SILENCE is deafening and sound is deadly in John Krasinski’s stunning, terrifying horror-thriller, which grabs your nerves in a vice-like grip and doesn’t let go until the closing credits.

We are thrown headfirst into a ravaged world which has been infested by some sort of deadly, possibly alien creatures that are completely blind but have a hyper-acute sense of hearing. This means that anyone who makes noise is a target.

We follow one specific family – including father Lee, mother Evelyn (played by real life husband and wife Krasinski and Emily Blunt) and children Marcus (Noah Jupe), Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Beau (Cade Woodward) – as they try to survive a silenced world where danger is constantly just a noise away.

It’s an ingenious concept from which the film wrings every bit of almost unbearable tension and gasp-worthy shocks. Krasinski conjures a hugely impressive sustained anxiety that suggests a more experienced horror film navigator behind the camera; he keeps your nerves exquisitely jangled and you frequently find yourself holding your breath, afraid yourself to make the slightest sound in case it somehow infects the drama and puts the characters in further jeopardy.

There’s an inherent tautness from the get-go as we quickly become attuned to a world where sound is forbidden. The director keeps the audience constantly on edge, fearing the characters will inadvertently make noise that will alert monsters who are always ready to pounce should the decibel level rise.

That tension exists in a fully realised, gritty apocalyptic world that grounds its horror in a tangible, relatable sense of fear. Fear of creatures we don’t quite understand, fear of one of the key senses suddenly becoming a threat, fear of outside forces threatening loved ones.

It injects further drama into an already fraught family dynamic over past problems. Some fantastic performances make the family’s grief and misplaced guilt feel horribly believable.

This is a convincing family, thanks to Krasinski’s ability to wring the best out of a well-chosen cast. The director’s own performance as the highly-protective father figure shows us a different side to the more comedic persona that we’ve seen before.

Blunt is as good as she’s ever been as the resourceful matriarch and both Simmonds and Jupe really sell and help keep fresh the age-old horror idea of kids in mortal peril.

They’re more than just fodder for the next attack – instead, the film shines an empathetic light on them as people so that they feel like they matter, which only exacerbates the feeling of dangerous unease that permeates every scene.

More than any other movie in recent memory, A Quiet Place highlights the importance of great sound design; its power to create atmosphere that you could cut with a knife, the ability of sound to so deftly affect our emotional responses and, in this case, showing silence can speak nerve-shredding volumes.