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A Quiet Place

Movie Review by Joan Ellis –

A Quiet Place

Just to level with you at the outset: I’m no fan of horror movies. When good reports began to sift in about A Quiet Place, it seemed the best choice during this extremely weak movie spring. Just about two minutes passed before the originality and skill up there on the screen scared the audience into stone cold silence. Who is responsible for this wickedly absorbing movie?

Director John Krasinski worked with writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck to bring this story to life. We are pulled in on the 89th day after a slew of monsters invaded the land around a New York State family. Because the monsters’ eyes can’t guide them successfully to the food they need, they pounce and eat anything that makes a noise. The Abbott family learns quickly to live in absolute silence, to walk barefoot, to sneak through life to avoid becoming food for the invaders. That premise ensures that the story will be delivered in silence while occasional background music reflects different moods. Complete quiet invites us to reexamine the noises of our own world.

Father Lee (John Krasinski) spends his time trying to figure out how to send an SOS to the bigger world. Mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt) tends her children – teenager Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and eight-year-old Marcos (Noah Jupe). Both of these young people understand the disastrous possibilities of noise and both are cooperative and clever. No arguments in this situation, just how are they going to stay alive if these monsters hear even the noise from a dropped bottle cap – or when someone steps on a nail?

As for Mom and Dad, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, married in real life, do a beautiful job of creating two people who stay calm in the face of catastrophe. Each is believable in this outsize state of horror and both are dedicated to saving their children. Whenever a tiny noise erupts, a monster surges in for food. It is probably best just to say the actors are so good that you will be glued to your seat in fear. Each of them is not just credible, but inventive. The filmmakers were wise to delay the arrival of the monsters until late in the movie. Watching a family cope with living in silence gives us time to appreciate each of them. We don’t want anything bad to happen.

In a dire situation we’ve never imagined, this family wins us completely and then, suddenly a noise followed by the inevitable invasion of the actual monsters explodes. Those of you who love horror may love these final minutes. Those of us who don’t will keep rooting for the people we have come to know. Just hang in and imagine the creativity it took to create a world of absolute silence for an entire family. And when you go home, have fun listening to the sounds in the world around you that you thought was so quiet. Did someone just drop a bottlecap?

Film Critic: JOAN ELLIS
Film Title : A Quiet Place
Word Count: 498
Running Time: 1:30
Rating: PG-13
Date: 22 April 2018

 

It

An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis

It

It is a movie that hands us a hideous villain and an enormously appealing gang of young outcasts determined to erase his evil. Think of 1989 in the small town of Derry in Maine. Children have been disappearing and when Georgie, the beloved younger brother of Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) doesn’t come home, the worried boy sets out to find him.

Bill gathers his fellow outcasts, a genuinely appealing group of pre-teens who share the fate of being bullied by older boys. They come together to search for Georgie on their bicycles and end up, of course, in a decrepit old house that demands bravery from anyone who enters. Doesn’t that sound like an ordinary scary movie? Yes, but since this is a Stephen King story, we can assume there is nothing ordinary about the way he scares us.

The boys are confronted by the hideous clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgaard) who will bedevil them throughout the film. We see buckets of blood, disfigurement, and terror. But this clown can’t equal what happens repeatedly as the music rolls along with increasing power telling us something awful is about to happen though it never comes when we expect it, but just exactly when we don’t. It does no good whatsoever to tell yourself it’s just a movie, close your eyes. It’s much too well done for that simple escape.

As we get to know the gang of boys and Beverly (Sophia Lillis) the pretty, strong girl with a heart, we sink easily into watching them grow closer as they develop their values and their courage. Instead of being peripheral to the violence, the young actors are so good that they become the sustaining focus of the movie. For me, the clown became and interruption to watching the kids.

I wanted that clown to get lost. No such luck. Stephen King has interwoven the boys and the clown so cleverly that there’s no way to ignore that clown as he spews blood through his ghastly teeth. He spins and leaps and uses the ugly weapons moviemakers love in our often grim time: special effects that increase the power of horror.

All this is delivered flawlessly by a good cast of very young actors. Jaeden Lieberher is an appealing hero with his own vulnerabilities. Jeremy Ray Taylor’s Ben is immensely engaging because he isn’t the stuff of a standard hero. He’s a unique hero. Sophia Lillis nails her part in every way.

Of the few adults in small roles, one – I won’t spoil it for you by telling you which character – is far more frightening than the clown himself. Stephen Bogaert creates a monster of a man and I am still trying to forget him.

If you can stand being subject to terror delivered with unconscionable skill, this movie just might make your day. Try to see it in a multi-speaker theater so you can enjoy whirling from left to right as unexpected maxi-sounds bombard you from all sides.

Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Film Title : It
Word Count : 500
Running time : 2:15
Rating : R
Date : September 10, 2017

 

This review was posted on September 10, 2017, in Drama, Horror.