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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 19, 2018

A Quiet Place Movie Review: The Underwritten Script Prevents You From Sympathizing Totally With The Human Characters

WE LOVE HORROR flicks. But in the last few years, we've become so immuned to the scare tactics used by horror filmmakers that nothing frightens us anymore. We had such high hopes for "A Quiet Place" because a lot of people are praising it, saying it truly scared them out of their wits. But sadly, this dystopian thriller, which is one of those post-apocalyptic films that make us feel not so good about the future, just doesn't work for us.

When the movie starts, it says it's Day 89. That means 89 days or three months have passed since our world has been attacked and nearly decimated by an alien invasion of creatures who are blind, so it's a must for you to keep your mouth shut and don't make any sound for them not to detect you and make you their next meal.

We follow the plight of a family living in a farm in a small upstate New York town. The mom is Emily Blunt and the dad is her real life husband John Krasinski who's also the director, co-writer and also the co-producer of the movie with Michael Bay.

They have three kids: Millicent Simmonds (who is deaf so their family already know how to talk in
sign language), Noah Jupe (very good in registering terrified reaction shots) and the youngest is about 3 or 4 years old, Cade Woodard.

In the opening sequence, we see them scavenging for food, medicine and other useful items in an abandoned store. The youngest child is told not to take a toy airplane as it would make a sound but the deaf girl gave it to her anyway. We're sure right away that this "pasaway" child will be the monster's first victim and we were right. Buti nga sa kanya.

The movie then jumps to more than a year later. The family is still surviving and they seem to have unlimited supply of electricity that lights up their whole farm and even with colored lights that serve as a warning when there is danger. They also never run out of food, candles, batteries for their flashlight and alarm clock, and yes, fireworks that light up the sky to distract the creatures.

The mom is pregnant and they're all still grieving over the death of the youngest child. The deaf child has guilt issues about it and feels their dad ignores her because of what happened. We, the viewers, wait. When will the creature strike again? What happens when the baby is born and it cries?

But there are moments that make the viewers get really tense, like Emily delivering her baby all alone after she steps on a nail and she can't even make a sound while having labor pains as a creature is poking around their house.

An encounter of Margaret and Noah with the aliens inside a huge silo that stores grains also works. Margaret is really deaf in real life and what ultimately becomes her weapon against the aliens is tied
up with the hearing aid that her dad has made for her.

But honestly, at this point, we've realized that we don't really care whatever happens to the human characters. The main reason is that the script is underwritten. We need some kind of a back story to get us more involved and emotionally invested in what's going on.

As to when and how the aliens came is never even discussed. You just feel in the dots based on news stories pinned on the family's wall. So how do you expect us to take it all seriously?

In other post apocalyptic movies and TV shows, the characters get our sympathy because the script makes sure that the plot hangs together. Even the Kaijus and Jaegers in "Pacific Rim" and the monsters in "Rampage" have their own back stories.

Actually, we kinda of even side with the aliens. We like it that they make our world a quieter place to live. After all, the world has really become so noisy and we need aliens to silence those who are forever tinkering with their cellphones even inside movie theaters and even while driving their cars.

We need aliens to silence those who keep making noise pollution singing cacophonously with videokes. We need them to silence grandstanding politicians and self appointed and self righteous guardians of our society. Don't you think the world would be a better place if the aliens would eat them all up?

But the movie is a blockbuster. Made with a budget of only $17 million, it hit the number one spot in the box office charts and earned $50 million just on its opening week. Jackpot! Don't be surprised if we'd have a sequel showing the plight of the survivors, or perhaps, another family. Just like "Walking Dead" that is now on its 10th season.