HORROR; 1hr 30min
STARRING: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds
Blunt is a force to be reckoned with as a mother determined to shield her children
Director John Krasinski’s propulsive descent into hell opens on Day 89 of something obviously catastrophic. The main street of an upstate New York town is deserted and its supermarket ravaged. A family moves around the derelict space in absolute silence, communicating with each other in sign language (actual couple Blunt and Krasinski are the safeguarding parents; Jupe, Cade Woodward and Simmonds their sons and deaf daughter, and all of them are seriously great). On their walk home, the reason why becomes shockingly loud and clear: to make a sound is to die a sudden, fearsome death. Aliens have landed, and not only aren’t they remotely friendly, their hearing is off the charts.
When silence equals survival, you’d better believe you’d zip it. Fast forward to Day 472 and nobody is any chattier, with the family continuing to manoeuvre through every day as if it were literally their last. Without words, even the most mundane actions and interactions are surprisingly poetic and compelling. But in this reduced and isolated world, the prosaic is a thing of the past, and by Day 479 the demons are closing in.
The gelatinous monsters are titanic creep-outs with their tiered razor fangs and their voracious rage, stalking as if ripped from an abyss. So while there are plenty of shriek-inducing scares, what brings texture and unforeseen poignancy to the already dire situation is the invisible monster of anticipation. Third-time director Krasinski leaves his audience in no doubt that for those alone at the extremities of existence, the terrible things that almost happen are essentially as frightening as those that actually do.