The baseline test of a good horror movie is whether it can scare the bejesus out of an audience. A truly great horror movie, on the other hand, is one that resonates beyond the theater by commenting on the times that the audience is living in. For instance, George A. Romero’s 1978 classic, Dawn of the Dead, isn’t just a killer zombie flick; it’s also a trenchant warning against the mindless consumerism that defined the late ’70s and ’80s. Likewise, David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of The Fly can be analyzed as a serious case of body horror in the midst of the ’80s AIDS epidemic.
While it wasn’t conceived as such, it’s striking how the new monster movie A Quiet Place speaks directly to real-world events unfolding right now. Or, more accurately, doesn’t speak. Directed by John Krasinski, the film, which opens in theaters on April 6, takes place in a world where creatures who feed on sound have wiped out much of the populace. That forces the survivors — including Lee and Evelyn Abbott (played by Krasinski and his real-life wife, Emily Blunt) and their two children (Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe) — to lead noiseless existences lest they too become monster food.
What makes this premise uniquely relevant to 2018 is that we’re living in a time when speaking up matters more than ever. Through movements like #MeToo, which calls attention to victims of sexual harassment and abuse, as well as the gun-safety-focused #NeverAgain, ordinary citizens are finding new power in raising their voices. “The truth is, I didn’t think about that,” Krasinski confessed to Yahoo Entertainment when we interviewed him and the cast of A Quiet Place recently. “I wasn’t smart enough to think about that while making the movie. But now that people are talking about it, it’s very moving to me. I think that’s incredible. I think one of the greatest compliments you can have as a director is that your movie creates a conversation. This is a time where raising your voice … that’s something we all must admire and support. … You have to look at these kids and be inspired, because there’s a strength in those kids that doesn’t come around very often.”
It wasn’t lost on anyone that we were discussing A Quiet Place on the same day that millions of Americans were speaking up about gun safety by participating in the 800-plus March for Our Lives events taking place across the country. Organized by survivors of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Fla., these rallies demonstrated the strength of the #NeverAgain movement and the tenacity of its young leaders. “It’s just the most exciting, inspiring day,” said Blunt. “You’re crazy if you don’t admire these kids.” The movie’s younger stars — who are on the cusp of entering their teenage years — were equally eloquent in their support of the young marchers. “I think it’s really amazing that kids know that they can fight,” Simmonds, who is deaf, said through an interpreter. “There’s value in the world for everyone’s voice, not just a certain segment. … We’re all one family, in the end, and one world; even though we all have different languages and we’re from different cultures, we’re still one world.”
A Quiet Place premieres Friday, April 6.
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