“A Quiet Place” is full of bare feet, sign language and absolutely no silverware. Make one noise, and bloodthirsty creatures will find you within seconds.
The thriller, writer-director John Krasinski’s first film for a major studio, takes place in a world seized by a new kind of Hollywood monster: giant, grasshopper-y creatures who cannot see or smell but could hear a pin drop from miles away. The Abbotts, a family of five-ish helmed by real-life couple Krasinski and Emily Blunt, must therefore live in absolute silence to avoid suffering the same gruesome fate as most of humanity.
The roughly 90 lines of dialogue are too frequent for “A Quiet Place” to be considered a silent film, and the accompanying music is too subtle. But this isn’t a traditional horror flick, either. The gimmick makes for a novel theatrical experience — even an hour after you were told to silence your cellphone, you’ll remain keenly aware of how quiet the room is.
So what might you hear while clutching your seat’s armrests in terror? (Note: Minor spoilers ahead.)
1. Lots of munching on snacks
The Abbotts visit an abandoned grocery store in the film’s opening scene, careful to avoid bagged chips and similarly noisy foods. Crinkling plastic is a grave sin in this unfortunate future — the movie takes place in 2021 — but it isn’t so great in 2018, either. Because of how quiet the theater gets, you are likely to hear every crumple, munch or slurp in your vicinity. Just remember to open any loud packaging before “A Quiet Place” begins.
2. A sigh after someone drops their phone (or another belonging)
We all know how difficult it can be to look for something during a movie. When I went to see this one, some guy let out an exasperated sigh after his phone fell during a pivotal scene and made a huge thud. (Smartphones are apparently a lot heavier than you’d think.) A few people also dropped their snacks, and maybe a pen.
While it could be true that Krasinski and Blunt’s extremely evident love for each other makes everyone else temporarily lose control of their motor skills, it is more likely that we just usually have the luxury of a blaring soundtrack to cover up our clumsiness. Remember “Inception”? During those braaaaaaams, you could have dropped a textbook.
3. Vocalized concerns over Evelyn’s blood loss
Basements are known to be dangerous in horror movies, and this one plays by that rule. While walking down the stairs at one point, a stray nail pierces Evelyn’s (Blunt) foot. It’s obviously an awful experience — much worse than stepping on a Lego brick, and that’s just the pits — but this is “A Quiet Place” and she can’t express that pain. No swearing, no yelling — nothing!
It doesn’t help that the grasshopper-y things are on the prowl. Evelyn doesn’t have time to sanitize and wrap her foot immediately, so she just leaves a bunch of bloody footprints all over the basement floor. Some people around you will murmur in alarmed tones, but others might remark, “She’s losing too much blood!” like you’re in an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
4. Vocalized concerns about impending childbirth
Oh, Evelyn, you poor woman. A good chunk of the film takes place during the final trimester of her pregnancy — of course it does — and you spend much of that time wondering how she could possibly give birth in complete silence. And have they devised a plan for dealing with a screaming baby? As the mystery unfolds, the entire audience turns into that “confused math lady” meme, but out loud with a bunch of “How?!” and “WHAT?!” moments.
5. A series of yelps
Krasinski has mentioned in multiple interviews that “A Quiet Place” is just as much a movie about what parents will do for their children as it is a horror film. Viewers will squeal whenever the kids find themselves in danger and empathize when Evelyn asks her husband, “Who are we if we can’t protect them?”
Lest this sentimentality deter those just looking for a good fright, know that Krasinski also tacks on a good number of jump scares and menacing monster noises (even though the movie’s PG-13 rating prevents it from every getting too gory). And the prospect of childbirth in this setting seems terrifying enough.