The sound of fear

John Krasin­ski ac­com­plished the near im­pos­si­ble with ‘A Quiet Place’

Tempo - - CINEMA FILE - Re­view by Rick Ro­mancito

Agood hor­ror movie, at least to this writer’s mind, is made of sev­eral tried and true for­mu­las. Some are easy to spot, such as an un­spec­i­fied dread cre­ated through light­ing and sound ef­fects, the pro­tag­o­nist walk­ing back­wards into a dark­ened room, and, of course, a lesser char­ac­ter say­ing some­thing like “what’s there to be afraid of …” right be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing into the jaws of a Tom Savini-de­signed vam­pire.

Ul­ti­mately, it gets old if you’ve seen enough.

The thing about “A Quiet Place” is that it takes all the ba­sic movie hor­ror tropes and art­fully pares away the stuff that makes a jaded au­di­ence go “oh, please.” What di­rec­tor and star John Krasin­ski has done, in fact, is to make hor­ror scary again.

Much of this is ac­com­plished by set­ting up some very rigid rules by which the film­maker and ac­tors all have to re­li­giously abide. Th­ese rules are ex­plained with­out the use of ex­pos­i­tory lumps mainly be­cause the movie con­tains very lit­tle spo­ken di­a­logue. We see how th­ese rules are vi­tally im­por­tant to fol­low, be­cause if you don’t, a grue­some death may be­fall your in­no­cent lit­tle self.

The gist of it is, the world has been in­vaded by preda­tory alien crea­tures who have wiped out what we pre­sume to be most of hu­man­ity. Th­ese crea­tures are blind, but they re­act with un­be­liev­able swift­ness, com­ing out of nowhere to de­stroy any­thing mak­ing noise of any kind. So, if you want to sur­vive, you must be ab­so­lutely quiet, with­out ex­cep­tion.

Into this dan­ger­ous set­ting we fol­low a fairly typ­i­cal fam­ily: mom and dad, Eve­lyn and Lee Ab­bott (real-life mar­rieds Emily Blunt and John Krasin­ski), and their kids Re­gan (Mil­li­cent Sim­monds), Mar­cus (Noah Jupe), and Beau (Cade Wood­ward). The Ab­botts have man­aged to make their way into a ru­ral area where they scav­enge for food and look for shel­ter.

But, this fam­ily is made up of mem­bers who know what the rules are. There’s no typ­i­cal whin­ing and talk­ing back and no petu­lant be­hav­ior that is a hall­mark of sit­com­style fam­i­lies so com­mon to­day. Ac­tu­ally, though, there is one in­stance and yet an­other that give the au­di­ence a glimpse of hor­ri­fy­ing con­se­quences for not fol­low­ing the rules.

This movie is un­re­lent­ingly sus­pense­ful, es­pe­cially af­ter we learn that Eve­lyn has be­come preg­nant. TEMPO GRADE: At that point, the au­di­ence can men­tally jump for­ward to sus­pect what may lie ahead.

One of the other things Krasin­ski has done is to in­cor­po­rate the ways a dis­abil­ity may fig­ure into the plot. The Ab­botts’ daugh­ter, Re­gan, is deaf.

Played by real-life deaf ac­tor, Mil­li­cent Sim­monds, who made a big im­pres­sion with her first star­ring role in “Won­der­struck,” Re­gan seems to have en­tered a world that in some ways also plays by her rules. To com­mu­ni­cate, the fam­ily must use Amer­i­can Sign Lan­guage to give di­rec­tions, talk about im­por­tant things and keep each other in­formed. Watch her per­for­mance to pick up cer­tain clues for how things are turn­ing out.

Now, this is no PBS-style Mas­ter­piece The­ater comfy flick. Au­di­ences should know this is a se­ri­ously scary movie, and there are some fairly graphic de­pic­tions of gore. But, it is one of the best, most orig­i­nal-seem­ing movie in quite some time.

“A Quiet Place” is rated PG-13 for ter­ror and some bloody im­ages.

It is show­ing daily at Mitchell Sto­ry­teller 7 The­atres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tick­ets and ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion, call (575) 751-4245 or visit sto­ry­teller7.com.

PARA­MOUNT PIC­TURES

NOAH JUPE plays Mar­cus Ab­bott and John Krasin­ski plays Lee Ab­bott in “A Quiet Place.”

PARA­MOUNT PIC­TURES

MIL­LI­CENT SIM­MONDS and Noah Jupe in a run to find a safe spot.

PARA­MOUNT PIC­TURES

EMILY BLUNT as Eve­lyn Ab­bott tries hard to be very, very quiet.

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