Soft & Quiet is not the type of movie that comes to mind when people talk about Blumhouse. Emily (Stefani Estes, Legion) is an elementary school who has organized the inaugural meeting of a group of like-minded women. When the meeting is moved to Emily’s house, it leads to a confrontation at a local store. This sets up a series of chaotic and violent events that few will be prepared for.
Director Beth de Araujo’s film will stir up all kinds of emotions and up being one of the most divisive movies of the year. The film handles a sensitive issue in a way that is impossible to not have feelings about one way or the other. In a way, Soft & Quiet is a reminder of the exploitation movies of the 1970s. Much like those, the 2022 film is a harrowing account of women who are graphically brutalized. The difference is the newer movie has a deeper message attached to it instead of just claiming to have on.
The question becomes, is what it is attempting to say worth the unflinching cruelty of the film? Soft & Quiet is a mean story that does not attempt to peel away too many layers. The arguments have been heard on the echo chambers masquerading as social media. The characters are shallow, with only the depths of the depravity differentiating them. Which seems to be the point of it all. There is no need for a deeper understanding of motives. What the script gets across so well is that this type of savagery happens everyday for little reason.
There is a sense of unease from the very beginning. Even before the audience is let in on the purpose of Emily’s meeting, the situation does not feel right. The way she looks at the cleaning woman seems off, the advice she gives to a first grade child about standing up for himself seems to have an ulterior motive. The decision to shoot in real time makes things more discomforting. There is never a moment to take a breath as the viewer is pulled into the world of Soft & Quiet (which unfortunately, is not much different than the real world).
The first act lives up to its tile, drawing people in even though there is definitely something wrong. By the time the big revelation has been made and there is talk of newsletters and recruiting, it is impossible to turn away. As Soft & Quiet ups the stakes, things become more visceral, disgusting, and sad. Everyone watching will want to turn back – and no doubt, many will – but those who are able to stick though it are in for a painfully riveting watch.
Soft & Quite comes to theaters and VOD November 4
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