by Blaine Payer ’18
Do you hear that? That is the sound of A Quiet Place tip-toeing into the horror movie history books. John Krasinski’s nearly silent directorial debut crushed the box office and charmed the critics last weekend, raking in $50 million and quickly becoming the No. 1 movie in America.
With its innovative style and strong media campaign, A Quiet Place is likely to go down as a staple of the genre whose appeal stretches farther than unconventional gimmicks and Jim from The Office.
The first notable and untraditional aspect of this film was certainly its advertisement campaign, which surfaced several months ago. Rather than go the usual route and show its trailer on television and in movie theaters, Krasinski and his producers decided to turn to social media to garner excitement for the film.
Erik Childress of Rotten Tomatoes calls A Quiet Place “a word-of-mouth monster,” citing the social media campaign as an enormous factor in its success thus far. A similar tactic was used by Warner Bros. when campaigning for It, last year’s underdog success story that has become one of the highest-grossing horror movies of all time.
Krasinski’s film is already the fifth film of 2018 to gross $100 million domestically and shows only a 34 percent drop in its second weekend, one of the lowest for a horror film in recent years.
It also beat out both Steven Spielberg’s passion-project Ready Player One for total domestic pull and was only narrowly outsold this weekend by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s critically lukewarm arcade game-turned-blockbusterRampage. With an audience score only 10 percent lower than its critical score, A Quiet Place also proves that even if audiences are showing up to see familiar names like Krasinski and Emily Blunt, they are leaving the theaters in awe and, likely, terrified.
The film proves to be a rollercoaster of surprises from its opening moments right up until the credits roll. The tension is at times unbearable, in no small part aided by the overwhelming silence, and lingers for the duration of the film with very few exceptions. Making a film almost completely void of dialogue was a risky move by Krasinski and surely worried some would-be fans coming into the film, but his masterful and patient directing made it so that the film never dragged or exhausted the gimmick.
The silence also had a profound effect on the audience, which, for the first time in years of seeing films at the Providence Place Mall, was completely silent the whole time. You could hear a pin drop in a packed theater, the sound of which likely would have caused much of the audience to jump and shriek.
The final element that impressed me, besides Krasinski and Blunt’s stellar performances, was the quality of the sound-hunting monsters. With a budget of only $17 million, it is clear that money was carefully allocated and spent where it matters. The largely computer-generated beasts never appeared cheesy or poorly done. Their presence was felt even when they were not on screen, and their image will surely remain with viewers long after the credits.
Hopefully this does not turn out to be Dwight’s most elaborate prank yet, since as of now A Quiet Place has the potential to be Paramount Pictures’ highest grosser in five years, as well as one of the best films of the year.