To celebrate our anniversary yesterday, Denisa and I went out to the movies. And nothing says “romantic celebration” like watching people try to stay as quiet as possible to avoid getting eaten by monsters, right? That’s what we thought, at least. (Hey. It was between that and Chappaquiddick. So it’s not like we had great options.)
I’d heard good things about the movie, though, so better to watch a good, scary movie than a bad romantic one, right? That’s what we figured. And all in all, it was a good movie, as advertised. But perhaps because I’d heard such good things about it, I ended up disappointed. (So often it comes down to expectations, you know?)
The plot is straightforward: monsters have invaded the earth. They hunt by sound, and are blind other than that. So if you don’t want to get eaten, don’t make a sound. We follow the course of a family struggling to stay alive. They’ve got things down to a science: sand on paths to soften their footfalls, padded rooms to muffle noise, sign language to communicate, etc. But the mom is pregnant, and as soon as you see that, you know there’s going to come a point in time when making no noise is going to be . . . difficult at best.
The film plays out from there. There are a lot of very tense scenes, and it definitely doesn’t shy away from employing cheap scares, with jump cuts and “gotcha!” music cues aplenty. Which I found a bit disappointing, honestly. I feel like that’s a sort of commodity that works best when used with a light touch. This movie did it often enough you just came to expect it.
The way the plot unfurled also left a good bit to desire. Too often things happened because of coincidence. Again, that’s something you can get away with now and then, but when the plot is one thing after another, with each one unlikelier than the next, at some point you just doubt it would all happen that way. And doubt, in a scary movie (or any movie), is killer. There was a key sequence that I didn’t buy at all, because the noise of the scene would have given it away in real life. I have to imagine that was due to a sloppy edit. Something got cut from the film that would have explained it better, but we were left with the plot hole.
The ultimate resolution also left a fair bit desired, for me. I pretty much guessed it from early on, and I was proven right.
So all in all, a fine way to spend an evening, but nothing much more than that. I will say I thought the acting was quite good, particularly on the part of the deaf girl, Millicent Simmonds. I also was impressed Krasinski wrote the movie and directed it. Not bad for Jim from the Office. Still, I gave it a 6.5/10.
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