spacetime coordinates: 2020 – 2021 upstate New York
Speaking of the political and social commentary the film encouraged, director Krasinski said, “The best compliment you can get on any movie is that it starts a conversation. The fact that people are leaving and talking about anything is really fun—but certainly about deep stuff like that, is awesome.” Krasinski, who did not grow up with horror films, said that prior films of the genre such as Don’t Breathe (2016) and Get Out (2017) that had societal commentary were part of his research. In addition to considering his film a metaphor for parenthood, he compared the premise to US politics in 2018, “I think in our political situation, that’s what’s going on now: You can close your eyes and stick your head in the sand, or you can try to participate in whatever’s going on.” He cited Jaws (1975) as an influence, with how the protagonist police officer moved from New York to an island to avoid frightening situations, and was forced to encounter one in his new location with shark attacks.
Matthew Monagle of Film School Rejects said A Quiet Place seemed to be “the early frontrunner for the sparsely intellectual horror movie of the year”, like previous films The Babadook (2014) and The Witch (2015). Monagle said Krasinski, who had directed two previous films, was “making an unusual pivot into a genre typically reserved for newcomers”, and considered it to be part of a movement toward horror films layered “in storytelling, [with] character beats not typically found in a horror movie”. Tatiana Tenreyro, writing for Bustle, said while A Quiet Place was not a silent film, “It is the first of its kind within the modern horror genre for how little spoken dialogue it actually has.” She said the rare moments of spoken dialogue “give depth to this horror movie, showing how the narrative defies the genre’s traditional films even further”.
Bishop Robert Barron was surprised by strikingly religious themes in the film. He likened the family’s primitive, agrarian life of silence to monasticism, and commends their self-giving love. Barron noted the pervasive pro-life themes, especially in the choices of the parents, as Mrs. Abbott risks everything to give birth to a child, and her husband lays down his own life so that the children can live: what Barron sees as the ultimate expression of parental love. Sonny Bunch of the Washington Post also commented and expanded on a pro-life message.
Krasinski, who had recently become a new father, said in a conference interview “I was already in a state of terror about whether or not I was a good enough father,” and added that the meaning of parenthood had been elevated for him by imagining being a father in a nightmare world, struggling to simply keep his children alive. Jonathan Hetterly, writing in Shrinktank, saw the film’s whole premise as a commentary on modern American paranoid parenting, saying that Krasinski “viewed the premise as a metaphor for a parent’s worst fears”.
Krasinski himself has told CBS News “The scares were secondary to how powerful this could be as an allegory or metaphor for parenthood. For me, this is all about parenthood.” (wiki)
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