It’s officially Halloween, so I’m watching a movie that I’ve been wanting to see since I first heard about it. I love finding horror movies that have a unique or interesting framing to how they present the movie. Sound is such a great thing to play with in a movie and I feel like in horror especially since it is so ingrained in us for fear responses. There’s a reason that most jump scares are accompanied by the sudden, shrill violin sound in most modern movies.
Our story takes place in a world that has been apparently ravaged by creatures that hunt entirely by sound and a family that is doing their best to survive. They have tons of systems and procedures in place to ensure they make as little noise as possible. They have a deaf daughter, which means they already knew sign language and so had a leg up on most people when it comes to getting by when you can’t make noise. Obviously, the system breaks down at some point and they have to do their best to not get killed by the monsters. At its heart, the movie is about family and the struggle for parents to protect their children from a hostile world.
We don’t get any real information about the creatures aside from the fact that they are blind, can hear super well, and have tough armor exoskeletons. There’s nothing to say if they are aliens or genetic experiments or mutants or demons or what. While possibly aggravating for the audience member that wants to know more; this decision makes it so that the focus is more on the survival struggle rather than on repelling invaders or finding a cure. It makes for a more grounded story even if you have fantastical elements. Or it would if they hadn’t decided to make the end of the movie adhere to the very norms that it was trying to avoid.
Spoilers for the end of A Quiet Place ahead. The daughter has a hearing aid that the father is constantly trying to fix or replace with a better one. It turns out that when one of the creatures is nearby, the hearing aid starts to go into a feedback loop with whatever sound they are making. This generally fucks up the creatures and the mother even manages to kill one when it is struggling. The very end, though, has the mother with a shotgun and the daughter with her earpiece and a speaker system with several more creatures closing in and it takes this hard turn from survival horror to “fuck yeah, let’s kill all these bastards”. Which really makes me wonder how the world would be devastated since they can still get killed by a shotgun blast to the face. This ending just tosses away all the tension for some yeehaw monster murder.
For me the biggest weakness of the movie comes from the monsters themselves. We see one very early on in the film and it isn’t shy about showing them later on as well. The fact that the mystery of what is happening is taken away so soon relieves some of the tension and the creatures themselves being weird CGI monsters takes away even more. For a movie that is so very grounded in human relationships and struggles, I would have wanted to see more practical effects since the CGI feels so glaringly out of place with the rest of the film.
Overall, I definitely liked it but it had a few glaring faults that stopped it from becoming one of the truly classic horror films. I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5