So, apparently getting men known for their comedic roles to be directors of horror movies is a thing that really, really works. Noted.

“A Quiet Place” is “The Office”/“Devil Wears Prada” crossover I didn’t know I needed. Seriously though, this new thriller is well-acted, suspenseful and overall well-executed. The film centers around a family living in a world where aliens have crash-landed. These aliens are attracted to sound. The moment a character makes a noise they are quickly tracked down and annihilated by these creatures. The premise is so ingenious that any sound, any sound at all, serves as a jumpscare.

There have been plenty of times that I have recommended movies to my friends. Rarely has there been a time that I’ve insisted people see a film in theaters. That’s because this film’s concept allows for what might be the most unique in-theatre experience I’ve ever had. The movie is so quiet and tense that the audience gets drawn in. No rustle of wrappers. No whispers between patrons. People even froze in their seats so as not to distract from the scene. I doubt I’ll ever see that kind of reaction again.

There’s a lot in this movie I can talk about. I can say that the sound design is very effective. The design for the aliens is distinct. Real-life married couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt share an on-screen chemistry that’s worth the price of admission alone. The ending lends itself to sequels that I foresee happening in the near future. The fact that Michael Bay produced a movie that didn’t have copious amounts of explosions. Truly, I could go on and on. However, there’s one element of this film that I personally feel deserves the most recognition: Millicent Simmond’s portrayal of Regan Abbot.

As a Deaf studies minor, I would’ve seen this film regardless for its integration of American Sign Language, or ASL. While deafness has appeared in more content over the past few years with projects like Freeform’s Switched At Birth, storylines relating to deafness are still few and far between. When it is integrated, there are times when it’s portrayed as a weakness or simply tacked on as a way to claim diversity without delving into what it means to be a part of the Deaf community. “A Quiet Place” does neither of these things.

The film’s predominant language is ASL. Having a Deaf daughter in the film has allowed for our heroes to have a background in the silent language long before the alien invasion. Without ASL, there’s no possible way this family would have survived for this long in the movie’s timeline.

Regan, portrayed by a Deaf actress, is not a character pitied by the film. Rather, she is shown as a complete person with her own opinions, sense of responsibility, quick thinking and bravery. Her father, portrayed by Krasinski, continuously attempts to create for her cochlear implants with higher frequencies. However, the film recognizes that a.) cochlear implants are not a cure for deafness and b.) cochlear implants don’t work for everyone. The film never delves into what caused Regan’s deafness, but there are a multitude of reasons why they could be ineffective for her. That is not what’s important here. What is important is that with her deafness Regan is still capable of navigating the abnormal environment she’s stuck in. She doesn’t persevere in spite of or because of her deafness. It’s simply a facet of her life.

Without giving too much away, her deafness is relevant to the film’s climax. However, even at that point, it is still evident that it takes the whole family’s skillsets to defeat the monster. I guess, ultimately, that is what this film gets down to. “A Quiet Place” is not about the monster. It’s about their family. Our families. It’s about the lengths you would go to protect your loved ones. It is using everything at your disposal, at all levels of ability, to guard love when all else is lost. This movie is among my favorites in the genre, and I certainly won’t be keeping hush about it in the future.

Halle Nelson is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in deaf studies and English literature. ✉   @Halle_N_Nelson.

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