A well-crafted metaphor that is as inspiring as it is terrifying.
In a year filled with a plethora of super hero blockbusters, a new Star Wars film, and countless other buzz-worthy films, A Quiet Place was my favorite movie of 2018. The directorial debut of John Krasinski (of The Office fame) was a surprise box-office hit, sporting a pristine score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. The high praise is well-earned. A Quiet Place is skillfully crafted and masterfully produced, but its greatest impact comes in the metaphor it crafts. The film has enough genuine thrills to satisfy viewers who merely seek diverting entertainment, but for the viewers who look beneath the surface, A Quiet Place offers a timely and inspiring message to both challenge and encourage Christians.
About the Film
A Quiet Place is set in the near-future, after the world that has been devastated by mysterious creatures. The monsters are blind, but compensate for this with heightened hearing to ruthlessly hunt down any human or animal that makes a sound. Unlike most alien invasion movies, A Quiet Place is not about the invasion at all, but about the aftermath. Set a year after the invasion, the film focuses almost entirely on the Abbott family as they are forced to adapt to a silent life as they struggle to avoid drawing the attention of the blind creatures.
On the Surface—(Profanity, Sexual content, violence, etc.).
There are a few brief moments of violence/blood, although the violence is more implied than displayed on screen. There is no sexual content or profanity.
Beneath the Surface— (Themes, philosophical messages, worldview, etc.)
A Quiet Place is more a thriller than a traditional horror film. Unlike many of the trashy horror movies released in recent years, there is surprisingly (and refreshingly) very little blood or death to be found. At its core, the movie is about the power of life and survival, rather than a mindless desensitization of death and gore. The intrigue of the film is not in witnessing what new and gruesome ideas the directors conjured up to dispose of the paper-thin characters. instead, the viewer cheers on the characters as they fight to survive against all odds.
The most effective aspect of the film’s overarching metaphor is that there is no clear-cut answer to what it is a metaphor of. This is not a thinly conceived allegory for some obvious religious, political, or social issue, and the film is all the better because of this. In a manner fitting with the film’s story, A Quiet Place communicates its message through powerful images rather than obnoxious preaching.
The Abbot parents (played by real-life married couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) are challenged with preparing their children to navigate a brutal and unforgiving world. Adding to the tension is the pregnancy of Evelyn Abbot, and the looming trepidation of the sort of world they are bringing a newborn child into (a terror surely felt by the viewer as well). Yet, there is power in the Abbot’s determination to follow through with having the child. Life is worth the danger. Intentional or not, one would be hard pressed to find such a powerful pro-life message in any movie from 2018.
My adoration for A Quiet Place is no doubt influenced by the fact that I am, myself, the father of young children, and my sorrow as I watch the news and see the harsh world they will be forced to enter far too early. There will come a day when my children must navigate a hostile culture, full of people that wait to pounce on them should they dare to open their mouths and speak the truth. As parents, what are we doing to equip our children for this collision? How far are we willing to go to protect them? Are we willing to let them grow up and depart our protective arms, knowing that we can’t shelter them from the world forever? These are questions that all Christian parents should be asking, and these are the questions that I found myself pondering as I watched the terror unfolding on the screen.
A Quiet Place is a fantastic and excellently crafted film; an inspiring visual metaphor for today’s culture. Christians are often skeptical or dismissive of the relevance of horror film genre (and not without good reason). However, as the Bible reminds us, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). There is true evil and terror in the world that is more frightening than any movie can ever hope to capture. The chilling visuals and intense situations will understandably prove too much for many viewers; but for those who do treat themselves to A Quiet Place, they will find an inspiring story and powerful cinematic imagery that will stick with them long after they’ve finished watching.