Movie Review: The Quiet Place and the State of Survival Films
Last night I watched the Quiet Place. As a movie it is golden. The cinematography is on point, the acting is great and I must say as a director John Krasinski is promising: the scene of the death of Abbott family’s younger son is well made and, as it should be, hard hitting.
But, as is the case with most of survival/post apocalyptic movies, I was disappointed that the characters made stupid decisions only for the sake of the plot being driven.
The first scene of the Quiet Place is set 83 days after the unknown to the audience event of how the monsters in the movie came to be. The family of protagonists raid a drugstore for supplies. The place, while deserter, still looks moderately stocked, indicating that the event must have left very few survivors. That foraging trip unfortunately has a tragic conclusion for our protagonists, as they lose their youngest child. Also, in this scene we are shown what attracts the monster: they are very sensitive to sound.
The movie depicts Krasinski’s character as a man that is looking for a solution and prepares extensively for various scenarios, but at the same time fails to make simple deductions from the knowledge he has. He has paths lined up with sand all the way from his farm to the town, in order to suppress the sound of steps. He has lights all around his farm to act as a signal, he has firecrackers to act as bait, radio in the basement and paper clippings with information about the monsters, but again he falls short on testing anything that might be a weakness for the monsters.
The movie has several time jumps, the first scene is at 83 days after the appearance of the monsters and the final act is at 470, giving the characters plenty of time time to build knowledge and understanding of their rival.
Instead, they make least sensible decision possible decision, under such circumstances. Faced with an enemy that is super sensitive to sound, an enemy that they have found no way to counter, they decided to have a baby, a creature that that all it does from the very first seconds of its life is cry very very loud. Without any way to counter the monsters, a baby is not a calculated risk like it would be in other survival movies and TV series, but certain suicide. Of course they took some measures like an soundproofed underground shelter and a box with an oxygen supply for the baby, but still that leaves much to be desired as an acceptable plot.
If, for the sake of argument, you had to face blind creatures with super hearing, the best course of action would be to use sound to your advantage. The farm where our heroes live has electricity; a number of speakers at various distances around the farm activated at will could give you time to make an escape or hide when it was needed, but we only see the use of bait in the form of firecrackers. We see Krasinski repairing his daughter’s hearing aid in the basement, so it is safe to say that such a contraption would not be outside his skills.
This is a beautiful film and interesting concept, but this is all it is. If you are looking for survival tips or hears that make reasonable choices under life and death situations, you will have to look elsewhere. It is a fairly novel idea, which is greatly appreciated in a world where everything is a reboot of reboot. The next step would be for the filmmakers to finally give their characters some semblance of common sense, and adhere to the rules of the very universe they are creating.