In many ways. A Quiet place will remind you of Don’t Breathe- a taut thriller wherein three delinquents realize they’ve just broken into the wrong house. The owner turns out to be blind and the three intruders discover they mustn’t make a single sound if they are to escape.
In A Quiet Place, there is no crazy old man with sinister intentions, nor the limitation of being trapped in a house with bars on windows. Here, we see a whole wide world sometime in the future where creatures attack anyone who makes a single sound.
The first thing that comes to mind is: Really? Everyone is dead? Any city in the world has almost a million people. The city they live in definitely had more than a million, yet, no one survives the attack better than this one family who seemed to have survived attacks from these creatures for more than a year.
The second thing that comes to mind when you see the newspaper articles is how these experts, who have found out that the creatures are attracted to sound, perished? And when the newspapers were being printed, didn’t that make a sound? Is that how the journalists died?
Despite this, A Quiet place can be described as a unique movie watching experience. But this emotion surfaces only in the second half as things slowly reveal. Because one of the questions I did ask myself was, how was the family able to converse in sign language so adeptly?
It is later revealed that the daughter has hearing issues and the father had been trying to create a device that would allow her to hear.
The movie begins with the family scouring for food and medicines. The supermarket is empty because apparently everyone in the city couldn’t keep quiet and were killed by the creatures instantly. The small boy in the family takes a liking to a toy that makes a lot of sound. In spite of the parents warning him to not take it and remove the batteries, the sister lets him have it and goes out leaving her kid brother unattended. He obviously takes the batteries.
They then make their way barefoot through the woods because all shoes make too much sound. They have to breathe softly and it is lucky none of them cough, burp or sneeze. The youngest is at least ten feet away from the family who are walking in a line. Of course, he inserts the batteries in the toy and of course he switches it on.
The sound plays and the family makes horrified expressions. The father is the only one who makes a run toward his son, but he’s about fifty feet away. By the time he reaches to the end of the bridge they were on, the creature instantly kills him.
Much later, the family is shown going about their daily life. The father has a basement where he tries to find other survivors, figure out the creatures’ weakness and also creates a device for his device daughter. The mother is pregnant and the children indulge themselves with monopoly.
The family is shown to be extremely careful about not making a sound and yet to wonder how they would cope with a crying baby who wouldn’t understand that he has to be quiet.
One fine day, the father takes his son fishing and explains to him they could talk, scream whatever only if it was masked by a louder sound, in this case, behind a waterfall. This secret was kept for 439 days.
On the other side, the daughter, still wracked with guilt over being responsible for her kid brother’s death, visits his grave site by the bridge. The mother, going through the nursery at home, is unaware her daughter isn’t home and to create some drama, goes into labor.
The minute her water breaks, the glass frame photograph she has in her hand, crashes onto the floor, alerting the creatures whose hearing is so sensitive that they could be in another country, yet rush to the house.
To make matters worse, the mother steps on a nail in the stair and we see her muffling her screams as she sees the creature roaming about in her house. She manages to turn the house lights to red, alerting her family who then set fireworks to distract the creatures. That is when the mother screams as her labor intensifies.
The father has a shotgun but never gets to kill a creature. The mother gives birth and manages to hide the baby’s cries. The father has forgotten his children in the field and uses the cameras to seek them out. There is more drama as the children fall into the silo and almost suffocate in the grains. At this point, I was reminded of the famous Titanic scene and was relieved when both children got on the door.
By now it seems the creatures don’t care about sounds, they just want to roam around the family’s home and fields. The creature begins to attack the children and the father makes the ultimate sacrifice. He signs that he loves his kids before screaming. Rather than screaming, I wondered if the scene would have been better if he had screamed his love for the children and signed it so both children could have seen and heard it.
The children are saved, there are no tears shed for the death of the father as the creature has decided to trespass into their home. The daughter comes to a realization that the high pitch frequency emitted by her hearing aid, causes the creature to get distracted and reveal his muscular soft spot beneath the armor.
She uses this to her advantage while the mother takes a shot with the gun. The sound attracts the nearby creatures. Now that they know the creatures’ weakness, they know how to defeat them.
The movie does make you question about the other survivors, the origins of the creatures and the way the family found no other ways of soundproofing their home. Or show them visiting the waterfall regularly to let out a scream or just have a normal conversation. There were ways to distract the creatures and in a way, A quiet place didn’t need to be that quiet after all.
The first half seems a bit dragging and the second half makes up for it in pace and thrills. It is an interesting movie to watch, just not as frightening and thrilling as it could have been.
Scare scale: 2.5/5