A Quiet Place (film)

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A Quiet Place
A Quiet Place film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Krasinski
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Bryan Woods
  • Scott Beck
Starring
Music byMarco Beltrami
CinematographyCharlotte Bruus Christensen
Edited byChristopher Tellefsen
Production
company
Platinum Dunes
Sunday Night[1]
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • March 9, 2018 (2018-03-09) (SXSW)
  • April 6, 2018 (2018-04-06) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Language
Budget$17–21 million[3][4]
Box office$340.7 million[5]

A Quiet Place is a 2018 American science fiction horror film directed by John Krasinski, who wrote the screenplay with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. The film stars Krasinski, alongside Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. The plot revolves around a family facing struggles in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by blind monsters with an acute sense of hearing.

The film entered development when Beck and Woods began developing a story that would lead into the film. In July 2016, Krasinski read a spec script and was hired to direct and rewrite the script in March the following year. The film drew inspiration from other films, such as Alien, No Country for Old Men and In the Bedroom. Krasinki and Blunt were cast in the lead roles in May 2017. Filming took place in upstate New York from May to November 2017. Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn served as supervising sound editors, with Marco Beltrami composing a traditional musical score. The film was produced by Sunday Night and Platinum Dunes.

A Quiet Place premiered at South by Southwest on March 9, 2018, and was released in the United States on April 6, 2018, by Paramount Pictures. It became a major box office hit, grossing over $340 million worldwide, and received acclaim from critics, who praised its originality and atmosphere, as well as the acting, direction, and sound design, calling it a "smart, wickedly frightening good time." A sequel is scheduled to be released on May 15, 2020.

Plot[edit]

Over three months in 2020, most of Earth's human and animal populations have been wiped out by sightless creatures of unknown origin. The creatures, attacking anything that makes noise, have hypersensitive hearing and indestructible, armored skin.

The Abbott family – wife Evelyn, husband Lee, congenitally deaf daughter Regan, and sons Marcus and Beau – silently scavenge for supplies in a deserted town. While out in the open, the family communicates with American Sign Language (ASL). Four-year-old Beau is drawn to a battery-powered space shuttle toy, but Lee takes it away due to the noise it makes. Regan returns the toy to Beau, who also takes the batteries that his father removed from it. Beau activates the toy when the family is walking home and crossing a bridge, giving away his location to a nearby creature which kills him before Lee can save him.

Over a year later, Regan continues to struggle with guilt over her brother's death, Evelyn enters the final stages of pregnancy, and Lee fruitlessly tries to make radio contact with the outside world. Lee attempts to upgrade Regan's cochlear implant with scavenged miniature amplifiers to restore her hearing, but the devices are ineffective. Later, Lee takes Marcus to a nearby river with a large waterfall to teach him to fish while Regan visits Beau's memorial. Lee explains to Marcus that they are safe from the creatures in the presence of louder sounds, as the sounds mask out their voices. Marcus then reveals that Regan blames herself for Beau's death and needs her father to tell her he still loves her. Alone at the house, Evelyn goes into labor earlier than expected. While making her way to their basement, she steps on an exposed nail. In pain, she accidentally drops a glass picture frame and alerts a nearby creature. Evelyn flips a switch that changes the exterior house lights to red as a danger signal to the others and struggles to remain silent during her contractions.

Arriving at the farm and seeing the lights, Lee instructs Marcus to set off fireworks as a diversion. Arriving at the house, Lee finds Evelyn hiding in the bathroom with their newborn son and, along with Evelyn, makes his way to their improvised soundproofed basement. Lee leaves to find the other children, promising Evelyn he will protect them. Evelyn then falls asleep but soon wakes to discover that the barn basement is flooded with water from a broken pipe and that a creature is stalking her.

Regan, hurrying back to the farm, takes refuge atop a grain silo with Marcus, lighting a fire to alert their father of their whereabouts. However, they run out of lighter fluid and the fire dies before they can attract Lee's attention. A hatch door then suddenly gives way, and Marcus falls into the silo. The sound of the door falling distracts the creature, now targeting Marcus and Regan, that was stalking Evelyn. Marcus sinks into the corn and nearly suffocates, but Regan jumps in and saves him before he becomes entrapped. Regan's cochlear implant reacts to the proximity of the creature by emitting a high-frequency sound that drives it away. The children proceed to escape from the silo and reunite with their father.

