A Quiet Place

Directed by John Krasinksi (star of TV’s “The Office”) and produced by action film director Michael Bay, A Quiet Place is a curious mashup of sci-fi/horror and family drama. The world is under siege by alien creatures who are blind but have powerful hearing capability, which they use to locate human prey. To survive, a family at the story’s center of needs to remain completely silent at all times— not something that’s easy to do when the clan includes young children. The parents’ struggle to navigate this new world and remain positive role models for their kids provides much of the dramatic tension. Some aspects of the story are ludicrous—the family’s determination to bring a new baby into a world where any sound above a whisper results in a terrifying alien hauling ass at you at 150 MPH left me scratching my head—but for the most part it’s engaging, scary stuff.

818quiet.box.jpgA Quiet Place was shot on 35mm film and Paramount’s Ultra HD Blu-ray is sourced from a 2K digital intermediate. But even though the image is upconverted, this Dolby Vision-enhanced version has a crisp, punchy look, with natural color and a subtle handling of film grain. There’s no great leap in detail compared with the regular Blu-ray version (also included), but the added black depth and highlight detail HDR brings adds depth to scenes like the ones in the basement of the family’s homestead and in exterior nighttime shots of their farm lit by strands of red Christmas lights (used to indicate to neighbors they are under siege).

The real star of A Quiet Place is the sound. Given the film’s premise, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of necessity emphasizes low-level elements like feet creeping quietly, objects shuffled carefully, and the soft whistling of wind. When a loud sound does occur—the kids accidentally knocking over a kerosene lamp while playing a board game, for example—the effect is dynamic and intense. Terrifying, too, given the very real threat of attracting the aliens’ attention. Overhead effects are deployed sparingly, such as in one scene where the besieged couple share a set of headphones and slow-dance to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” The soundtrack here emulates the “sound bubble” experience that headphones provide, with the listening position locked at the center.


Extra features are located on the regular Blu-ray disc and include short behind-the-scenes docs on the film’s production and special effects. The highlight is a third doc on the editing of the film’s minimalist soundtrack, which was executed by the same crew responsible for Michael Bay’s maximalist Transformers movies.

Studio: Paramount, 2018
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
HDR Format: Dolby Vision and HDR10
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos with TrueHD 7.1 core
Length: 90 minutes
Director: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

drny's picture

S&V does a very good job reviewing Audio and Video equipment, providing news and valuable information on the latest innovations.
As a reader of this publication for the past forty years (Stereo Review), I have always been critical of the editorial choice to review content material. Sixty years ago the content material reviewed was exclusively Classical and Jazz music genres. Main stream Rock became the preferred content reviewed from the 70' through the end of the 20th century.
I rejoiced when finally music content reviews, for the most part, ceased (the current nostalgic revisit by Mike Metler not withstanding).
I am a film / movie collector and as such I will seek content reviews immediately upon released (if I did not see it in a Theater).
Yet, I beg you Al, as the Editor, cease the weak attempt to review (selectively) popular Blu-ray releases (weeks after release by the way). If you want to provide S&V readers with content reviews then just provide a link to the Blu-ray.com or dedicated refutable forums.