APRIL 20 ― I guess it is not easy to break new ground in the film industry. But all films have to break some new ground or risk being the “same old thing.”
If you ask me what the ground breakers were in the horror genre, I would instantly reel off Sixth Sense, Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity.
All these delighted audiences with new scares and at the same time, did very well at the box office. The following two horrors, A Quiet Place and Ghost Stories, are not showing signs that they would be cultural phenomena like the aforementioned three just yet (and it is unlikely they will, if I’m honest). However, in my humble opinion, they have certainly broken new ground.
The first, A Quiet Place, was directed by John Krazinski. He is actually not well known in Malaysia but slightly more well known in the UK as he is married to Emily Blunt, one of our major acting exports.
Incidentally, both of them star in this film and of course, their chemistry is quite palpable. For me, John has a special place in my own personal comedy hall of fame.
He starred in The Office for nine whole seasons (longer than even its original protagonist, Steve Carrell). He is also known in Hollywood for being an all round nice guy and family man.
A Quiet Place is set in a dystopian future. There is a hint of an alien invasion and humanity is in retreat. The thing is, these invaders hunt by sound so the key to survival is to be silent.
We focus on a family, the Abbots, as they try to survive this ordeal. The remarkable acting is what stands out in this film. Blunt is already known for dramatic roles (as far back as in 2005 with My Summer of Love) so the surprise was Krazinski who is better known for his comedic turns.
Then we have Ghost Stories. I did not realise that this film was an adaptation of a stage play I had seen in 2015.
Of course, there was no use shouting “spoiler alert” once I did realise I knew the storyline. So I gave up on trying to discover the twists and simply focused on enjoying the film. It was a relief not having to try to “beat the system” for once.
Ghost Stories had tremendously positive reviews and for a good reason – it is easily the best British horror since The Woman in Black four years ago.
It stars Martin Freeman who coincidentally starred in the original British The Office as the exact same “nice guy” character as John Krazinski. Freeman went on to bigger things like Sherlock and The Hobbit.
The movie is an anthology of sorts. Ghost Stories uses lighting very well to induce fear and so, even though the scares are not too scary, they do suck you into the atmosphere rather well. The film also has an excellent ending.
*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.