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, co-writes, 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 resort to using sign language to communicate with their two children. The reason? A series of deadly, bloodthirsty creatures have taken over 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 design is rather unique and looks like something that would be be right at home in a Cloverfield movie.
The scenes of suspense are truly gripping. It adds an intriguing element that Blunt’s character is already pregnant with their third child at the time of the creatures 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.
This film 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 is, of course, it being borderline dialogue-free minus some subtitles. The subtitles could have been a cheap gimmick but they’re not overplayed: Krasinski uses the suspense in this way 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 delving 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 water and what Gravity did for outer space.