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A Quiet Place (2018)

Paramount Home Entertainment
4K UHD Released: 7/10/2018

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/2/2018

Most people can't tell this by looking at me, but I'm a lifelong, hardcore horror movie fan. I would like to think that I'm well-versed in all film genres, but scary movies are my bread-&-butter. My movie collection is over-flowing with monster and supernatural titles and I support the genre in any way that I can. Therefore, when a horror movie does well at the box-office and captures the zeitgeist, I'm usually happy. However, it seems that when a horror movie is a success, it's one that didn't impress me, such as The Blair Witch Project, The Conjuring, or Get Out. It's time to add another movie to that list with A Quiet Place.

A Quiet Place begins on Day 89 of what is clearly if not a worldwide, at least a national tragedy. We meet The Abbott family, Lee (John Krasinski), his wife, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), and their children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and Beau (Cade Woodward). We quickly learn that this world is inhabited by monsters which react to sound, therefore, the family must always be quiet. As Regan is deaf, they already knew sign language, but they must do everything possible to not make a sound. The story then jumps ahead nearly a year, where we find the Abbotts on their farm, and we see that Evelyn is pregnant. Lee has rigged the farm with security cameras and has rigged a sound-proof room, but their life is still somewhat limited. However, even the best precautions can't keep the monsters at bay.

There are some good things happening in A Quiet Place, so let's take a look at those at those first. The movie has taken some old ideas and revamped them. Whereas movies like Darkness Falls and They put forth a premise where characters had to avoid the dark, the characters in A Quiet Place must avoid making noise. This isn't necessarily an original idea, but it is a clever one. Staying in the light sounds hard enough, but being quiet is definitely a challenge (especially for my youngest daughter). John Krasinski didn't show much promise with his feature directing debut, The Hollars, but he's clearly grown. The movie is very well-shot and he does a nice job of ratcheting up the tension at times. Despite the fact that they look nothing like Krasinski and Blunt, the kids do a great job, especially Simmonds, who is actually deaf.

While Kraskinski and Writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck have come up with a clever premise, the script completely falls apart under any scrutiny, and therein lies this movie's Achilles' Heel. The movie is riddled with plot-holes and aspects which make no sense. There are going to be those who get caught up in the experience while watching the film, but when you think about it afterwards, youíll realize that the movie has a lot of problems. I will avoid being too specific with my observations, so as to avoid spoilers, but Iíll point out some general problems. The issues begin in the very first scene where the parents, who are well aware of the threat, make a very poor decision. Their actions donít make any sense. Yes, they talk about it later in the film, but the lack of logic in the opening truly pulled me out of the movie and I could never get back into it. As the movie progresses, as do the problems. We watch the family go through several pains to remain quiet, but if you give any part of the of the movie a second thought, you are going to realize that their daily existence would be impossible. How do they harvest the corn? If Lee snores, shouldn't he be dead? There are other questions as well. If Lee is such an engineering genius, why hasn't he rigged a better contingency plan? Why didn't he use the pitchfork in the finale? The movie intentionally makes the backstory vague, but this also hurts the film, with the biggest questions being why do the monsters kill and if there are only a few humans in the area, why haven't the monsters moved along?

Yes, I realize that these questions can be seen as nitpicking, but as someone who has tried my hand at screenwriting, I really focus on tight storytelling. Most every movie has omissions and non-sensical moments, but A Quiet Place is simply riddled with them and it ruins the movie. Again, I truly appreciate that Krasinski took a serious approach towards a monster movie and placed the emphasis on the family, however, the story sullies those good intentions. The fact that the film recouped its budget tenfold at the U.S. box office shows that these issues didn't bother most, but I think that those audience members will find that the film does not hold up under subsequent viewings.

A Quiet Place certainly left me speechless (but not in a good way) on 4K UHD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an HEVC 2160p transfer which runs at an average of 65 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no noticeable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, most notably reds and greens, and the image is never overly dark or bright -- although it does border on dark at times. The level of detail is excellent, as we can make out textures on objects and the depth works very well. The Disc carries a Dolby Atmos audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 5.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is a film where the sound is very important and this track delivers. In the quieter scenes, we can pick out minute sounds coming from the front and rear channels. When the action kicks in, the subwoofer and surround channels are quite active.

The extra features for A Quiet Place are found on the Blu-ray Disc included in this set. "Creating the Quiet - Behind the Scenes of A Quiet Place" (15 minutes) is a broad look at the overall making of the film. It touches on how the script was developed, how Krasinski and Blunt came on-board, the location, and the actors. This includes comments from the cast and creative team. "The Sound of Darkness - Editing Sound for A Quiet Place" (12 minutes) has Krasinski leading a discussion of how important sound and quiet were in the film. The sound designers talk about the challenge of brining in different kinds of sounds, while also eliminating all sounds at times. "The Reason for Silence - The Visual Effects of A Quiet Place" (8 minutes) looks at the design of the creatures and how the visual effects were integrated into the film. We see some early animation and tests.

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long