Horror genre fatigue? Nowadays, a lot of horror movies rely on unnecessary jump scares, gratuitous violence and predictable storylines. But if there’s one horror flick this year that defied the odds and subverted tropes, it was John Krasinski‘s “A Quiet Place,” which opened on April 6. On the surface, it’s a simplistic story about a post-apocalyptic world, but at its core, it’s a story about the strength of family bonds. Could “A Quiet Place” be this year’s “Get Out” and get a Best Picture Oscar nomination?
Krasinski directed and starred in “A Quiet Place,” and co-wrote it with Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. Set in 2020, the horror-thriller follows a family that is forced into hiding after the Earth’s population has been wiped out by giant sightless creatures with an acute sense of hearing. As these creatures will attack anything that makes even the slightest sound, the family must remain silent at all times. Krasinski plays patriarch Lee Abbott, husband of Evelyn (Krasinski’s real-life wife Emily Blunt) and father of Marcus (Noah Jupe), Beau (Cade Woodward) and hearing-impaired Regan (Millicent Simmonds).
While the Abbott family is forced to remain silent, critics were not so quiet in their praise for the movie:
Ann Hornaday (The Washington Post): “At an efficient hour and a half, ‘A Quiet Place’ exemplifies cinematic storytelling at its most simple and inventive, using the pure grammar of sound and image to create a credible atmosphere of lived-in domesticity and looming terror.“
Eric Kohn (IndieWire): “Now, Krasinski has found the ideal material for a total reboot, delivering a crowdpleaser where the scares come not with a bang but whispers and silence. In a chaotic information age, it’s liberating to become immersed in a movie where noise can kill you.“
Stephanie Zacharek (Time): “Krasinski has made one of the most poetic horror movies of recent years. Its sound design alone is glorious, locating the infinite gradations in that thing we so casually call silence. ‘A Quiet Place,’ its shivery terrors aside, captures the imperfect textures of family life. Families are complicated even when monsters aren’t hunting them. And a glance often says more than even a whispered endearment can.”
In the era of remakes, sequels and adaptations, “A Quiet Place” triumphed in its originality, creativity and boldness. Despite the film’s familiar post-apocalyptic concept, it found a way to redefine its genre and add layers that made it only more engrossing. One of these layers was focusing on the family instead of building the story solely around mythology. It’s not about how this grueling situation came to be, but about how a family copes with it and finds a way to stick together. And perhaps most notably, the film highlighted American Sign Language as a means of communication and featured a hearing-impaired character and actress (Simmonds).
It’s a worthy Best Picture nominee, but can it really break into that category? Just last year, another horror-thriller, Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Peele), Best Original Screenplay (Peele) and Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), resulting in a screenplay victory Just like Peele, Krasinski is another comedic actor turned writer/director; “The Office” alum’s previous writing and directing credits include “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” (2009, writer and director), “Promised Land” (2012, writer) and “The Hollars” (2016, director). Krasinski was also an executive producer on Best Picture nominee “Manchester by the Sea” (2016).
That being said, “Get Out,” a searing racial satire, was riding a “social relevance” narrative, something that “A Quiet Place” doesn’t necessarily have, despite its emphasis on family bonds and the inclusion of a hearing-impaired character and actress.
But one thing is for sure: “A Quiet Place” is set to return to the big screen with a sequel, which is scheduled to be released on May 15, 2020.
What do you think? Is the academy going to embrace this 2018 juggernaut? Make sure to let us know in the comment section below.
Be sure to update your predictions today and include them in the supporting categories if you think they will be nominated. Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.