Even before A Quiet Place was about to hit the theatres, I was blown away by the concept I saw in its trailers. Don’t make a sound! How apt is that for horror? I knew it was going to be promising then and there.
Fortunately, A Quiet Place movie doesn’t disappoint. It leverages that hush quotient to the maximum. It constructs itself in a way that uses all the possible rogue elements in real life that could overthrow a solid working plan – of keeping quiet. We are gradually prepared for the inevitability with a plot that has dangerous written all over it. It is like walking on the edge of a knife. You know that it’s not going to work, but the plot literally walks you through it.
Plot and Theme of A Quiet Place (Spoilers)
John Krasinski‘s genius lies in a world where staying mum is the word. There are blind aliens lurking in the city that rampage and decimate everything that makes a sound. So what are the things that make a sound? Oh! Wait, right about everything. To thrive in a world where even the teensiest noise is going to set them off, how do you think you are going to survive?
It has been carefully built, of course without the usual screenplay, with the music reworking itself to produce patient notes that become both engaging and thrilling alongside its nerve-racking storyline. It forces you to often go silent yourself, as you become the characters portrayed. That’s the impact A Quiet Place has on you. You can’t appreciate John Krasinski, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck enough to come up with a plot so wild and engaging that it rivets an entire hall of moviegoers at once and shuts them to silence.
What appears like a prologue basically bases itself as the nub of the story. A family of five scrounging off an emptied world, taking what they need and sticking together as a team.
Lee: Too noisy.
The little one Beau Abbott played by Cade Woodward who fails to understand how dire the situation was, makes a mistake and ends up paying the price. It is a scene that rips the family apart just as aliens do to the poor boy.
One of flick’s strength is, hands down, the hearing aids of Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds). It is as if the whole story revolves around it. It ends up becoming the reason of Beau’s death for which Lee (John Krasinski) begins to secretly blame Regan. It kills Regan to know that her Dad hates him because of something she doesn’t have control over. She feels guilty too but the past can’t be changed.
Same goes for Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) who plays wife to Lee. We see her often visiting Beau’s room and crying. It crushes her too knowing that her hands were empty, that she could have lifted Beau to avert the tragedy.
We fast forward to a year later where people are still secretly lamenting for Beau. Lee is trying to make contact with the outer world to check if there are others like them scavenging silently, still breathing. Evelyn is pregnant with another child (like really? I thought they were careful right about everything). Whilst Regan goes to visit Beau’s grave after having a heated ASL argument with her father.
Lee takes Marcus (Noah Jupe) to a river to teach him how to fish.
Marcus: Do you still love her?
Lee: Of course I do.
Marcus: You should tell her.
He shows him that innate louder sounds are always going to mask their normal talks and movements. It is an exercise that reassures you that there is a way to stay safe despite the current state of the world. Like how in a zombie-ridden world people would wrap themselves up with zombie insides to smell exactly like them. Workaround? Okay, that seems like a preparation for a sequel already.
Back at home, Evelyn goes into labour as she steps on a nail breaking a glass frame alerting nearby aliens. As an attempt to warn others she makes the exterior lights red signaling danger. What follows is a nerve-rending affair of her trying to beat the pain by staying quiet as aliens explore the interiors of her house.
It has all those mind-numbing elements impregnated that will force you to literally jump out of your seats. It’s like you are feeling her pain as the creature’s onslaught feels imminent. But you can only imagine it.
The Grain Silo
On returning and on finding the lights red, Lee asks Marcus to create a diversion with a rocket as he enters his house only to find Evelyn with the baby in the bathroom. With babies crying is inevitable, and so they nearly escape another close call as they further into the basement. Making a promise to look after their children Lee leaves.
Who are we if we can’t protect them? We have to protect them.
Meanwhile, Regan and Marcus unite and head to a grain silo to alert their father using a signal. Regan is defiant saying that her father doesn’t love her. Marcus tries to explain it isn’t true. In the midst of a confusion, he falls inside. He is about to become a victim of grain entrapment when Regan jumps in and helps him out using the fallen hatch door.
