A Quiet Place Explained

A Quiet Place Explained

On this podcast, we dig deeper into A Quiet Place to explain what’s really going on. Listen here:

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Shhhhhh… Be vewy quiiiiiiieeeeet. It’s SCARY MOVIE MONTH! And we’re kicking off the month with an amazing new sci-fi, geek horror movie from earlier this year: A QUIET PLACE! Jay and Daryl are joined by Markeia McCarty from Marvel Movie News (and many other geek places) to dig deeper into A QUIET PLACE!

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Ashley’s Take: A Quiet Place Explained

The Story Geeks’ blogger Ashley Pauls responds with her own take on the questions discussed in the podcast.

To start off, how did you like “A Quiet Place”? How do you think it compares to other scary movies?

I saw the trailers for “A Quiet Place” and wanted to catch this in theaters, but time got away from me, and I ended up watching it for the first time in preparation for this blog. I really liked it! In my opinion, it doesn’t pack *quite* the same narrative punch as “Get Out,” which the Story Geeks will cover later this month. But it’s a very well-made film that’s exactly the kind of scary movie that I most enjoy.

I’m not really into the super gory, violent horror films; I prefer thrillers like this one, that use your own fears, expectations, and assumptions against you to deliver the biggest scares. What you don’t see is always scarier than what you do see; we spend a lot of time waiting for the monsters to show up in “A Quiet Place,” and when they do, it’s terrifying.

We see only eight characters in this film; one of which is an infant and one of which we only see dead. With such a small cast, every character is really rich and well developed. Who do you relate to the most and why?

I thought all the characters were fascinating in their own way, and I really liked how the Abbotts related to each other as a family. But the one character I probably related to the most was the oldest daughter, Regan. Seeing this character struggle throughout the film really broke my heart; even though it wasn’t her fault, she blames herself for her younger brother’s death. She fears her parents blame her too and that they’ve stopped loving her. This only increases her feelings of isolation, which would already be bad enough in a post-apocalyptic world without any other close friends or family nearby.

Although I certainly didn’t have to deal with anything close to the severity of Regan’s experiences while I was growing up, I could relate to her feelings of loneliness. Sometimes I also felt like I didn’t fit in, and I would always agonize over my past mistakes. As an adult, I’ve learned to make peace with that, and I’ve accepted that I can’t change my past mistakes but I can use them as motivation to help me make better choices in the future. I loved watching Regan get to be the hero at the end of the film, and I was glad she got to see just how much her family loves her.

In the midst of the tragedy around them, the Abbotts have worked hard to maintain their family unit and some sense of a real life. They have family dinner, board games, chores, and so on. This is a stark difference from other apocalypse-based stories (such as “The Walking Dead”) where survivors go to a much darker place. Do you think we’d have to lose ourselves in order to survive the apocalypse?

I think it would be really easy to lose oneself if you were fighting for survival on a day to day basis in a bleak and depressing world. I’d like to think that I would take the high road, and prioritize others before my own survival. Would I steal food and other supplies? Is stealing food justifiable in an apocalyptic setting where people are starving? What other moral compromises should people be allowed to make? Maybe that’s an impossible question to answer, until you’re actually in that sort of situation.

I hope I would be like the Abbott family if I ever found myself in a situation like theirs. The Abbotts are a really beautiful example of a family sticking together through a horrific time and also clinging stubbornly to their humanity. I think it’s super important that we see them doing “normal” activities like eating dinner together and playing games. In order to survive in such a terrible world, you have to carve out little moments of joy and hope. You have to keep clinging to the light if you’re going to survive the darkness, and you shouldn’t allow yourself to become a horrible person just because your surroundings seem hopeless.

After the loss of Beau in the opening of the film, Lee and Evelyn go on to have another baby. How do you feel about this? Is it an act of hope? Is it irresponsible? Is it an emotional response to the loss of Beau?

