WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, which opens today nationwide.
John Krasinski may be best known for his TV and film roles but he’s starting to make a name for himself as a director on the rise. A Quiet Place is his third time in the director’s chair, but critics agree this is the movie that is going to garner him accolades. In fact, the film holds 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a point higher than Ryan Coogler's celebrated Black Panther. What audiences appear to respond to is the horror film's original concept and frightening creatures.
While the horror aspects are the focus of the trailers and TV spots, make no mistake, this is just as much a sci-fi thriller. The basic premise is that deadly lifeforms have invaded Earth and are on the hunt for any living being. The catch is these creatures are blind, and rely on hyper-sensitive hearing to locate their prey. Therefore, the only way to elude them is to live your life in near-silence, never communicating in anything louder than a whisper.
Within 89 days of the aliens' arrival, the United States is a war zone, with ghost town-quiet streets and missing posters dotting the landscape. We follow parents Lee and Evelyn Abbott (John Krasinki and Emily Blunt) and their two children as they try to evade these creatures. Through newspaper clippings kept by Lee in his workshop area, we learn the U.S. government and military have been decimated and are no longer able maintain order. Further, these snippets warn that the creatures have an armored skin that is “impenetrable” and “indestructible.”
Early on we only get brief glimpses of the fast-moving monsters, but by the halfway point, we begin to get an idea of not only what they look like, but also how they function. They're vaguely humanoid, in that they have two arms, two legs, and can stand upright. However, they have no eyes, and are covered in black, chitinous plating, and stand a few feet taller than a full-grown human.
Their gangly limbs have spiky forearms that resemble those of a praying mantis; the creatures also possess enormous claws and teeth. The way their limbs fold and move is reminiscent of a bat, yet they are cheetah-fast. They also prove themselves capable swimmers, but their most important features are enormous ear holes that amplify even the faintest sound into a deafening racket. As more of the monsters are revealed, we find out their faces are made up of multiple plates that can open and close, revealing a pinky flesh beneath. Apparently, the Abbotts are the first to figure that out, because they manage to kill one by shooting it while the plating is open.
At no point is the audience told whether these creatures are from outer space or if they're somehow man-made. They don’t seem to eat their prey, so even their motivations are unclear. But, hey, that’s what sequels are for.
In theaters nationwide, A Quiet Place is co-written and directed John Krasinski, who stars alongside Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds and Cade Woodward.