Where We Live Too - A Quiet Place
Lately, audiences have been treated to horror films that advance the genre by thinking about sensory inputs in a different way. In the same vain as Don't Breathe and Hush, the John Krsinski-directed, A Quiet Place, ushers audiences into a world where senses aren't necessarily serving their everyday functions. Here, sound is the enemy and quietly is the only way to survive. And while the film does interesting things with its premise, what I find most compelling is the ways our protagonists have responded to the world they have been given.
Not unlike the Cloverfield universe, the Abbott Family inhabits a world that doesn't resemble ours. Theirs is one with beastly creatures who have essentially taken over as the apex predator. These creatures hunt based on even the faintest sounds, so humans must do their best to remain as quiet as possible at all times. They adopt American Sign Language over verbal English, they walk on powdered trails any time they leave the house, and they don't dare yell in the face of the terror they sometimes witness. All of this, in an effort to survive.
When we meet the Abbott clan, they have three children and are gathering supplies to take home with them. Throughout the film, we witness the inventive systems they have built to stay alive and we see glimpses of the danger that is seemingly always present. All the while, these parents (played by real life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski) are trying to love their children and keep their family in tact in the face of harrowing circumstances.
What struck me hardest about the film was the way the Abbotts seemingly weren't doing anything about their circumstance. Theirs was an insurmountable lot and their response was to hunker down and bear it. We are told that this has been their reality for years at this point, and everything they set up is a defense. There are no inconspicuous traps set for these monsters; no elaborate schemes to lure them into defeat. There are only ways to stay quiet and ways to protect one another if things go awry. For me, it speaks to a moment in our country where no one is quite sure what to do in response to obvious horror. Beyond blips of resistance, we are largely resigned to staying the course for at least these few years. We, like the Abbotts, aren't necessarily happy about it, but we have acquiesced to the fact that this is our new world and the best course of action is to keep our heads down and love those closest to us. We shift between muffling screams and remaining still enough that the moment won't swallow us whole.
The only times the film really hints at a solution is the children's allusions to rockets that will help them escape. The failed radio transmissions and the long walks where they don't encounter anyone else don't leave much room for hoping and that seems like the point. The danger is real and the film spends its 'quieter' half setting up 101 reasons the second half will be anything but quiet. There will be jump scares and ridiculously stressful situations (e.g., trying to deliver a baby silently!). There will be moments of calm and moments of terror. There will be things outside of their control. And the only sensible response is to remain in a quiet place.
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