When "A Quiet Place" was screened to a test audience, there was a big piece missing to what makes the movie so scary.
Warning: Minor spoiler below if you haven't seen "A Quiet Place."
John Krasinski's latest directing effort, "A Quiet Place," scored a huge $50 million opening weekend for Paramount over the weekend thanks to its frightening premise: monsters that kill anything that makes a sound.
But how would the movie be if the monsters never appeared on-screen? That's what a test-screening audience had to endure.
According to the Platinum Dunes heads Andrew Form and Bradley Fuller, the producers behind the hit movie, the test screening of "A Quiet Place" was more excruciating than usual because the computer-generated monsters from the special-effects house Industrial Light & Magic weren't ready.
In their place were basic plate graphics of the monsters or footage in which someone dressed in a motion-capture suit would perform a monster's movements in the scene.
In fact, Krasinski himself played the monster in some scenes.
"Sometimes John was in the motion-capture suit playing the monster," Form said. "In that basement scene he was the creature down there."
Form and Fuller are no strangers to having to show a test screening with little to no computer-generated imagery. Platinum Dunes also produces Paramount's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies, and they said it's always weird to test those movies without the CGI turtles finished. But for "A Quiet Place," they acknowledged it was a little more confusing for audiences to understand what was going on.
Take, for instance, the pinnacle scene in the movie in which one of the monsters runs away from Regan (Millicent Simmonds) because her hearing aid hurts its sensitive ears.
"When her hearing aid goes off in the cornfield, you have her in the shot but there was nothing behind her, so the audience did not understand that a creature came up behind her," Form said.
So the movie went into its world premiere at the sci-fi/horror-loving South by Southwest Film Festival a month ago coming off a test screening that confused audiences and most likely wasn't very scary because there wasn't much monster footage.
Thankfully, ILM delivered the monster CGI in time and the audience loved the movie. The movie eventually received a 100% rating on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes before the movie's theatrical release.
"If there was optimism, it was self-created," Fuller said of the lead-up to the SXSW screening. "Usually when you go into a screening like that you know what you have — this was totally blind. It was crazy. We were all very apprehensive. When the movie ended and the people started cheering I put my head on my wife's shoulder and cried because it was so fraught with tension and emotion. Because we had no idea."
"A Quiet Place" is playing in theaters.