Review of A Quiet Place and Ghost Stories

This post was written by Colin Free on April 10, 2018

It is unusual, outside of mid-to-late October, for two horror films to be released in the same week but that is what happened last Friday. Both have reviewed well and are good examples of their genre but both have flaws.

A Quiet Place is co-written and directed by actor John Krasinski who shows a lot of potential here. Set a few years in the future, Lee (Krasinski) and his family are one of the few sets of survivors after some mysterious creatures attacked the planet. Those creatures have super sensitive hearing but are blind, so to survive, the family live in near silence. The scenario is set-up really well. Boring and unnecessary exposition is eschewed in favour of intense and lean story telling.

Despite the use of jump scares and sudden loud moments on the score – tropes that I usually find annoying – Krasinski manages to ratchet-up the tension well. Fully committed performances from him and Emily Blunt (as his wife) also add a touch of quality.

However, there are too many plot-holes and illogical moments to make this a classic. Somehow, electricity is still being generated despite most of the population being wiped out. But people choose to live by lantern light for seemingly no reason other than to increase the chance of making noise, for the sake of plot, when a lantern is knocked over.

The exact way the beasts are attracted by the noise changes during the film, and why anyone would think it is a good idea to bring a baby – who turns out to be conveniently quiet most of the time – into the situation is mystifying: and the solution for stopping the creatures from hearing it poses more questions than answers.

Although I have criticised this film quite a lot, the problems I had with it took me out of it a little, but did not stop me enjoying it.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Ghost Stories in many ways feels like a throwback to the early 70s, when British portmanteau horror films – especially from the underrated Amicus studios – were commonplace. Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman) has built a career on debunking mystics and supernatural happenings. He is challenged to investigate three ghostly stories that a colleague insists are real. Those three happenings make up the three separate stories at the heart of the film.

As with almost all movies of this type, it works up to a point, with one of the stories invariably being weaker than the others. In this case the third, involving Martin Freeman and the story of the demise of his wife and child, lacks the originality of the previous two, despite a fine performance from Freeman.

The first, involving Paul Whitehouse’s spooked security guard is the best, while the second is boosted by a wigged-out performance by Alex Lawther and some interesting visuals. The film also falters at first when it starts to tie all three stories together at the end but a clever final scene saves the day.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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