I’ve never heard a movie theater so tense and quiet. A hush was over the rest of the audience, as if the slightest sound could doom the characters on screen. Then something would happen, the tension would break, everyone in the theater would react and murmur amongst each other, before settling in for the next suspenseful scene.
Two friends and I went to go see A Quiet Place late on Friday night on a whim. I only told my friend, Kyle, at the last minute. He was conflicted about staying out even later, but decided to join Pete and I because he “heard really good things about the movie.” I wanted to see the film because the trailers looked interesting and Pete had said that (at the time), “The movie has 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, so it HAS to be good!”
And it was really good. Maybe not 100 percent good, but still very good. However, I didn’t expect the theater to be so packed. I figured there’d be enough other big movies showing that would even out the crowds. But our theater was full-to-bursting and the three of us sat in one of the rows toward the very front.
I’ve never seen an audience get so wrapped in the tension. It was like we were all trying to help this family — a dad, a pregnant mom and a couple of kids — survive on their small farm out in the country in the present day, beset by a couple of blind alien monsters that hunt through hearing. Hence, all the quiet.
It’s not that none of the actors speak, but they do so in hushed tones and usually only in insulated rooms or around other natural sounds. Otherwise, the characters communicate in sign language. The teenage daughter in this film is deaf (they actually got a deaf actress to play the role) and this explains how the family is so well-versed in sign language as a way for communications after the aliens invade. It really comes in handy when you’re being stalked by monsters that hunt by sound and the movie uses it to great effect. I kinda had a problem with the teenage daughter, however, as she’s a constant source of teenage drama. Being angsty is not endearing in a life-or-death situation. Being thick-headed and doing your own thing is not an admirable quality in a horror-movie situation, especially when disobeying your dad, who’s a survivalist. In this case, father really does know best. I suppose you have to introduce conflict into a story somehow, but I found those moments very frustrating to watch.
The movie, itself, isn’t all quiet, however. It’s just the human characters try not to speak or make any noise. There’s the usual background noises of nature and animals in the woods around the farm. The movie has a bit of a soundtrack and a bit of music sometimes, but nothing that encroaches during moments of tension. Two of the writers for the film said that they grew up in Iowa and watched a lot of silent films in college, so their influence is apparent.
The film’s writers had also initially pitched A Quiet Place as an installment in the Cloverfield franchise. I thought that would have been neat, as it would have tied this film into a larger universe, and I could have totally seen this movie taking place just down the road from 10 Cloverfield Lane. But considering how well A Quiet Place is doing at the box office, I wouldn’t be surprised if it spawned its own franchise.
If A Quiet Place was linked to the Cloverfield franchise, it would have helped explain how the government and everyone else was busy dealing with a greater alien threat. I found myself increasingly having to suspend my disbelief as to why no one in power had found a way to deal with these monsters yet. I couldn’t believe that the U.S. Government, a large organization, entity or company hadn’t found a way to deal with these aliens with all our technology and weapons. Their natural armor isn’t that tough and they can be killed. So, what gives? It’s even more incredulous when a simple solution is found to deal with them toward the end of the movie and I had to wonder why no one else had found this out — even by accident — in the year or so since their arrival.
In A Quiet Place, we only see newspaper clippings about how a meteor struck Mexico and how the emerging alien threat had spread and decimated the population in North America. We don’t know how numerous the alien menace is or how many more are out there. We only know that there are three baddies in this small area of the movie.
In my opinion, it would have made more sense if the greater alien threat had been dealt with, but there were still remnants of the threat roaming around and these three aliens happened to be harassing this small farm. After all, it’s not like this is a Zombie outbreak. These are aliens, and they don’t have the technological backing of the Cloverfield monsters. There are no spaceships zooming about, gassing the countryside like in 10 Cloverfield Lane. Even if there were, we could beat them back like in Independence Day. And, if, like in Attack The Block, a bunch of British teenage hoodlums can rally to take out a group of alien monsters from a meteor with only everyday weapons, you’d think that Americans — with all our technology and guns — could do even better. If not the U.S. military, then at least one of the independent groups or paramilitary organizations could step in. I mean, have you played Far Cry 5? You know that our nation likes to pack some firepower… yeah, ‘merica!
While the parents in A Quiet Place sometimes have a shotgun handy in case one of the aliens gets too close to their children, they are hesitant against using it for fear of alerting one of the other aliens in the area. Which begs the question: Why not have some weapons that don’t make a sound?
After watching so many seasons of The Walking Dead, it might be handy to have a katana like Michonne or a similar sword. After all, if you’re gonna go down, might as well go down swinging. Sure, the dad in A Quiet Place has a hunting knife attached to his backpack, but I would have had that thing hanging from my belt at all times. You don’t even have to get in close to kill a monster. The dad is shown to be a survivalist, so I wonder if he ever saw The Edge. If Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin can take down a grizzly bear in the manner that Native Americans did, I would certainly consider having a spear handy. Better yet, a boar spear, so the impaled creature couldn’t push forward and gore you.
Otherwise, the movie is quite an experience to watch. It’s good to have some nail-biting creature scenes that you usually only find in a film like Aliens or the Alien: Isolation video game. Although, I personally might have preferred practical creature effects over CGI, like in the earlier Alien films.
If you’re looking for a thrilling film to watch this week, I’d recommend A Quiet Place. You can see it with friends or take a date; there’s enough suspenseful situations that’ll have your significant other grabbing your arm and pulling you in close. The film isn’t really bloody or gorey, which makes it easier to watch in mixed company. The cast is good and it’s well acted. The situation draws you in and it’s well shot. Props have to go out to the sound editing and mixing teams for this movie; it must have been quite the feat, but it certainly ratchets up the tension.
I can give no better recommendation for this movie than recounting my experience with my friends. At the end of the movie, the crowded theater applauded and cheered. I heard everyone begin happily chatting about the movie, as we all left the theater.