6 June 2018

The Sound Of Silence

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I put a lot of thought into exactly when I'd go and see John Krasinski's A Quiet Place because people are noisy and I fucking hate them all. Horror movies are the worst type of film to see at the cinema because the posters for them might as well just read “All pricks are welcome”. Teenagers go in crowds to see them to show how brave they are to each other, accidentally get scared, and so to avoid seeming silly begin to openly mock the film to their gaggle of piss-giggling chums. My theory was that I'd likely be stuck with the largest number of fuckheads in an evening screen, with Friday and Saturday night especially being the cinema-equivalent of a bell-end's Mecca. As such I decided to go on a Sunday afternoon because who the fuck wants to spend that day relaxing to a sodding monster film? There are two types of 'Sunday people' with half the population spending it hungover and the other half praising God. Either way I figured I was safe. You can imagine my horror therefore when I opened the door to the screen and saw half of the fucking country sat and waiting for the film to start. I know I shouldn't think it when I go the cinema but I really did wish I'd brought a fucking axe with me.

The reason that I was so worried about the noise level for this film was because, as the title might suggest, it was going to be a quiet one. Therefore any old wanker with a packet of crisps or a desire to chat would ruin the entire experience as completely as meeting your parents at an orgy. Set in the near-future, the film depicts a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity has seemingly been almost destroyed by a creature that hunts exclusively via sound. The monsters are completely blind and don't seem to have an especially good sense of smell which is lucky because if I was a character in this film, I would definitely shit my pants if I saw one. However they have such an acute sense of hearing that if you were to make even the slightest noise then they'd appear almost instantly to violently slice you up with their claws and then eat you. Essentially they're the kind of creature that I dream about having as a pet to take to the fucking cinema with me. Rather than starting at the beginning of this situation, we're instead dropped into the middle of it as Krasinski, his wife Emily Blunt, and their three children, are out scavenging for supplies. They live in a farmhouse away from most other people and have completely rigged the place up to be as sound proof as possible. Although if the creatures do have super sensitive hearing then I'd just rig up a huge speaker, play non-stop fucking Green Day and watch the pricks flee.

Perhaps it's too strong to call A Quiet Place a horror movie because it's really more of a survivalist thriller with horror elements. Imagine the final scene of Alien in which Ripley is trapped in the escape-pod with the xenomorph or the basement scene in War Of The Worlds in which Tim Robbins goes mad and you're on the right lines. In many ways A Quiet Place would work as a great triple bill alongside 2015's The Survivalist and 2017's It Comes At Night in that all three show an end of the world scenario in which the few people left are just trying to get by. And speaking of things that come at night, it's worth mentioning that the tension in this movie is particularly fucking high because of Emily Blunt's character being pregnant. Now, I've never personally given birth, but from what I'm told, the act of having a tiny human explode from your genitals is at least a little painful. Plus babies tend to cry a hell of a lot which I've always assumed is due to the existential dread they feel having gone to so much effort to be part of our miserable world. If you're trying your best to be quiet in order to avoid being eaten by monsters then I can't help but think that Blunt's character has gone and made life a little trickier by getting knocked up. I don't want to give too much away, but obviously there's a scene in which Blunt has to give birth without screaming which is so tense that you'd think she was surrounded by fucking Scientologists.

Not that this is the only edge of the seat moment in the movie of course. My arse was clenched so tightly throughout that I half expected my pants to have been ripped off from the suction and devoured by my anus. Most horror movies rely on loud noises as a cheap jump scare but here they're lingered on so intently that they're more like jump gut-punches. The world of the film is completely believable too, with Krasinski and his family having thought of everything possible to avoid making sound. The floor is painted with stepping spots to avoid creaky floor boards, they all speak using sign-language, and none of them wear socks or shoes which occasionally makes this seem like a particularly fucked up scene from The Hobbit. Almost every possible scenario that could come up in the set-up of this movie seems to have been considered and thoughtfully explored. They do play Monopoly though which seems pretty fucking stupid to me. Fair enough that they've replaced all of the counters with bits of foam to cut down on noise. But what they seem to have forgotten is that it's fucking Monopoly! I've literally banned my friendship group from playing that twatting game because every time we do everybody gets so annoyed that the neighbours must surely be on the verge of calling the police on us for domestic fucking disturbance.

Of course all great horror movies must have some metaphorical relation to our real world troubles or anxieties and A Quiet Place is no exception. Krasinski claims that for him the film was a simple story about the fear of starting a family and the overwhelming desire to protect them from the threats of the world. However people have looked even deeper at it and concluded that in our world of anti-gun protests, it's about having your voice violently cut down by those in charge. On a more surface level- and ignoring the monsters- I'm sure we can all relate to the fears that the main characters feel. Who of us hasn't snuck about the house when our parents were asleep because we know that some dopey family member had left a Kit-Kat Chunky in the fridge downstairs. And what mother can't relate to the desire to have her crying baby shut up as she feels the social pressure of everybody else on the bus to just fling the screaming brat out of the fucking window? Not that any of this would matter without a great monster, I guess. Luckily this is another aspect in which the film also completely delivers with the efficiency of hiring The Flash as a fucking postman.

Generally it's best for horror movies to hide their creature as much as they can to avoid showing how silly it really looks. Just look at the xenomorph at the very end of Alien or even Hulk Hogan throughout the duration of Mr Nanny. However the monster here is regularly seen in all its glory and it's genuinely fucking creepy. It's head genuinely bothered me every-time I saw it as it was like a cross between the Demogorgon from Stranger Things and a pinecone made of shredded up dick-skin. Perhaps proof of the film's greatness though is that despite my initial worries about seeing this film at a cinema full of noisy humans, the packed screen remained silent and transfixed throughout. People gasped and let out small screams when they were supposed to but nobody talked over the film or even seemed to whisper to the person next to them. I mean there was some woman to my right that's stomach rumbled and there was a man to my left who breathed so loudly I thought he was making a dirty phone-call at one point. But I guess I can't be mad about things people can't control. The film was brilliant and I think the good behaviour of the audience was a testament to its power. Having said that I did notice that most of the people watching the film with me did seem unusually old for this kind of film. So I do wonder if they were all here by mistake having confused the title of the film with that room in the old folks home in which they're allowed to sit and think about things. In which case I congratulate them all for remaining quiet throughout this confusing and no doubt fucking terrifying couple of hours for them. Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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