Hmm, this is a tough one. My gut reaction is to say yes, it is irresponsible. Bringing a baby into a world where making a sound is a death sentence seems like a really unfair thing to do. Babies cannot help the fact that they cry, but by doing so they put themselves and the whole family at risk.

At the same time, there is something stubbornly hopeful about choosing to bring a baby into such an awful world. It tells me that the Abbotts believe there’s at least a small chance that the situation may someday get better and the monsters might go away. If you lose hope, you lose the will to survive, and maybe having this new baby is a part of their motivation to keep fighting.

The Abbotts take a moment to pray before they eat. It’s a quick moment, but we wouldn’t be The Story Geeks if we didn’t take a deeper look at it. What do you think this says about spirituality in the world of the film?

I really loved that moment in the film, and I think there’s a lot of meaning we can pull from it. Even though they’re in this terrible situation and can’t even pray out loud due to their fear of being discovered by the monsters, the Abbotts believe that it’s important to still give thanks. And yes, even in the midst of this apocalyptic reality, they still have things to be thankful for. They have food on the table, and they still have each other, and they take the time to thank God for that. It reminds them — and us — that God is always there, regardless of what we are going through.

Let’s take a look at some of the representations of love in this film… How do you feel about the love we see in these relationships:
• Lee’s love for the kids
• Evelyn’s love for the kids
• Lee and Evelyn’s love for each other

We can easily see just how much the parents care about their children; this especially comes through in moments where the children are in danger and the parents fight to protect them, risking their own lives in the process. But their love for their children also comes through in quieter, smaller moments, such as a smile or a hug. We don’t even need to hear the family members talking to each other to sense that affection.

It’s also easy to see how much Lee and Evelyn care for each other. Another favorite moment of mine in the film is when Evelyn is listening to music and shares an earbud with Lee, and they just have this special moment where they’re dancing together. It goes back to the earlier question addressing how to maintain your humanity in the apocalypse; that was just such a pure, sweet moment, like something a couple would normally do if the world wasn’t falling apart around them.

Did Lee have to die? How do you feel about that choice and its execution?

I have mixed feelings about this. I would have liked to see the family all together at the end, with Lee and Evelyn both fighting off the monsters, but I totally understand why the filmmakers made this choice. It allows Regan to see, once and for all, how much her father loves her. It really drives home the film’s theme of the importance of family, and gives the film a more poignant ending than it might have otherwise.

Regan’s deafness ends up being a big part of the key to defeating the aliens. What do you think this film has to say about disabilities? Could other filmmakers learn something from this film about representation within their narratives?

I think it’s great to see more diverse representations on screen, and I’m really glad they picked a deaf actress, Millicent Simmonds, to play a deaf character. This makes the character feel more authentic, as Simmonds can bring her real-life experiences to the role.

People with disabilities are just people, like all of us. They have hopes, dreams, challenges, and fears. Again, just like all of us. It’s important to have films that reflect the diversity of human experiences, and to show how deaf people, people in a wheelchair, people battling a chronic illness, etc., view the world. We’re not all the same, and films can help us empathize with people who have a completely different way of life than we do.

I would love to see more films follow in the footsteps of “A Quiet Place” by casting actors with disabilities to play characters with disabilities. It would be great to see more characters like Regan showing up in major franchises like Marvel, Star Wars, etc.

How do you feel about the ending of the film? Does it leave you satisfied? Does it make you want a sequel?

I like the ending, and I appreciate that they left it somewhat open. You see the family reunited and determined to fight back against the monsters; there’s definitely hope for the future, although it is by no means a perfectly happy ending. We don’t know for certain that they survive the pending monster attack, but I’d like to think that they did.

I don’t believe the film would have been as effective if it had ended with all the family members surviving and the monsters completely wiped out all across the world. I like that they leave us with some uncertainty, which is why I don’t really want a sequel. “A Quiet Place” is a great standalone film, and I think a sequel would lose some of the magic. I feel that the filmmakers might fall into the trap of thinking “bigger = better,” when this film works so well because of its smaller, more intimate scope.