A Quiet Place: When a Movie is Filmed Close to Home

photo courtesy of Paramount

Guest post by Jamie Rhein

At the end of the movie, “A Quiet Place,” a film set in New York state where the audience barely dares to eat a kernel of popcorn as to not make noise, my friend and I hung out to see where it was filmed.  Cornfields,  a rambling farm house with two silos, woods, an abandoned town with Mayberry-like storefronts, a waterfall and a footpath bridge are the backdrop of family intimacy laced with terror.

Taken on a hiking trail in the foothills of the Catskills. The Village of New Paltz is over the crest in the distance. Photo credit: Jamie Rhein

I was so surprised to see the message that thanked the Village of New Paltz, New York plus two others. New Paltz was my stomping ground from 8th grade through high school when we moved there from Columbia, South Carolina. My dad was a college professor who got a position in the art department at State University College of New York at New Paltz (SUNY at New Paltz), thus our move.

Located in the Hudson Valley Region of New York, the area is a tourist draw for those loking to escape New York City for a weekend or more. It’s an an area dotted with farms, wineries, small towns and history mixed in with an artsy vibe in the foothills of the Catskills.

New Paltz’s history connects to the French Huguenots who settled next to the Wallkill River in 1677. Today, Huguenot Street is considered one of the oldest streets with its original buildings in the United States. The stone houses are worth a tour.

As a movie hound, I pay attention to place and always wonder how settings are picked. A couple years ago, I wrote an article for an Ohio publication about movies filmed in restaurants in Ohio. There are several.

“Rain Man” was partly filmed in Ohio, although the restaurant toothpick scene was shot across the Ohio River in Newport at historic Pompilio’s.

The restaurant scene in “Bad Grandpa” was filmed at Paul’s Fifth Avenue in Grandview which is part of the greater Columbus Metropolitan area. There are several more restaurant scenes in films that take in Cleveland (“American Splendor” and “Light of Day”), New Lexington (“Brubaker”) and Lebanon (“Milk Money” and “Harper Valley PTA”).

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Inside Pompillio’s in Newport, Kentucky where the toothpick scene in Rain Man was filmed. photo credit: Jamie Rhein

So, when I saw “New Paltz” on “A Quiet Place’s” location list, it felt that my high school hometown had moved to stardom. I wondered exactly what scenes were shot where.The bridge that’s central to the story line has turned into a New Paltz icon. As part of the rails to trails system, the Rail Trail Bridge is used by walkers and bikers to cross the Wallkill River. The Rail Trail System, named one of the Top 10 Rail Trails in the U.S. connects the town of Gardiner with Kingston in 22 miles of scenic beauty.

In the movie, “A Quiet Place,” the scenic beauty makes for a particularly harrowing scene. ‘Nuff said. See the movie, it’s fabulous– of the New York Times agrees, plus Rotten Tomatoes ranks it at a 95% approval rating. And, this thriller is a feather in the cap of actor/director John Krasinski who has been on a movie success roll ever since he played Jim on the TV show, “The Office.”

The abandoned town was only made to look that way. It’s actually the town of Little Falls across the Hudson River, further in upstate New York, roughly two hours from New Paltz.

The friend who saw “A Quiet Place” was taken by the beauty of the landscape, thus why we sat in the theater waiting for the last of the credits to roll. I know I’ll never look at the Rail Trail Bridge in the same way.