Movie Review by Joan Ellis –


Do go to US if you want to watch good actors deliver a genuine horror movie. Do not go if you have a weak heart. I must add that I watched it alone in an empty theater and thought several times that I might not make it. That’s because a strong cast sets out to terrify us and succeeds.

In 1986, an ordinary family sets off on a Santa Cruz beach vacation. We meet Adelaide, a reluctant Mom (Lupita Nyong’o) and Gabe (Winston Duke), a determined Dad. When we see four odd people holding hands across the driveway, we tense a bit and when that doesn’t scare the beach going family, we know the horror – or the fun, depending how you look at it – has begun.

Our sympathy goes quickly to the reluctant wife as her family – now in the beach house – is invaded by another family armed with knives. No need to spoil things for you with the grim details, just to say that if you want a horror show, you’ve got one here. I don’t even risk overstatement by saying you’ll have two hours of shock and terror.

A personal question: Why have I always been, and still am, scared of amusement parks? A dim feeling of danger and the sweat of fear would creep, uninvited, during the few times I went as a kid or as an adult. What is it about amusement parks that is so unsettling? The danger of a roller coaster? The dark of a narrow tunnel going certainly to even more danger?

If you have any of those feelings you will be as scared as I was. The good news is that if you are a lover of horror shows, you will be rewarded with great pleasure because good actors deliver the requisite suspense. The best – or worst – part of all this is the periodic unleashing of loud, piercing, unexpected shocks that come with no hints of the impending doom.

The actors – both adults and children – wrap their characters in imaginative cloaks of good and evil and that is the engine of the story. Who is good and who is bad? Because they are accomplished, they are able to level us with fear.

It’s not irrelevant to ask what in the wildest of all dreams led writer/director Jordan Peele to want to create this stew of horror. In talking with people who have seen it, people who love horror love this film. Those who don’t – like me – wonder about the why of it all. Isn’t life complicated enough without stewing in family horror?

As I prowl through movie lovers who have seen it, I was amazed to hear all kinds of views, rooted in intelligence, that never once occurred to me. That could be because I had my hands over my ears much of the time. If you decide to risk it, one word of advice: do not, as I did, go alone.

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