REVIEW: 'A Quiet Place' will stun you into silence

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(CNN Philippines) - If the events of "A Quiet Place" happened in Metro Manila, we are all dead meat. Unless it's Holy Week, our city of videoke-loving residents  and indiscreet rumor-mongers doesn't have a shot at surviving against monsters who prey on anyone who makes a sound.

The gimmick of the John Krasinski film rings a bell. In 1999, Joss Whedon, writer and director of "The Avengers," played with the absence of sound in the episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Hush." It similarly stripped away the convenience of witty banters and highlighted masterful acting in telling an engrossing story. But even having watched that, "A Quiet Place" still comes out as a refreshing horror movie.

The movie's premise is simple. In a post-apocalyptic world, Krasinski (who also directed and co-wrote the film) has to look out for his pregnant wife (played by his real-life spouse Emily Blunt) and their three children against the creatures who hunt by sound. Viewers will be stunned by their every attempt to keep silent, from avoiding squeaky wood floors to controlling themselves from crying or screaming in pain.

The deft script that focuses on the family dynamic makes the audience care about the characters. They are not action hero archetypes we often see in post-apocalyptic shows like "The Walking Dead." It's a normal family with adults who are lost in parenting and with children who don't follow rules. Much of the tension and anxiety ironically comes from them rather than the creatures. Despite this, they seem to be more ingenious in making themselves tactically prepared for every scenario, including making their pathways and rooms soundproof.

While some jump scares are red-herring fake-outs, they mostly come at the right time. This is a family trying to be courageous while acknowledging that they are terrified. It won't be surprising if you find yourself holding your breath as you watch the characters hold theirs. If you ever notice that, you would know it is movie magic at work.

Make no mistake. "A Quiet Place" is not a silent film. But when characters do talk or make a sound, they cleverly use it at every turn. This reminds me of a documentary teacher who taught us that the best videos will be able to tell a story without voiceovers or sound.  First two-thirds of the running time does not even have spoken words. It is amazing how the filmmakers turn the narrative's limitation to highlight other strengths of a film as a medium.

Brilliantly crafted, "A Quiet Place" will scare you and move you to tears. But by the end of the movie, you will find yourself cheering. This falls under this author's best horror movies of all time. Tip toe quickly to the cinema once it comes out. Stay away from the spoilers and bring a movie buddy to clutch on.

"A Quiet Place" will premiere on April 11 in the Philippines. It's Rated R-13.