Movies

Movie review: "A Quiet Place"

John Krasinski accomplished the near impossible with new sci-fi thriller

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A good 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 sitcom-style 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.

At that point, the audience can mentally jump forward to suspect, and dread, 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 movies 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.

 

Also showing in Taos …

The following were edited from press materials.

Blockers

MPAA rating: R for crude and sexual content, and language throughout, drug content, teen partying and some graphic nudity

Mitchell Storyteller 7

Julie, Kayla and Sam (Gideon Adlon, Kathryn Newton and Geraldine Viswanathan) are three high school seniors who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night.

Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter (Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz) are three overprotective parents who flip out when they find out about their daughters’ plans. They soon join forces for a wild and chaotic quest to stop the girls from sealing the deal — no matter what the cost.

This comedy from director Kay Cannon co-stars Gina Gershon, Miles Robbins, Gary Cole and Hannibal Buress.

This film will be screened daily.

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

Love, Simon

MPAA rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual references, language and teen partying

Mitchell Storyteller 7

Everyone deserves a great love story. But for 17-year old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), it’s a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay, and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing.

Directed by Greg Berlanti (“Riverdale,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”), written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger (“This is Us”), and based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, “Love , Simon” is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.

This romantic comedy-drama costars Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, and Katherine Langford.

This film will be screened daily.

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

Oh, Lucy!

MPAA rating: Unrated

Movies at the TCA

The drama-comedy tells the story of Setsuko Kawashima ( Shinobu Terajima), a lonely, chain-smoking office lady in Tokyo who is past her prime.

After deciding to take an English class, she discovers a new identity in her American alter ego, “Lucy,” and falls for her instructor, John (Josh Hartnett). When John suddenly disappears, Setsuko earnestly sets out on a quest to find him, eventually leading her to the outskirts of Southern California.

Director Atsuko Hirayanagi expanded this from her short film and co-wrote the screenplay with Boris Frumin,

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (April 15), and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (April 16-18).

Movies at the TCA film series, Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call the Taos Center for the Arts at (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

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