“A Quiet Place” is high-concept horror at its best

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IN MOST cinemas, films are preceded by a polite request that patrons switch off their mobile phones. Wherever “A Quiet Place” is shown, that request should be upgraded to a legal requirement and transgressors should be frogmarched from the building. There is so little dialogue in this nerve-shredding post-apocalyptic survival chiller that it almost counts as a silent movie, and yet sound has rarely been more crucial to a story. The ingenious high-concept is that bloodthirsty, presumably alien, monsters have butchered most of humanity, but these near-indestructible crab-creatures are sightless so track their quarry using their super-sensitive ears. Silence, therefore, is more than golden. If somebody drops a cup or sneezes, they might well be punished with a foot-long claw through the belly, so any viewer who breaks the spell by letting their phone ring deserves a similar, if not so extreme, punishment.

Appropriately, considering that the characters dare not speak, the scenario unfolds according to the old screenwriting maxim that it is better…Continue reading

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