Marcus: He’ll come for us.
Regan: He’ll come for you.
Back at home, Evelyn wakes up to find that the basement is flooded and an alien is close by listening for sounds. Feel your heart in your mouth again! That alien heads towards the noise in the silos leaving the mother and the baby alone.
It is when the alien attacks the kids in the silo that we figure out their true weakness. Regan’s ear implants generate a high pitch frequency that drives the alien nuts as it runs away.
The Final Countdown
Lee reunites with the kids but the alien returns. Helping their kids to escape through a pickup truck, Lee sacrifices himself by yelling, drawing the creature towards him. He manages to say that he loves them both as Regan feels sorry for not understanding her father.
I love you. I’ve always loved you.
The children escape to meet their mother and the newly born at the farmhouse as the truck rolls downhill.
It is there that Regan witnesses all the implants her father had been making for her in a room she wasn’t allowed to enter. It is a melting feeling knowing that it’s too late now. That her father really cared about her and his deeds only spoke of love.
The creature follows them into the basement. Figuring out the power of the frequency of her implants, she places it in front of a microphone disorienting the alien altogether. It reveals the flesh underneath the armor as Evelyn shotguns it. Bam!
With one down, two more aliens are shown in the security monitors headed their way. With the newly acquired knowledge of how to kill aliens, Evelyn cocks her gun and prepares herself for an imminent war.
Now the hunted becomes the hunters. Curtain drops.
With her final expressions, you read defiance. When you are afraid of something, it overpowers you, and your fear makes you weaker. But the moment you decide to fight, the moment you find the weakness of your enemy and you take a shot, you overcome your fear. You force your enemy to take a step back. You can apply that everywhere in all the crises of life.
Memorabilia from A Quiet Place
The grain silo scene in the movie is the most memorable one. You cannot imagine how beautifully it has been pictured – two kids trapped in a silo. Almost feels like a painting as they hold on to each other, trying to be strong for something they don’t have a fighting chance against.
Then there is captivity in scenes where we play Regan. How she perceives her surroundings when her implants are not working. It is dead silence, right there. To be in her skin and listen to nothing, even though a world is ripping apart right behind her is a challenging watch. Not to mention how brilliantly it has been edited and alluringly pulled off.
I particularly loved all the surprises that were clamped together and the fact that the audience was filled with their knowledge. Like the existence of a ruthless nail, the broken pipe, and the alien lurking in the water. All of it has been perfectly stowed with horror.
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Weaknesses and Bugging Questions
A Quiet Place’s first big weakness I would say is in the leveraging of the first death. We hardly know Beau, and killing a character so early becomes very unrelatable. You don’t feel the pain but only get the horror of what might have happened when Beau was attacked. What fails to make you grieve over him, and make the pain less relatable is the fact that he was killed off in the very beginning without giving him a proper coverage.
A Quiet Place also makes you think about Lee’s decision to save his kids. But it is a good thing that it makes you think. Was there any other way to save his children? Could he have done something differently, at least died trying?
Another ringing question that might bug you is the alien’s perimeter of a rampage. How much does it cover when it hears a sound? While we see it awfully close to characters in the movie, it is still looking for a sound. So what if a man shouted at a place and ran swiftly to another. Will he still have a shot? What about an unmoving man? If you just stood still like Drax in Avengers Infinity War, what would it do to you then, huh?
Then again you are compelled to wonder that nature makes a lot of sound on its own. How are they registered by those aliens? Do they prance off in their killing mode at everything that makes a sound? Also, what’s their range? How far can they listen to? What about the birds? Were each one of them hunted down and killed? If so, can the aliens fly too?
I really hope we get some answers.
The Final Verdict
To be honest, the A Quiet Place’s true strength lies in its desperate moments, those unseen junctures where countless surprises are lurking. It is better you watch it for yourself to experience some genuine horror, the one that doesn’t have any supernatural elements attached. But something very innate that elicits pious fear from your insides.
A must watch for everyone. You know, something similar might happen to us one day. We better be prepared. Be packing!