A Quiet Place: Steelbook - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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A Quiet Place: Steelbook


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Movie: :4.5stars:
4K Video: :4.5stars:
Video: :5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :2stars:
Final Score: :4.5stars:



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Movie

Paramount is once again pushing out another classy steelbook on 4K UHD. This time it's one that's already had a 4K UHD release, but NOT a steelbook release. Back in November of 2018 Paramount did release a steelbook at the same time as the day and date Blu-ray and 4K "regular" release, but they failed to put out a 4K steelbook. Well, with their line of Mondo steelbook releases being pushed out it only made sense to remedy that situation for steelbook collectors. With that in mind be aware that the snazzy new packaging is really the only change from the previous release. The same 2 discs are found inside the case as are found in the regular 4K UHD release, and the same digital code as well (although updated for a later expiration date). This release is aimed squarely at the raw addiction that is steelbook collecting and they've outdone themselves this time. Not only does the set come with a great steelbook, but also a clear slipcover for the steelbook that features reflective labels and the Mono title on it as well. As a steelbook snob I've got to say that the artwork for the set really captures the mood and feel of the film (not to spoil anything), and the glossy coating is smooth and silken to the touch. A great looking steelbook for certain.

Usually I’m the first to poo-poo a PG-13 rated horror film, as most of them are so heavily neutered that they don’t even give a modicum of entertainment. No blood, no flesh, no gore, no intensity. They just peter out as being “horror-light” films. With that being said, I was curious about A Quiet Place due to the great cast and the fact that it got RAVE critical reviews despite having the dreaded PG-13 ratings curse over its head. Unfortunately I missed this in theaters, but I had friends telling me I NEEDED to see this, so I begrudgingly decided to review it, only to be shocked to my core when I find out that it is one of the best survival horror films of the last 10 years. John Krasinski (the husband in the film, and the ACTUAL husband of Emily Blunt) has written, starred in, and directed a film that grips you from beginning to end, and doesn’t let go until the credits start rolling. There’s a hint of M. Night Shamalamadingdong, some 10 Cloverfield Lane and classic monster movie elements in the production, but at it’s core A Quiet Place is a story of survival in a world filled with intense terror.

The film doesn’t clue you in to when in time this takes place, what happened to bring them here, and what remnants of humanity remain, but all we know is that the world is a scary place. Monsters lurk in the darkness and the remnants of humanity are living in a post apocalyptic world where everyone has to live in utter silence, for the only thing stronger than these monster’s teeth and claws are it’s incredible hearing (and seemingly no sight). The film opens up with mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt), father Lee (John Krasinski) and his three children, deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward) scavenging for supplies in an abandoned town. The first thing you notice is that they are being INCREDIBLY quiet. Not a whisper, everyone communicates in sign language, and they appear to be fearful of something. That something is soon explained when little Beau lights off a noisy toy and the monsters of the film leap out and devour him in seconds.

From this point on we can see the conundrum of this world. Humanity is on the brink of extinction (or so it seems, the film doesn’t really let us see anything outside of this one little family unit), and the slightest noise will attract the monsters to them. Lee and Evelyn are doing their best to provide for the family, but it’s terrifying when even the slightest noise will bring the monsters to their doorstep. To make matters worse, Evelyn is pregnant and soon to birth a squalling baby into the world, which means that the family unit has to create a sound proofed room in their farm house to shield them from the monsters. At least before the creatures hunt down and destroy them all.

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A Quiet Place is a juxtaposition of sounds and feelings, but it is one thing at the core. A story of family survival against the most terrible of odds. The monsters aren’t even REALLY seen till the 2nd half of the movie, but they are always in the background. Always present, and their lack of visibility is one of the most terrifying parts of the film. The film’s action sequences are tight and tense, filled with harsh brutality, as well as this lingering sense of dread as the monsters come closer and closer. The most visceral and emotional parts of the movie have to deal with the family’s reactions to the monster. The literal terror is reflected in their eyes, especially Regan and Marcus, who are too young to have the emotional stability of the parents. The scene at the river where Lee makes a slip with the fish and Marcus freaks out in terror is heart wrenching, but it gets the point across that these people LITERALLY are in terror their whole lives.

Despite the “alien” or “monster” aspect of the film, this is not a big sweeping epic with hints at a larger picture. Krasinski’s film is about one thing, the family unit. We don’t know WHY these monsters are here, or what their goals are, or even how much of humanity is left unscathed. All we know is that they are HERE, right NOW, and the Abbott family is learning how to survive one more day in this terrible world. Its the sense of closed off urgency that gives the film much of its potency, and you’re fascinated by how it unfolds, even though we realize there is no beginning, and there is no end to their plight. It’s just NOW. Despite the lack of vocals in the film, the movie is expertly acted, as real life husband and wide duo John Krasinski and Emily Blunt display an intimate chemistry that must come from their personal life. A chemistry that adds a good deal of authenticity to the close knit family nature of the film. The children do well, but it’s really Millicent Simmons who steals the show as deaf Regan (especially since she IS deaf in real life herself). The use of sound as a weapon and crutch in the film is highly intoxicating, and the lack of vocals really gives the actors a way to communicate through their bodies and actions in ways we usually take for granted.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for terror and some bloody images




