In a genre that is very prone to being derivative it is good to see an horror film which plays an original slant for its over-riding characteristic of the enemy 'aliens' viz. although being blind, they possess hyper-sensitive hearing so that the slightest sound will attract their malevolent and fatal attention.
There is no explanation as to where we are (though that hardly matters - it was shot in New York state) or exactly what the enemy is or where the creatures have come from. The film plonks us right in the middle of seeing a small family of two adults and two children trying to survive by remaining silent - both in moving around and by communicating, where they use sign language. It so happens that their daughter is profoundly deaf so they are all already proficient in that method of 'talking'. (Yes, I know. You've just got to accept it, put it out of your mind, and go along with it). Living in a rural house without nearby neighbours, we have to assume that the rest of the country or, most likely, the entire world has succumbed to these unsavoury beings, or are maybe surviving in dwindling pockets. We don't see an alien creature in complete shot for at least the first half of the film.
The husband and wife are played by real-life marrieds, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, the former also directing this as well as being the story's creator and one of the screenplay writers. Both are very good indeed - more especially Blunt who has to go through agonies, both mental and physical, while maintaining silence, - and she's heavily pregnant to boot! - though I must admit that I did notice that at no time, despite the almost unbearable tension throughout the film, did she appear to break out into a sweat, even with all her exertions and even when one of these monsters is almost within touching distance of her. In addition, there is one incident in which she is injured (it made me wince, and I'm sure I wasn't alone) though she didn't seem to be as incapacitated as I'd have expected considering what happened.
Mention must also be made of Millicent Simmonds, herself a profoundly deaf young actress, playing the daughter with that same condition.
The film covers only a very few days in the family's tribulations, so, apart from the couple of things which happen to the mother, there is little change in their overall situation. The threat is unchanged. The film is little more than an extended snapshot of the family's predicament during this short time.
Tension all through is maintained at a high pitch, almost wanting to make one scream - and using this technique it's a riveting story, the film coming in at little more than a satisfying hour and a half, and at no point overplaying its hand or outstaying its welcome.
I thought it was well made and successful in achieving what it wanted to do. I liked it..........7.
12 minutes ago