The creature returns, attacking and wounding Lee, while Marcus and Regan hide in a pickup truck. After seeing his father wounded, Marcus shouts impulsively, attracting the creature to the truck. Due to its unpleasant sound, Regan turns her cochlear implant off for the first time,[6] unaware of the fact that it could have potentially driven the creature away. Lee signs to Regan that he loves her and always has, before sacrificing himself by yelling to draw the creature away from his children.[7] Regan and Marcus roll the truck down a hill to escape and reunite with Evelyn and the baby at the farmhouse.

The four then retreat to the house's basement.[8] When the creature returns, Regan, who realizes that the sound made by the implant distresses the creature,[8] switches the device back on and places it on a nearby microphone, magnifying the feedback. Painfully disoriented, the creature exposes the flesh beneath its armored head, which Evelyn shoots, killing it. The family views a CCTV monitor, showing two creatures attracted by the noise of the shotgun blast approaching the house. With their newly acquired knowledge of the creatures' weakness, the members of the family arm themselves and prepare to fight back.[8]

Cast[edit]

  • Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott, a doctor, wife of Lee, and the mother to their three children, Regan, Marcus, and Beau. Krasinski describes her character as wanting to ensure that their children "be fully-formed, fully-thinking people."
  • John Krasinski, as Lee Abbott, an engineer, husband of Evelyn, and the father of Regan, Marcus, and Beau. Krasinski described his character as a survivalist who focuses on getting his family through each day.[9]
  • Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott, Lee and Evelyn's deaf daughter, and Marcus' and Beau's older sister. Krasinski said he sought a deaf actress "... for many reasons; I didn't want a non-deaf actress pretending to be deaf. Most importantly though, because a deaf actress would help my knowledge and my understanding of the situations tenfold. I wanted someone who lives it and who could teach me about it on set."[9]
  • Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott, the oldest son of Lee and Evelyn, and Regan's and Beau's brother. Krasinski noticed Jupe in the 2016 miniseries The Night Manager and later saw an early screening of the 2017 film Suburbicon to evaluate Jupe's performance.[9]
  • Cade Woodward as Beau Abbott, the younger son of Lee and Evelyn.
  • Ezekiel and Evangelina Cavoli as newborn Baby Abbott.
  • Leon Russom as a man in the woods, whose wife was killed by the creatures.

Production[edit]

Development and writing[edit]

A Quiet Place is a production of Sunday Night and Platinum Dunes;[1] it was produced on a budget of $17 million.[10] Krasinski wrote the screenplay with story co-writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. Beck and Woods grew up together in the US state of Iowa, and had watched numerous silent films in college. By 2013, they began working on the story that would lead to the film. They used their experience growing up close to farmland as the basis, including a grain silo setting as a place considered dangerous in their upbringing. They initiated their approach with a 15-page proof of concept.[11] Initially, the writers had considered developing the film into a Cloverfield installment, but after pitching their ideas to the studio collectively, all of those involved decided to keep the film its own entity.[12]

In January 2016, Beck and Woods began writing A Quiet Place in earnest.[13] Krasinski read their spec script the following July.[14] The concept of parents protecting their children appealed to him, especially as his second child with actress Emily Blunt had just been born.[9] Blunt encouraged him to direct the film.[14] By March 2017, Paramount had bought Beck and Woods's spec script. The studio hired Krasinski to rewrite the script and direct the film, which was his third directorial credit and his first for a major studio.[15] Krasinski cited cinematic influences including Alien (1979), No Country for Old Men (2007), and In the Bedroom (2001) when writing a new draft.[16] Initially, Blunt did not want to be cast in the film but after reading it on a plane, she immediately told her husband "I need to do it."[14] He agreed, and they were both cast in the starring roles.[15]

Filming[edit]

A photo (taken in daytime) of some of a bridge which is near vegetation
The Springtown Truss Bridge on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, used as a location in the film

Production took place from May to November 2017 in Dutchess and Ulster counties in upstate New York. Filmmakers spent their budget locally, including a purchase of 20 tons of corn, which they hired local farmers to grow. Some filming took place on a soundstage in the town of Pawling in Dutchess County, as well as on-location in the county's city of Beacon.[17] Filming also took place on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in New Paltz of Ulster County, using the Springtown Truss Bridge.[18] Outside Dutchess and Ulster counties, filming took place on Main Street in Little Falls in Herkimer County, New York.[19]

