Here is something rare and ultimately refreshing that we get in a horror thriller: A movie that takes its time in creating characters, evoking a white-knuckle atmosphere and telling a story that leaves us feeling as breathless and on edge as the actors themselves.
John Krasinski stars, cowrites and makes his directorial debut alongside his real life wife Emily Blunt.
Together they play a married couple who live in an isolated country house and must make no noise, even resorting to using sign language to communicate with their two children.
The reason? A series of deadly, bloodthirsty creatures have taken over the world and they can sense when prey is around just by hearing voices. No sight; only hearing.
They may look like generic horror movie creatures, but the concept is unique, even though they look like something that would be at home in a "Cloverfield" movie.
The scenes of suspense are truly gripping. And an intriguing element is Blunt’s character being pregnant with their third child when the creatures are hunting for humans.
Will the baby be saved? Will it become the next prey for the creatures?
It’s not entirely clear if this family will survive, despite their resourcefulness and strategic planning. That makes for even more of what we are used to because it gladly subverts expectations.
Krasinki has crafted a film that does what so few horror films do: He makes it intelligent and foreboding, and it works on us emotionally and psychologically rather than hammering us with shock after shock.
Perhaps the movie’s best strength, of course, is it being borderline dialogue-free, minus some subtitles that could have been a cheap gimmick that would’ve been overplayed. You understand the sign language from the situation.
Krasinski uses the suspense of the silence to serve the story and not the other way around. The result is unsettling and effective throughout.
It’s hard to go into further detail without straying into spoiler territory, but for 90 minutes, it creates a truly unique experience in its genre.
This movie may do for country homes what "Jaws" did for the ocean and what "Gravity" did for outer space.
Rated PG-13 for terror and some bloody images.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.