Warning: Spoilers Ahead • 2nd Viewing
Whoever hammered a nail upside-down into that stairway plank must have a really twisted sense of humor.
Rarely do I have “drastic” changes when it comes to my opinion on a movie, let alone to THIS extent; I genuinely want to ask little me from 3 years ago on what I was thinking when giving this film a “B+”, but my only basis as to why that may have happened lies in my habit to get into the same hype that the majority of people had for this movie, considering the circumstances of it being shockingly directed by a beloved star of The Office and its eye-catching premise that nobody could stop talking about. But to be fair, however, I still almost like the entire first half of this movie; Kransinski slowly eases us into the lifestyle and psychological circumstances surrounding the family at hand before actually transitioning into the onslaught of conflict. Minus the royalty-free sounding soundtrack — which would’ve made this first half better without it, concentrating even more on the silent nature of the environment —, I really appreciated how the movie took its time to let us sink into a family balancing in the despair of their past while focusing on the necessity of their survival as well. But the moment when that random old guy screams is the moment when the writing for me turns to absolute s**t, abandoning and almost butchering the promise that it had initiated.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a horror movie praised to such an extent that had this many cheap and false-alarm jump scare sound effects. It’s a wonder too that this is often considered a masterful suspense builder when nearly every instance of danger is caused by something so inconceivably arbitrary that I’m taken out of its realism from the moment they start. The disappointing part is that there are knack ideas of intensity lurking at hand here, whether that be a mother forced to give birth while simultaneously being hunted or children being swallowed by a silo of corn, yet it’s the actual execution of how they happen that feels contrived. But, maybe the greatest offender of the second half is how it attempts to incorporate its themes into the horror, abandoning its patience from the start with on-the-nose ways of telling the audience how characters feel or change. My least favorite scene in all of the movie is that dialogue dump where Evelyn gives her corny and out-of-place (considering the dire situation) “protect them” speech to her husband; it sounded like a compiling of unnecessary trailer lines made into a seam of familial incentive that we don’t need when a movie already spent 40 minutes establishing the main objective of Lee’s parenting ethos through mostly quiet but revealing visuals. I’ve always hated the scene as well where Lee lethargically takes his time to say “I love you” in sign language to his daughter who’s currently being attacked by one of these creatures; it’s just an unbelievably over-empathized use of pathos that derived me from any tension left of the danger that the three were currently in, and a cartoonish method of wrapping a bow around Lee’s arc that the movie had set up in its first half pretty decently.
There are only two possible reasons as to how all these terrible situations could have possibly happened all in one day and by the manner that they happened, and that is either: 1) the writers are just lazy or 2) God just REALLY hates this family for some reason.
“A Quiet Place” is now available to rent on Amazon Prime.