Sound and music[edit]

During filming, the crew avoided making noise so diegetic synchronized sounds (e.g., the sound of rolling dice on a game board) could be recorded; the sounds were amplified in post-production. A traditional musical score was also added, which Krasinski justified in wanting audiences to remain familiar with watching a mainstream film, and not feel like part of a "silence experiment."[20]

Supervising sound editors Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn worked on A Quiet Place. For scenes from the perspective of the deaf daughter, sound was removed to put greater focus on the visual. They also advised on organizing shots to reflect the creatures' perspective, like showing them noticing a sound, then showing what was causing the sound. Composer Marco Beltrami provided the sound editors music to work with in a way that would not interfere with the sound design throughout the film.[21]

In the film, creatures are blind and communicate through clicking sounds. Aadahl and Van der Ryn said they were inspired by animal echolocation, such as that employed by bats. The sound of feedback, normally avoided by sound editors, was woven into the story at a loudness level that would not bother audiences too much.[22]

Use of sign language[edit]

Because the characters communicate in American Sign Language to avoid making sound, filmmakers hired deaf mentor Douglas Ridloff to teach ASL to the actors and to be available to make corrections. The filmmakers also hired an ASL interpreter for deaf actress Simmonds, so that spoken and signed language could be interpreted back and forth on set.[23] Simmonds, who is growing up with ASL, helped teach her fellow actors to sign.[24] She said of the need to practice ASL, "In the movie, we've been signing together for years and years. So it should look fluent."[25] She observed that the way the others used their sign language reflected their characters' motivations; the father had short and brief signs that showed his survival mentality, while the mother had more expressive signs as part of her wanting her children to experience more than survival.[26] Krasinski said Simmonds's character was "a little bit of the warrior princess, the black sheep in the family," and that she used "signing that's very defiant, it's very teenage defiant."[27]

Simmonds said that for a scene in which her character fights with her father in sign language, she suggested for the daughter to rebel rather than cower as in the script. She also said that at the end of the film, the script originally had the father sign to his daughter "I love you," but she suggested for him to follow with "I've always loved you" to make up for their arguing earlier in the film, which prompted Krasinski to cry.[7]

The producers Andrew Form and Bradley Fuller said they initially planned not to provide on-screen subtitles for sign-language dialogue with "context clues," but realized that for the scene in which the deaf daughter and her hearing father argue about the modified hearing aid, subtitles were necessary. The producers subsequently added subtitles for all sign-language dialogue in the film. Producer Brad Fuller said, "And I think once you put one subtitle in, you subtitle the whole movie. You don't take liberties like, 'Oh they probably know what I love you is, but we don't subtitle it.' It's just gonna live everywhere and that's the world we live by."[28]

Creature design[edit]

Production designer Jeffrey Beecroft headed the creature design, and Industrial Light & Magic created the creatures, led by visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar. The director wanted the creatures to look like they had evolved to no longer need eyes, and to be "somewhat humanoid" in nature. Farrar said the initial creature design showed them with rhinoceros-like horns out of their faces, later redesigned. Vanity Fair reported, "The team immediately set about pulling references; prehistoric fish, black snakes, and bats, particularly their movement patterns. Inspiration was also drawn from bog people: cadavers that have been mummified in peat, turning the skin black and giving it a sagging, leathery look."[29]

Marketing[edit]

Paramount Pictures released the first trailer for A Quiet Place in November 2017.[30] It aired a 30-second commercial for the film during the US football playoff Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018.[31] Of the seven trailers that aired during the playoff, A Quiet Place and Red Sparrow were shown during the pregame and had the lowest views and social conversations. A Quiet Place had 149,000 views on YouTube, 275,000 views on Facebook, and 2,900 social conversations.[32][33] On February 12, 2018, Krasinski appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to present the full trailer for A Quiet Place.[34]

Release[edit]

Premiere[edit]

A Quiet Place premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival as the opening-night film on March 9, 2018.[35] It was selected from 2,458 submissions,[36] and earned "raves" from critics, according to IndieWire.[37] Following its premiere, the film experienced social media growth to under 52 million views across multiple platforms, outpacing Get Out (2017), which had 46.9 million views.[10]

Box office forecast[edit]

