Horror   (lite)

 

       A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place (2018) PG-13

Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Marcus Cad

Writers: John Kasinski, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck

Director: John Kasinski

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

This unusual "lite" horror/thriller film may not be "family friendly" in the traditional sense--due to some scary monster scenes (unless the children are teens)--but there are some laudable family values displayed throughout the movie worth emulating--unconditional love, forgiveness, sacrifice, putting your children before yourself and teaching them to survive in a hostile world.

The world situation is bleak--another dystopian landscape. Scene one opens with the Abbott family quietly scavenging for things in an abandoned store. Silence is a priority since alien creatures with extraordinary auditory sensitivities lurk everywhere and will arrive in seconds at any loud noises, which we discover rather quickly. 

Yet, despite the horrendous pressure to be quiet, these parents, Lee and Evelyn Abbott (played by husband and wife team in real life John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) keep a sense of family. They play Monopoly; they hold hands around the table with their children (which could be for silent prayer or simply for family solidarity); and they slow dance as a couple, when their children are in bed, listening to their favorite songs  through headphones.

Even Evelyn getting pregnant does not seem to phase them but foreshadows troubles to come. As a viewer, you cannot imagine how they can possibly keep a baby quiet consistently. Apparently, they have plans but when Evelyn's water breaks early when she is alone at home--let's say things get a little tense.

Fortunately, the dad has worked out some emergency procedures, but everyone has to do their part to activate them. Most of the movie shows the day-to-day family routines. Lee takes his fearful son to go fishing and explains that as long as there is a louder sound they can talk together. For example, he tells his son to yell while they are underneath a waterfall. Meanwhile, the oldest daughter Regan, who is deaf, feels unloved by her dad because of a grave mistake she made at the onset of the alien invasion. 

Regan learns later just how much her dad really loves her. All in all this is a relatively tame "horror" story. I saw it more as a family story with a little horror.The focus is not on the monsters but on a loving family trying to retain their love and dignity in the midst of unspeakable circumstances. There are no gory scenes except for a small,  furry animal getting squashed like a bug (you wonder how the thing could have lasted so long). 

Unfortunately, monsters do exist in the real world--both demons who want to kill, rob, and destroy us and also humans who have aligned themselves with the latter entities' dark schemes--either consciously or subconsciously. The truth of the Bible is we do not have to live in constant fear but as long as we submit to God we can "resist the devil" and he will flee from us (James 4:7). David also writes in Psalm 23 that "He (God) prepares a table for us in the midst of our enemies..." What I took away from this movie was: it is an awesome responsibility to care and protect our children and also...don't give up the fight no matter what the odds are against you.

  Quiet Place Part 2

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Quiet Place Part II (2021) PG-13

Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

Writer: John Krasinski

Director: John Krasinski

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Although I classified A Quiet Place as "horror lite" because of the few scenes with the monsters (which resemble Venom when they smile or rather snarl) this sequel is a bit heavier because there are many more tense scenes with the creatures. Yet, I see the movie more like Jurassic Park than a standard horror film. I still found it entertaining and captivating because of the bonding you felt with the Abbott family from the first round.  Seeing the husband and wife team of Krasinski and Blunt makes the affection between them more natural and their love for their film family more believable.

What some viewers may miss is the unspoken pro-life message of the movie. Though it may not have been intended by the filmmakers, the fact that Lee and Evelyn decided to have a baby in a world where noise can endanger their family's lives, speaks volumes about the value of the unborn. I'm glad they did not include a scene of Evelyn trying to stay quiet during the delivery, which would have attracted every alien on the planet.  Ardent pro-choice writers may have had her seeking a coat hanger or another instrument to abort the baby. The other children also do not complain about their parents' decision. They accept it as normal and do what they can to help take care for their younger sibling.

In terms of the plot, the story begins with a flashback where Lee and Evelyn's family are in town to watch their son play baseball, the day of the alien invasion.  We then fast-forward to the present and see a shotgun-toting Evelyn and her family leaving their home to seek help and support. They carry a box where they can put the baby with an oxygen mask in case of emergencies (like whenever she cries). This solution seems a bit of a stretch to think it could work long-term but you have to suspend logical thinking here. Regan also carries a small amplifier with a microphone, which comes in handy later, but not for karaoke. 

A harrowing scene follows as Evelyn trips a wire that unleashes dreaded sounds and the son, Marcus, gets caught in a bear trap while they start running from the aliens sure to come.  A person watches their every move through a scope showing them as targets.  They are rescued by the man, who we discover was their father's friend, Emmett, who we just met on the bleachers at the baseball game in the flashback. He confesses that he does not want to help them. He is fearful that they will jeopardize his own survival and wants them to leave as soon as possible.

Regan (played by real-life deaf actress Millicent Simmonds), however figures out that the song that goes out regularly through their radio is a message to survivors from an island not far away. Without her mother's approval she sets out to find the island. When Evelyn finds out what she has done she begs Emmett to go get her and bring her back because, another pro-life message, "she is worthy of life." In other words, disabled people have a right to life--a timely message to a world that is quick to abort Down syndrome children.

 

Director Krasinski keeps up the tension by going back and forth between Emmett and Regan's tense challenges to get to the island and Evelyn and Marcus's struggle to survive back at Emmett's bunker.

Regan becomes the hero in this sequel. At one point, Emmett admits to her, "You're more like him (her father Lee) than I am," but Emmett is inspired by her bravery and proves resourceful and courageous as well on their journey. 

It's obviously not a movie for small children but teenagers would like it as the young Abbotts also learn how to fight fear and win. A timely lesson for any age in a world bound by fear of other invisible, yet deadly microscopic monsters.

"Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

 

*A few foul words and several scary monster scenes. No gore.