When ‘A Quiet Place’ hit theaters it was something very off-beat for a modern audience, who are so used to movies very loud and full explosive sounds, where dialogue especially is so important. To have a movie, especially a horror film, be so quiet, to have no dialogue, was something that was very unexpected, and many wondered if the whole thing could even work, none more so than director John Krasinski, who was betting on the quiet to dial up the tension of the film and leave audiences ready for bigger twists and scare moments. Ironically enough, Krasinski eventually figured out that the film could work even without sound at all, something that he happened upon while working on the initial cuts of the film. When speaking recently to the New York Times, Krasinkski revealed:
“On the first day or two [of post-production], I was going through different sounds with my editor to equalize it out, and I just said, ‘Hit mute.’ And we hit mute for what might have been five weeks. The first cut and the second cut were all done without one ounce of sound. I needed to be able to connect with these characters without anything else…Even on silent, there was so much communication happening. I didn’t think our movie would be so commercially accepted because the only other time I’ve seen someone do a movie with no spoken dialogue is Paul Thomas Anderson at the beginning of There Will Be Blood. That first 12 to 14 minutes where Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t speak was a huge touchstone for me.”
Of course, the man had an inkling that it was all going to work after seeing the magic on set, explaining to Business Insider that it was one particular scene with Emily Blunt that made him feel that this was something special:
“I remember we were filming a scene where Emily [Blunt] was doing homeschooling with Noah [Jupe, who plays the son, Marcus], and it was Day Three. And I had written the movie with sign language. So it was that thing of ‘Can we pull this off?’ But every day that went by was helpful to see it play out, other than theorize that it would be great. But in that scene, two things happened. Emily [Blunt] was obviously amazing, but one of the things is air started coming out of her mouth when she was mouthing the words as she was signing. There was something so beautiful in that. In that moment, I realized you can even communicate with breath, with no voice. That was really beautiful to me.”
Not to mention the other star of the movie that Krasinski thought really made the whole thing work, young Noah, who Krasinski could not say enough nice things about, especially since it helped give him the confidence early on that the whole things was going to come together:
“Then on top of that was Noah. To watch this kid dealing with these circumstances that are completely imaginary but heavy for a kid to deal with — apocalyptic, losing a family member, a father who has fallen out of love with the whole family — these are big themes, and this kid was able to articulate in that one scene such powerful emotion that it felt so real. I genuinely started tearing up behind the monitor watching this kid act because it was so moving. I remember after that I turned to my producer, and I said, ‘Holy sh-t, dude, this might actually work!’ And he said, ‘Hey, man, it’s Day Three! It’s a little too late to say this might work.’ So from that moment on, I learned to keep my excitement to myself that this magic trick might actually work.”
It is good to still see filmmakers in Hollywood willing (and capable!) of experimentation with the form, and not just in it to churn out the same types of movies over and over again. I think it is amazing that he even discovered his film would work without any sound at all, which, some might say, is the measure of any good film: that you can turn it on mute and still know exactly what is going on based on the visuals. Here’s hoping the proposed sequel to ‘A Quiet Place’ that Krasinski is working on will be able to measure up to the original, and hoping it might include some new experimental elements that were not explored in the first film!
Did you see ‘A Quiet Place?’ Did you like the non-dialogue element of it all? Do you enjoy the experimental feeling of the filmmaking? Feel free to share your thoughts on the matter below!