9. A Quiet Place
You know the saying ‘tension so thick you could cut it with a knife?’ Well, that doesn’t describe this movie. No, this movie is so tense, you could boil it down, run it through a cement truck and use the resulting mixture to create a bridge so strong that extra-heavy trucks could it use to carry goods across the fucking English Channel.
What I’m trying to say is that the movie is really very tense.
Seriously, this movie more than lived up to the hype for me. It’s fantastic. I spent nearly half the run time actively gripping my armrest, heart pounding in my chest, eyes fixed to the screen barely able to look away. The premise is exactly the right kind of simple but effective story this movie needed, the performances are excellent all round, from veterans to child actors, and I really appreciate the movie’s willingness to just skip the usual cliches and just show us the monsters almost straight off.
And need I even mention the direction? It’s practically masterful, tense at every stroke, slowly building and building in quiet suspenseful dread until you know something has to break. It elevates the premise beyond semi-inventive B-movie to something so much greater and the atmosphere that it’s clearly trying to create perfectly matches that.
Back when I talked about Ghost Stories, I mentioned that a good measure of a horror movie for me is how often I spend watching it pretending not to have my ears plugged and my eyes averted from the screen. And while I there was certainly a fair amount of that when I watched this, I also spend a significant amount of time biting on my own fist in sheer tension. And when a movie makes you very nearly selfharm in tension, you know you’ve got a good one.
In conclusion, this really was a fantastic horror movie. In fact it’s the highest ranking horror movie on this list. It’s tense, well-acted, well-directed and it’s an honest tragedy that it didn’t do better at the Oscars, because it definitely deserved it.