4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :5stars:
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Instead of shooting on the more common Arri Alexa or RED digital cameras, John Krasinski decided to shoot A Quiet Place on 35mm Kodak film, and the results are spectacular. The 35mm source was strangely finished on a 2K digital intermediate master (strange because it was scheduled for a 4K release, and it would have made sense to finish in 4K) and the resulting Blu-ray is nothing short of a 5/5 experience. Even though this is from a 2K master, the 4K UHD disc from Paramount is very impressive looking. I would give it a healthy thumbs up over the already stunning Blu-ray, as I noticed a nice healthy upgrade in colors, textures AND detail levels across the board. The film is given a fine, but noticeably even, grain structure, and the there is a very organic look to it. The Characters and farming backdrop show incredible detail, where you can see every little fine hair on Emily Blunt’s face during close ups, and those kernels of corn in the big silo where Regan and Marcus fall into. Black level are deep and inky, but I did notice a bit of crush in the dimly lit film. The HDR gives a palpable (although only moderate) upgrade to the colors, as most of the film is set in complete darkness ,with splashes of blood and coloring of the landscape being the only elements where brightly saturated colors are needed. It’s a good looking 4K UHD disc for sure, and a definite improvement over the Blu-ray.





Audio: :5stars:
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A Quiet Place is one of the most sonicaly diverse films that I’ve heard on Atmos, EVER. The film is intensely quiet at times, punctuated by startling noises that shock the listener to the their core, and then blended in with some “normal” sounding sequences. Being that no one in the movie ever really talk very much, the first 30 minutes of the film are nothing but ambient noises and a complete vacuum of sound when listening from Regan’s deaf point of view. When the monsters start coming out in full force, the movie starts taking off and by the visceral third act the audio track is in full swing. To rewind just a bit, A Quiet Place really is a juxtaposition of different sound levels. It uses intense moments of powerful scoring and scrabbling noise to contrast against large swaths of the movie where we literally are in a sound vacuum. Just listen to the point where the monopoly game crashes down after 15 minutes of dead silence. The noise is just deafening and had me jumping straight up nearly a good six inches out of my recliner. However, what is REALLY fascinating is the lack of major noise. This causes the listener to really focus in on the little ambient noises coming through the surrounds. Winds whistle around you, the sound of scraping feet across a floor are soft (but distinct) and those little clicking noises from out in the distance (our little monster friends) are eerie and distinct in the dead silence. LFE is restrained for large portions of the movie, but when it does come in to play, it hits with like a literal ton of bricks on the chest. This is one of the few tracks besides Edge of Tomorrow that has so taxed my subwoofers in the single (or near single) digit numbers that I was watching the ports and the cones on my 18 inch subs WORK for their dinner. The overheads don’t get as much work as I would have liked, and this is kind of a 7.1 mix at times, but the use of directional shifting in the ambient noises still has me rate this a perfect 5/5.






Extras: :2stars:
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Creating the Quiet – Behind the Scenes of A Quiet Place
• The Sound of Darkness – Editing Sound for A Quiet Place
• A Reason for Silence – The Visual Effects of A Quiet Place







Final Score: :4.5stars:


A Quiet Place is an incredibly powerful horror/thriller that thrives DESPITE being given the PG-13 kiss of death. In fact, don’t let the rating bother you at all, as it still is able to evoke intense moments of terror and fear without the necessity of showing blood and harsh language. Usually I’m the first to curse a PG-13 rated horror film, but John Krasinski really knocked this one out of the park. The movie is a simple story about the PRESENT, without need of future or past explanations, allowing us to bond with the characters and really get absorbed into the 91 minute fear fest. For those wondering about upgrading, this is the exact same discs as the 2018 edition, same digital code, the only thing different being the Mondo Steelbook packaging (which I will admit is pretty nice). As such, this is totally going to depend on if you're steelbook collector, as this is EXACTLY what niche Paramount is aiming for with these new steelbook re-releases. A great movie, great packaging, and if you don't own it already, then it's certainly a great set to pick up.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds
Directed by: John Krasinski
Written by: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), German, Spanish, French (Canadian), French, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Malay, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 90 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 10th 2020
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Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 
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bkeeler10

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I still haven't gotten around to watching this, but your audio review just lit the fire again. Horror is not normally my thing, but my impression is this isn't a typical horror movie. I'm still not sure my wife will want to see it, so I might just have to watch it without her :)
 

Michael Scott

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I still haven't gotten around to watching this, but your audio review just lit the fire again. Horror is not normally my thing, but my impression is this isn't a typical horror movie. I'm still not sure my wife will want to see it, so I might just have to watch it without her :)
lol, its' a doozy. One of my favorite Atmos tracks ever
 

Jack1949

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I still haven't gotten around to watching this, but your audio review just lit the fire again. Horror is not normally my thing, but my impression is this isn't a typical horror movie. I'm still not sure my wife will want to see it, so I might just have to watch it without her :)
My wife and I aren't into horror movies either, but we read that this movie was different. So we rented it and we both enjoyed it. My wife liked that it wasn't a blood and gore movie.
 

Todd Anderson

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Very fun flick... tough one for 4K projectors to handle without some added tone mapping help!
 
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