The Tracking Board reported on March 14, "The stellar reviews out of SXSW, coupled with the fact that there isn't anything like it in the marketplace, should help it stand out among its bigger-budget competition."[38] Deadline Hollywood said on March 15 that the film was projected to gross around $20 million in its opening weekend.[10] Variety reported on March 27 that the film "is tracking to open between" $16 million and $30 million,[39] which reached a basement of low-$20 million by the week of its release.[40]

BoxOffice initially estimated on February 9, 2018 that A Quiet Place would gross $17 million in its opening weekend, and that it would gross a total of $60 million in the United States.[41] By March 30, it increased its estimate to an opening weekend gross of $27.5 million and a US total gross of $85 million.[42] The magazine said the film's trailer was well-received online and that it appeared frequently in previews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. BoxOffice wrote, "The horror genre has also shown a knack for over-performing against expectations at the box office in recent years, setting this release up for potential success." It added that A Quiet Place would have to compete against another horror film, Truth or Dare, which would be released the following weekend.[41] The magazine's staff drew "very favorable" comparisons between A Quiet Place and the 2016 films 10 Cloverfield Lane and Don't Breathe.[43]

Theatrical run[edit]

A Quiet Place was first commercially released in theaters in the first week of April 2018 in multiple territories, including North America.[44] A Quiet Place has grossed $188 million in the United States and Canada, and $152.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $340.7 million.[45]

Paramount Pictures released the film in 3,508 theaters in the United States and Canada on April 6, 2018, alongside Blockers, Chappaquiddick, and The Miracle Season.[46] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 81% overall positive score and a 63% "definite recommend".[47] The film made $19 million on its first day (including $4.3 million from Thursday night previews at 2,750 theaters), increasing weekend projections to $47 million. Unlike most horror films, which are front-loaded on Friday and suffer drops the rest of the weekend, A Quiet Place made $19.1 million on Saturday. It went on to debut to $50.2 million, topping the box office and marking the biggest opening for a Paramount film since Star Trek Beyond in July 2016.[47] To that point, it was second biggest domestic debut of 2018, behind Black Panther.[48]

The film made $32.9 million in its second weekend, dropping 34% (better than the 50+% that horror films normally see) and finishing second at the box office, behind newcomer Rampage ($35.7 million).[49] The hold represented the second-best-ever second weekend for a scary movie behind It.[50] The film regained the top spot the following week, grossing $20.9 million (a 36% drop),[51] but dropped back down to second place the following weekend behind newcomer Avengers: Infinity War with $10.7 million.[52]

Through its first two weeks of international release, the film had made $51.7 million, with its top markets being the United Kingdom ($9.2 million), Mexico ($5.1 million), Australia ($4.6 million), Brazil ($3.9 million), Indonesia ($3.4 million), the Philippines ($2.7 million)[53] and Taiwan ($1.9 million). It also debuted to $2.2 million in Russia, the biggest-ever opening for a Paramount horror film in the country.[54] In its third weekend overseas, it dip only 37% for a $15 million from 57 markets.[55] In its fourth weekend in international markets, it grossed $6.6 million.[55] As of May 20, 2018, the film's largest markets were United Kingdom ($16.3 million), Australia ($9.3 million), Mexico ($7.5 million) and Brazil ($6.9 million).[56][57] The film was released in China on May 18 and made $17.7 million from 8,731 screens in its opening weekend.[58]

Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 95% based on 301 reviews, and an average rating of 8.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with a ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that's as original as it is scary – and establishes director John Krasinski as a rising talent."[59] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100, based on 55 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[60]

Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying, "The question Krasinski tackles is what defines a family and what's needed to preserve it? 'Who are we', asks Mom, 'if we can't protect our children?' The answers are worked out with satisfying complexity and genuine feeling, proving indeed that home is where family is. This new horror classic will fry your nerves to a frazzle."[61] The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore described the film as "a terrifying thriller with a surprisingly warm heart" and said, "You might have to go back to Jeff Nichols' 2011 Take Shelter to find a film that has used the fantastic this well to convey the combination of fear and responsibility a good parent feels."[62]

Variety's Owen Gleiberman said, "A Quiet Place is a tautly original genre-bending exercise, technically sleek and accomplished, with some vivid, scary moments, though it's a little too in love with the stoned logic of its own premise."[1] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 2.5 out of 4 stars and said, "My favorite moment, an encounter between Regan and one of the monsters in a cornfield, plays with sound and image and tension, creatively. Other bits are more shameless...I don't know if I'd call A Quiet Place enjoyable; it's more grueling than cathartic."[63]

