The film "Quiet Place" by American director John Krasinski was released for rent - a horror story about a post-apocalyptic world populated by insect-sensitive monsters. Life around movie observer Alisa Tayozhnaya watched “Quiet Place” and put it on a par with other important indie horror compatriots from Krasinski in recent years, including Oscar-winning “Off” and “It” by David Robert Mitchell.
A family of three is walking through an empty abandoned city - carefully, slowly, without making any sounds: after an unnamed catastrophe, America and, possibly, the whole planet were captured by gluttonous creatures appearing out of nowhere to any careless sound made by a person. Everything except a barely audible whisper compromises: coughing, laughter, song - and even more so a cry. In the cellar of a surviving family is a home radio station and a wall in newspaper clippings about how to escape from monsters. The main question on the board is a marker: what are their weaknesses? After months, vulnerabilities are still not found: blind creatures have phenomenal speed and reaction and seem invulnerable. Parents - loving husband and wife - have long come up with a detailed scheme of survival in silent dystopia: from food supplies and alarm signals to weapons and soundproofing systems. They need not only to save themselves, but also to ensure that growing children can take care of themselves. The eldest daughter is deaf-mute and needs constant adjustment of the hearing aid: for convenience, the whole family has been communicating with gestures for a long time and, perhaps, that is why it has adapted to postreality, where no one spends words in vain, and affection and guardianship become the main resource for salvation.
Living in a Quiet Place is fundamentally different from the way we are accustomed to: it is a routine survival, building barricades and taking care to save ourselves. The only outlet is headphones with your favorite song, dinner with a prayer read to yourself, conversations by the river and screaming under the waterfall: monsters hear only loud noises - being near a source of louder noise, you can relax for a few minutes. The speech, devalued in our chatty world, seems in “Quiet Place” an unnecessary luxury, a sign of a carefree and frivolous past, erased entirely. A productive, noisy and talkative society is forgotten: the time has come for micro-communities with a meditative rhythm and meager opportunities for self-expression.
The horror about the instinct of self-preservation and human super-ability to adapt shows a life in which you do not want to be in principle, but you do not have to choose. Life in the "Quiet Place" slows down and nails to the ground: everything mechanical, automatic, loud gives way to manual labor with gathering and clotheslines - the Americans of the 21st century, when they are deprived of speech and noise, resemble Amish. As in the case of a surviving family in another recent horror, “It Comes at Night,” which also didn’t make words, the paranoid father takes a rifle, the mother goes to the kitchen, and the children hesitate from anguish - they want to move, experience peace and play. The heroes of the film Krasinski cannot fully reveal themselves to us or to themselves and look conditional, sketchy: when you are in a permanent siege, you just lose face.
"Quiet Place" continues the well-known tendency of indie thrillers and horror to study obstacles and limitations. The action of the recent Cloverfield 10 narrowed to a bunker where three desperate people escaped from other gluttonous aliens. “Don’t breathe” unfolds entirely in the house of a blind veteran - an old man who is pumped up is blind, like the monsters of “Quiet Place”, and focuses only on the noise made by thieves in his house: talking and even breathing out loud is life-threatening. “Stay in my shoes” by Jonathan Glazer is crammed with an indiscriminate Scottish speech, but the main character also does not talk in vain, and the demonic soundtrack dictates the rhythm of the film. In the “Quiet Place”, a broken lantern, a creaking step and corn bushes are the same characters as people (remember the masterpiece of Brian De Palma's “Puncture”, built entirely on the sound of a torn tire), and this is an absolute fusion of the person and the things around him in the sound world can immerse the viewer in a trance: perceiving ourselves, the world and the cinema by four fifths through the eyes, we forget about the sound imprint of us and our actions.
Everyone who is not indifferent to scary genres knows that the most important American films of recent times - from Robert Eggers' Witch to David Robert Mitchell's Ono - should be looked for on the shelf with inexpensive scary films: this is where the real renaissance is happening now
All horror fans are well acquainted with the rhythm of the genre, where often the sound rather than the image presses the viewer into a chair. The alternation of suspense and détente and constant broken expectations hold the genre for more than half a century, and screaming is its built-in and never depreciating currency. The director of Quiet Place, John Krasinski, cancels this trick: the most monstrous thing in his universe must be lived in perspiration with his mouth shut, hoping for salvation until the last second. Both screams in the film are essentially suicidal missions. “Quiet Place” is generally a film about patience, about how to grit your teeth when your foot hit a huge sticking nail, when the monster came to devour you and your unborn baby, when the pack is on the top floor scouring for blood.
A critic at The New Yorker looked at the Silent Place portrait of a silent white man with a burden of forced silence (hence the saving white noise), but it seems that the experience of John Krasinski, starring himself and his real wife Emily Blunt, is primarily about automatic spectator empathy and ownership of attention. At a time when a husband and wife who are clearly still in love with each other are dancing to the song of Neil Young in the scene of the forced euthanasia of a child, all that one hopes is for these outsiders to survive by name. Just because they are people.
It is significant and interesting that Krasinski - an actor and director of a rather comedic sense - enters the territory of horror, quickly grasping the rules of the game and the potential of genre cinema. “Off”, which just won an Oscar for the best script of last year, is a similar attempt: it’s not the author of dozens of thrillers who finally receives the long-awaited award, but the independent debutant considered the possibility of telling a familiar story in a slightly different way in horror. Everyone who is not indifferent to scary genres knows that the most important American films of recent times - from Robert Eggers' Witch to David Robert Mitchell's Ono - should be looked for on the shelf with inexpensive scary films: this is where the real renaissance is happening now. "Quiet Place" is another well-made movie on this list of American successes.
photos: "Central Partnership"