Why I Left A Quiet Place After Only A Few Minutes
A Quiet Place had a lot of buzz when it came out in 2018, but though I’m a huge fan of both Emily Blunt and John Krasinsky, for various reasons, I never saw it. So the other night, after a hiatus due to an injury, I was looking for scifi to watch while burning calories on my treadmill, and Netflix offered it up. But after five or ten minutes, I’d had enough. Here’s why.
In case you don’t know, the premise is that the Earth has been overrun by blind monsters that, as we learn in the first scene, if you make more than a peep, will swoop out of the shadows and obliterate you with no possibility of defense, and it’s rather implied they can do this en masse. Okay. Sure. Scifi Horror then.
The first scene has the family foraging in the nearby downtown pharmacy in bare and socked feet, some six months into the crisis. Yeah…no. As a parent, I don’t buy taking small children on such an expedition, and as a hiker, I don’t buy feet having toughed up enough to withstand a miles-long trek down the railroad median in that amount of time. Nor that — in that amount of time — the entire railroad median has been paved with enough sand to create a sound deadening path. In six months? While fighting for life? Without making a sound? Come on.
And while the family is clearly terrified of making noise, they utterly ignore paper rustling in the wind. Clearly, they know the monsters only react to noise as a sign of like, not natural background noise. Well okay then–so live near a waterfall or put up speakers that broadcast masking noise–right? You guys have played hide-and-seek at some point, yes?
After baby girl puts batteries in a Space Shuttle toy and shows off the ferocity of the monsters, we zip forward to “Day 437” or something, so a little more than a year. The family lives on a farm–neatly planted in grain monoculture. Er…no. Without machinery or even animals (the monsters smash raccoons, so horses and mules are out of the question) so how can you plow straight rows? And why? Since you can’t transport grain into storage or to market, you would only grow for local consumption–so a diverse vegetable garden. And then the man-o-the-family lights a fire and sees other fired returned through the forest–other people live nearby. Okay, but fires make noise. Maybe the monsters can’t climb atop a grain silo (where he’s lit his signal fire)? Well in that case, I’d use that to my advantage.
Oh….and these folks have electricity (must be solar since civilization has clearly collapsed) but they waste it on pretty lights strung up outside instead of indoor lighting–which is mostly candles and a kerosene lamp. Really? Trust me, as someone who grew up in the country, you’d save those candles for emergencies–and burn them in jars to keep them safe, and hang the kerosene lantern up off the floor so it doesn’t get knocked over (which is what happens), and risk burning down your one and only safe haven!
And now Mamma is pregnant. She’s preparing a sound-proof crib in which the baby will live on an oxygen cylinder….WTF? You folks have met babies, right? And what did you pressurize the cylinder with? Did you really cart it (and presumably a hundred or two more) from the local supply without ever once making a sound? Really? And they are trying to sound-proof a room–well sure, “A Quiet Place” right, but realistically, it would NOT be in the center of the main habitation, it would be in the cellar where Mr. Dad does his soldering…or better yet, in a root cellar in an outbuilding on the farm. Why? Because it’s inevitable a baby will make noise, and you want some isolation from the rest of the family. That’s just real life–talk to your great grand parents about farming before the days of mosquito control and vaccines and antibiotics. You do what you need to survive, or you don’t survive.
But…what really killed it for me was the scene where the kids are playing Monopoly with little felt and crocheted peices and that knock over the kerosene lamp (where are you getting kerosene, BTW?) and there is a ruckus putting it out, and a bang that turn out just to be a couple of raccoons shuffling off this mortal coil…
This is over a year into this….whatever this is. If monsters come running when you make a sound, you are very, very quickly going to figure out that when accidents happen (and they will) the intelligent thing to do is calmly, quickly, and quietly, walk away from where the sound happened to some other place–like the next room or a spider hole beneath the floor or the cellar. A year in, this would be well-drilled and habitual. You make a noise, everyone picks of an goes to battle stations to wait out what’s to come. You would not, a year in, look at each other as if this were the first time you’d accidentally stubbed your toe in a year. Really?
And that’s about where I gave up. This story only works (for me, at least) if the main characters are smart enough to have survived where most others didn’t and have adapted in ways I can believe. And oh, BTW, the VERY first thing they should be focusing on after basic survival is not whatever “miracle Ear” Mr. Dad is foisting un-requested on his daughter, but on learning about the enemy. The monsters are alive, therefore they can be killed and have vulnerabilities. They clearly only attack noises, and so can be attacked. distracted, or at least lured with sound. If after a year, the survivors aren’t working on a plan to at least temporarily clear an area of these creatures, then they are doomed, and will live only until there existing buildings start to collapse with age–since driving a nail is a death sentence.
Yeah, I’m probably being too impatient. I’ll probably go back and watch some more later–but it’s just very hard to stay with a story that forced me to pay attention (no dialogue to listen to while web browsing) yet yanks me out of the story scene after scene after scene.