Horror author Stephen King praised the film in a post on Twitter, "A QUIET PLACE is an extraordinary piece of work. Terrific acting, but the main thing is the SILENCE, and how it makes the camera's eye open wide in a way few movies manage."[64]

Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com called A Quiet Place "Krasinski's breakthrough as a triple-threat entertainer, but it's been a long time coming... By no accident, he's tackled the horror genre while relying on the unique strength that can be seen throughout his acting work, and one that has made him relatable as an everyman across TV and film—expressive silence."[65]

Commentary and themes[edit]

Speaking of the political and social commentary the film encouraged, Krasinski said, "The best compliment you can get on any movie is that it starts a conversation. The fact that people are leaving and talking about anything is really fun—but certainly about deep stuff like that, is awesome."[66] Krasinski, who did not grow up with horror films, said that prior films of the genre such as Don't Breathe (2016) and Get Out (2017) that had societal commentary were part of his research. In addition to considering his film a metaphor for parenthood, he compared the premise to US politics in 2018, "I think in our political situation, that's what's going on now: You can close your eyes and stick your head in the sand, or you can try to participate in whatever's going on." He cited Jaws (1975) as an influence, with how the protagonist police officer moved from New York to an island to avoid frightening situations, and was forced to encounter one in his new location with shark attacks.[67]

Matthew Monagle of Film School Rejects said A Quiet Place seemed to be "the early frontrunner for the sparsely intellectual horror movie of the year", like previous films The Babadook (2014) and The Witch (2015). Monagle said Krasinski, who had directed two previous films, was "making an unusual pivot into a genre typically reserved for newcomers", and considered it to be part of a movement toward horror films layered "in storytelling, [with] character beats not typically found in a horror movie".[68] Tatiana Tenreyro, writing for Bustle, said while A Quiet Place was not a silent film, "It is the first of its kind within the modern horror genre for how little spoken dialogue it actually has." She said the rare moments of spoken dialogue "give depth to this horror movie, showing how the narrative defies the genre's traditional films even further".[69]

Bishop Robert Barron was surprised by strikingly religious themes in the film. He likened the family's primitive, agrarian life of silence to monasticism, and commends their self-giving love. Barron noted the pervasive pro-life themes, especially in the choices of the parents, as Mrs. Abbott risks everything to give birth to a child, and her husband lays down his own life so that the children can live: what Barron sees as the ultimate expression of parental love.[70] Sonny Bunch of the Washington Post also commented and expanded on a pro-life message.[71]

Krasinski, who had recently become a father, said in a conference interview "I was already in a state of terror about whether or not I was a good enough father," and added that the meaning of parenthood had been elevated for him by imagining being a father in a nightmare world, struggling to simply keep his children alive.[72] Jonathan Hetterly, writing in Shrinktank, saw the film's whole premise as a commentary on modern American paranoid parenting, saying that Krasinski "viewed the premise as a metaphor for a parent's worst fears".[73]

Krasinski himself has told CBS News "The scares were secondary to how powerful this could be as an allegory or metaphor for parenthood. For me, this is all about parenthood."

Home media[edit]

A Quiet Place was released on Digital HD on June 26, 2018, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD on July 10, 2018.[74]

Sequel[edit]

In April 2018, Paramount Chair and CEO Jim Gianopulos said a sequel to the film was "in the works".[75][76] Screenwriters Woods and Beck had previously stated that they had begun thinking of ideas and set pieces for a possible second film.[77] In August 2018, Paramount scheduled the film for a May 15, 2020 release date.[78]

See also[edit]

Films with little or no dialogue

The British Film Institute listed the following noteworthy films with little or no dialogue:[79]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "A Quiet Place (15)". British Board of Film Classification. March 26, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
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  7. ^ a b Wakeman, Gregory (April 6, 2018). "Millicent Simmonds made John Krasinski cry with her integral change to the end of 'A Quiet Place'". Metro. Retrieved April 11, 2018. Just before the final sequence in the film, though, which you can read all about here, we see the death of John Krasinksi's Lee, who sacrifices himself for his two children by screaming and thus attracting the attention of the blind monsters. Lee's last act is to sign to his two children that he has 'always' loved them. Originally, though, he just signed, 'I love you.' But during my recent interview with Millicent Simmonds, the teenage actress recalled that she was the one that told the co-writer and director John Krasinski to make a slight alteration to this moment.
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