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Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Quiet Place: A Praise Song to Parenting; Not Very Scary

“A Quiet Place” has received very enthusiastic reviews. I thought it was merely okay. I was not scared for one second, and one goes to films like this to be frightened. “A Quiet Place” is a praise song to parents and parenting, and that may be why the film was not able to work its magic on me.

Monsters stalk the land, in the case, a rural corn farm in upstate New York. Few survivors remain. The Abbott family – a mother, father, and three children – are eking out their existence the only way they can: quietly. The monsters are blind and hunt by sound.

The word “abbot” means “father.” Remember Jesus calling his father “abba.” “A Quiet Place” is a praise song to John Krasinski’s role as Lee Abbott, the father in this film, and to fathers in general. Lee does everything for his family, and I do mean everything. If you want to see a movie that deeply respects fathers and fatherhood, go see “A Quiet Place.”

Evelyn Abbott is very maternal. Her status as a mother is emphasized in the most biological of ways. Regan Abbott is their deaf daughter. Just like Regan in “King Lear,” this Regan has daddy issues. The family drama plays out with monsters arriving every now and then to attempt to eat someone.

The film is a series of set pieces, showing a survivalist family trying to outwit fate with jerry-rigged gizmos. Just imagine what a Mr Fixit Dad would do to your home and property if he were trying to defeat blind monsters that hear well. I wish more use had been made of duct tape, every do-it-yourselfer’s best friend.

Quite a few of the set-pieces are rather sadistic. The filmmakers do whatever it takes to place each character in unique peril, pain, and agony. One scene was highly reminiscent of a frequently repeated motif, involving sound and those humans most likely to make noise, from Holocaust movies. I was alienated by this sadism. It began to feel manipulative and, at one point at least, completely unbelievable.

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