A Quiet Place, the new film from Paramount Pictures, follows a family living in a secluded farmhouse that must stay absolutely silent. They use sign language at the dinner table and pad their every step lest they alert something to their presence. What that something is, we don’t know, but it has already shown it’s destructive power on the family’s staircase. When a game of Monopoly goes awry (don’t they always?) the family must find a way to survive against an unimaginable horror that stalks their every move.
“If they can’t hear you, they can’t hunt you.”
So goes the first teaser trailer for A Quiet Place, next spring’s entry for atmospheric horror film of the year. John Krasinski (The Office, 13 Hours) and his real-life spouse Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train, Edge of Tomorrow) star in the upcoming supernatural horror film produced by Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes. Krasinski is directing the film, his third feature after The Hollars (2016) and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2008), based on a script written by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods.
Used correctly, sound (or lack thereof) in horror films can be just as effective at instilling fear and foreboding as anything you can do visually. Background sounds and noises force you to listen intently, searching for the slightest change in audio to mark the coming of the beast. In the 1973 masterpiece The Exorcist, director William Friedkin inserted animal sounds into the background of the film (most notably a swarm of bees and dogs fighting) to alert our primal brain to the danger ahead. This subliminally caused an uneasiness in the audience that could not be explained by the images on the screen. The same can be achieved with silence, as this trailer shows. We are drawn into a false sense of comfort by the silent background, only to have that comfort ripped away from us at the sound of the lantern shattering. It’s very effective in the trailer and it will be interesting to see how they use it in the full-length film.
A Quiet Place will arrive at a theater near you on April 6th, 2018. We here at Nightmare on Film Street will be all over this release, so be sure to check back for further details.