to make gains behind the scenes, disabled people are still being completely shut out. I say this as a disabled LGBT* WOC so, it’s not like I’m not happy that all my other communities are finally getting some due, or that I’m not aware how difficult things still are for WOC and/ or queer women in the industry. I know that all my communties have A LONG way to go and a hard fight ahead of them before they achieve anything close to equality behind the camera . I just feel like disabled people don’t even have a foot in the door in that area and as the film hilighted in the mistakes it made, disabled voices behind the camera are essential.
    Oddly enough, I read somewhere that Millicent Simmonds requested some small changes to the script as the way things were orginally written would not have been authentic to a deaf character so idk why, if they consulted her on that, they couldn’t consult her about the subtitles?

    But, despite the hugely obvious mistake I am really glad that the movie is doing well and getting attention. I’m paticularly pleased for those in the deaf/HOH community as I know how hurt many were by ‘The Shape of Water’ and all the buzz it got, as to them, there were aspects of the film that were very offensive and they all said the use of ASL was that bad it was almost an insult.
    I haven’t seen The Shape of Water, nor am I part of the deaf/HOH community so I can’t really comment but for me, I do believe it’s important to listen to the critcisms of the community being represented. And I’m glad to see so many being pleased with the representation in ‘A Quiet Place.

    I really hope ‘A Quiet Place’ will be a bit of a turning point in terms of authentic disability representation but, with more films scheduled this year with able-bodied actors in disabled roles it’s obvious things aren’t really changing anytime soon. But, I do have to give props to the director for being determinded to cast a deaf actress. It’s seems weird to praise someone for something so simple but, honestly more directors(and actors) could take a leaf out of his book. I know we’re a long way off all directors being this inclusive, in much the same way we’re along way off stopping white washing of poc characters or trans roles being taken by cis actors. Both directors and actors need to do better when it comes to all these types of roles. Directors both male and female, need to make more of an effort to cast these roles authentically and privileaged actors and actresess need to realise the various types of damage they do when they take a role from someone in a miniority group. I know we are slowly starting to see actors who are not part of the specific  community  turn down  these roles but,  it’s few and far between(and I’ve never known it happen with regards to disability) which is frustrating considering it’s 2018. Then again progress never happened overnight, and whilst ‘A Quiet Place’ may not change things drastically, John Krasinski’s, casting choices and the film itself are laying the ground work for change infront of the camera, that can only be a good thing and will hopefully lead to change behind the camera too.

    Like

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