The horror and thriller genres push audiences to witness the darkest sides of humanity. Yet as they do, we rarely follow up with life after death and violence. While sequels often focus on the killer, fewer series return to their lead women (outside of Scream and Halloween). This makes Somewhere Quiet an interesting experience. Rather than ever seeing the horrors our protagonist experienced, we dive right into the aftermath. It not only questions how we move on but if a trauma warps the world around us, will any relationship ever be the same?

After escaping a kidnapping, Meg (Jennifer Kim) needs to take time away from the city. She can finally spend time with her husband Scott (Kentucker Audley), whose family owns a house in the woods around Cape Cod. As they try to restart their relationship, they’re interrupted by Scott’s cousin Madeline (Marin Ireland). The unwanted third wheel begins to cause Meg to spiral and grow paranoid about the people around her.

Somewhere Quiet Tribeca

After an incredible opening sequence, Somewhere Quiet plants us firmly in the upstate woods. The choice to isolate the characters quickly becomes the film’s greatest strength. Olivia West Lloyd builds the tension slowly but continues to ratchet up the unease as the story progresses. In that regard, Somewhere Quiet becomes a perfect entry in the “vibes are off in this house” genre. Like Meg, we cannot tell if something is actually amiss, but the awkward and weird interpersonal relationships distress the viewer.

A character that once enjoyed the power of their life has lost their agency. Kim explores how these nuances and shifts change a person. Her outstanding performance drives Somewhere Quiet and becomes the heartbeat of the film. Kim’s portrayal of Meg draws out the tragic circumstances. She gets a second chance to live but feels directionless. She once loved a man, but she can no longer trust him. Whatever Meg wanted for her life seems small compared to the horror she endured. Kim’s excellent performance brings this to the surface.

Lloyd’s direction and writing are top-tier as well. The writer-director provides delivers the complexities of her character in small and big moments. It marries exceptionally well with Lloyd’s screenplay and direction. Lloyd has eyes on more significant issues at play as well.

Beyond Meg’s interpersonal relationships, there are simple socioeconomic factors outside her control. She does not come from money, but she’s found herself in a relationship with someone who only understands wealth. There are questions about the family she married into, as they engaged in questionable practices around the employment of Asian immigrants in the past. All of these issues and feelings begin to bubble to the surface.

Somewhere Quiet Tribeca

There’s also a hint of the Covid-era struggles for non-upper-class individuals in the story. While the rich could leave the city and create small social groups with seemingly unlimited space, many felt trapped in their apartments. It’s not farfetched to see Meg as someone isolated by Covid while her husband and his family lived outside the rules. To them, nothing changed, but Meg’s ability to reintegrate into society is forever broken.

The other performances from Ireland and Audley further enhance Somewhere Quiet. Each performer steps into the role with gusto and brings unique elements to the story of their performances. Audley struggles to connect to his partner, and it is not until late in Somewhere Quiet that his resentment breaks through. Meanwhile, Ireland plays to the camera, sneaking glances and facial expressions so only the audience and Meg can observe them. The passive-aggressive nature of her role makes her feel villainous, even if taking a step back allows us to question if she even harbors ill intent. Lloyd’s ability to write these two characters as both sympathetic and frustrating only further enhances the power of the narrative.

Somewhere Quiet features a grayish cinematography, which may receive criticism. However, this further enhances the tale. Like Meg’s life, the world has lost its color and vibrancy. It engrains us in the perspective of our protagonist, even as the world shifts under her feet. It’s one more brilliant touch that makes Somewhere Quiet one of the more subtle discoveries of the festival.

Alan’s Rating: 9/10

What do you think of Somewhere Quiet? Let us know in the comments below! Watch Somewhere Quiet at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival.

Check out our reviews and pieces from the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival here!

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