East Penn Press

Monday, October 22, 2018

Review: ‘Quiet Place’

Thursday, April 19, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

“A Quiet Place” is a minimalist horror movie.

What is not minimal is the movie’s seat-gripping tension. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic 2020 when creatures rule and are having humanity over for brunch.

“A Quiet Place” stars Emily Blunt, wife of the movie’s director, John Krasinski. Blunt plays an expectant housewife, Evelyn Abbott, married to Lee Abbott, played by Krasinski. They and their two children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe), live on a farm.

They speak in American Sign Language, not only because Regan is deaf, but because noise attracts gooey, bone-clicking, super-fast killer beasts that look like they’re straight out of “Aliens” (1986). Actually, they’re straight out of the computer-generated imagery creators at Industrial Light and Magic. The horrible supernatural-looking beasts are fully integrated into the bucolic countryside and farmhouse.

Lee Abbott has been tracking the beasts with an elaborate home mechanic basement laboratory of television monitors on which video cameras surveil the family’s property. A system of outdoor Christmas tree lights switch from white to red to warn family members.

The sign language is translated into words and brief sentences as subtitles on the screen.

“A Quiet Place” is filmed in lots of darkness. What’s not seen, a la the best horror and psychological thriller films, is as scary as what is seen. The monster is glimpsed at first. The big reveal occurs in the climatic final scenes of this effiicient (at 90 minutes) thriller.

In contrast, the camera is kept up close and personal on the the main characters, encouraging the audience to identify with the characters.

The cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen (Danish cinematographer, “The Hunt,” 2012; “Far from the Madding Crowd,” 2015; “Fences,” 2016, and “The Girl on the Train,” 2016, is almost a series of still photographs. The editing by Christopher Tellefsen (Oscar nominee, editing, “Moneyball,” 2011) provides a dangerous immediacy.

Krasinski (director, “The Hollars,” 2016; “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men,” 2009, and actor, TV’s “The Office,” 2005-2013) has a taste for small-town gothic. Krasinski cowrote the screenplay with Bryan Woods (“Nightlight,” 2015) and Scott Beck (“Nightlight”) from a story by Woods and Beck.

The actors are excellent. There are only seven actors in the film, including three in supporting roles.

The children, Jupe (“Wonder,” 2017), and especially Simmonds (”Wonderstruck,” 2017), are natural and unaffected. You feel their fear.

Krasinski, nearly unregonizable behind an ultimate hipster full beard, is a solid hero and the stalwart husband who would do anything (and does) to protect his family.

Blunt (“Edge Of Tomorrow,” 2014: “Salmon Fishing In The Yemen,” 2011; “The Young Victoria,” 2009) is the film’s emotional anchor. Her impassive face, huge eyes and expressive lips bring us into her emotional interior of compassion and, as you will see, courage and strength.

One of the “characters” in “A Quiet Place” is the score by Marco Beltrami (Oscar nominations, “The Hurt Locker,” 2010; “3:10 To Yuma,” 2007). While the opening scenes of the movie take place in silence for what seems like about 10 minutes, when the soundtrack cranks up, it’s an astounding roar, with scraping and squawks that are otherworldly.

“A Quiet Place” is more of a psychological thriller than a horror film per se. It’s the anti-scream scream movie. There are a few good jump scares, though. Even so, for movie fans who enjoy the screen adaptations of Stephen King novels, films directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and B-Movie creature features, “A Quiet Place” should speak to you.

“A Quiet Place” is a horror film that can even be enjoyed by those, including yours truly, who don’t much like horror films. It’s that good.

“A Quiet Place,” MPAA rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.) for terror and some bloody images; Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller; Run time: 1 hr., 30 mins.; Distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: In “A Quiet Place,” Emily Blunt and John Krasinsky dance to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” On-location filming included Little Falls, Pawling and Beacon in upstate New York. Actress Millicent Simmonds is deaf. In the film, her character wears a cochlear implant.

Box Office, April 13: “Rampage” barely rampaged into No. 1, opening with only $34.5 million on a $120-million budget, barely besting the horror film, “A Quiet Place,” dropping one place to No. 2, with $32.6 million, $99.6 million, two weeks, on a $17-million budget, as the horror film, “Truth Or Dare” opening at No. 3 with $19 million, opening, on a $3.5-million budget.

4. “Ready Player One” clicked down three places, $11.2 million, $114.6 million, three weeks. 5. “Blockers” dropped two spots, $10.2 million, $36.9 million, two weeks. 6. “Black Panther” padded down two spots, $5.3 million, $673.7 million, nine weeks. 7. “Isle Of Dogs” ran up three places, $5 million, $18.4 million, four weeks. 8. “I Can Only Imagine” dropped three places, $3.8 million, $74.9 million, five weeks, on a $7-million budget. 9. “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony” dropped three places, $3.7 million, $37.8 million, three weeks. 10. “Chappaquiddick” moved down three places, $3 million, $11 million, two weeks.

36. “Getting Grace,” filmed entirely in the Lehigh Valley, moved up 26 places after being readjusted to No. 72 ,with $4,717; $160,360, four weeks, on only six screens, after opening on 60 screens.

Unreel, April 20:

“I Feel Pretty,” PG-13: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein direct Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski, and Busy Philipps in the Comedy. A woman awakens from after a fall and thinks she’s the most beautiful and capable woman on earth. Amy Schumer plays the woman.

Four Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes