I decided tonight to go see the opening show of A Quiet Place at my local theatre. I honestly had low expectations. The premise seemed kind of flimsy, but I was hopeful that I would be pleasantly surprised. Turns out, I was. A Quiet Place was really quite thrilling. For those of you not familiar with the film, creatures have taken over Earth as the dominant species on the planet. They are unable to see but make up for it with the sharpest and weirdest ears you’ve ever seen. Hence the title. The majority of the film is silent. When I first heard about it I thought this was going to be another movie with a clichéd gimmick. What I found, though, was not only inventive but really a stroke of genius.
As I hope you are well aware, there is a certain etiquette that movie goers should adhere to when attending the cinema. One of the cardinal rules is not to make noise. Even the slightest disturbance can bring your fellow patron out of the entrancement that is watching a movie in a theatre. The main appeal of going to see movies at the cinema as opposed to waiting to see them after a home release, at least in my opinion anyway, is that the audience is more readily fooled into forgetting they are watching a movie when in a theatre. The dim lighting, comfy chairs, big screen, immersive sound. These are all factors contributing to that out-of-body experience that is so unique to the theatre. Which is why it is important to make as little noise as possible. Now if you are like me, you recognize that such a proposal is easier said than done. Crunch popcorn, whispered chit-chat, and crinkly candy wrappers all contribute to the ruination of the movie going experience. So most people, or at least those with consideration for those around them, will wait for a loud moment of an action sequence or an orchestral swell in the score before reaching to unwrap that Snickers.
But with A Quiet Place, there is little sound to mask the patrons activities. Factor in the sincere level of attention the film endears, and you create a unique movie going experience. The viewer is actually made to struggle with keeping as quiet as possible, lest they break that unspeakable sin of interrupting the film. More than just forgetting you are in a movie theatre, A Quiet Place sucks it’s audience members’ mental state into the strain of having to be quiet. Factor that over the duration that the film takes place and the knowledge of what happens to characters in this world that make noise, and you have a viewing experience.
I’d like to discuss what happens in the film in detail, but I would be loathe to potentially ruin the in-the-moment- experience of seeing it in the theatre. So I will only say this. A Quiet Place is the reason we go to the cinema.