APRIL 6, 2018 -- The intelligent thriller. They cover several cross genres from years back. "Forbidden Planet" and "Alien" were the classic sci-fi/horror/thriller. "Psycho" was the classic horror/slasher/thriller. "Paranormal Activity" was a classic low budget horror/thriller. These are films that develop so much anticipatory suspense, everything else is secondary.


From the opening scene of his newest film, you know that actor/director John Krasinski understands the concept. "A Quiet Place" gets and keeps you involved by making you wait for a character to make a mistake. In that first scene, you quickly learn the penalty for making a mistake - an even small innocent mistake... immediate, gruesome death.


Krasinski stars as Lee, who along with his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) are surrounded by seemingly indestructible creatures who hunt by sound. They are blind but have extremely acute hearing and with radar-like precision lock in and destroy the maker of the sound be it man, woman, animal, or little child. We don't know their reason for existing other than to feast on creatures of earth.

Humanity has been decimated, hiding in small groups in utter silence; the groups communicate with each other with signal fires at night. Lee's small family carries on with everything padded and muffled. They go to town for groceries in the now abandoned stores, they fish, they play Monopoly in total silence. But there is always the chance of a mistake and Krasinski keeps the audience waiting for the mistake.


Director Robert Wise successfully kept the audience spellbound in his classic war movie "Run Silent, Run Deep" with the submarines running silent so as to avoid detection. Director Vincent McEveety adapted the premise in 1966 with Star Trek: Balance of Terror with the Enterprise in a silent mode while a Romulan ship lurked. More recently in 2015, Fede Alvarez directed "Don't Breathe" which featured a blind killer using his instincts to track down three intruders; they must remain silent to avoid detection.


But you know there will be a mistake, the only question is when. Krasinski maintains the suspense and reveals the mistakes at well timed intervals. The key being well-timed. The film's pace never lets up with a running time of 90-minutes, the final confrontation does not disappoint.


Blunt and Krasinski rock their roles as desperate parents struggling to keep their children alive. Simmonds provides the obligatory troubled character who has cost the family once before with an error of judgement. Krasinski pays great attention to detail with even background headlines depicting that everyone is on their own in the crisis.


Alas the film bares a striking resemblance to the German film "The Silence", due out later this year which gives an origin of the creatures; this film never explains how the creatures came to be, we only know they exist.


"A Quiet Place" is a well paced, suspenseful thriller that draws you in to the sound of silence and keeps your own sense aroused as you wait for the inevitable noisy mistake.   -- GRADE B+ --   GEOFF BURTON