‘A Quiet Place’ Is Not Just A Horror Film

The hype surrounding A Quiet Place died down, but we’re here to revive it because it’s time to talk about what that movie really means for us Filipinos.

But first, a little bit of background. This is John Krasinski’s third film as helmer. You probably know him from the American version of comedy show The Office. If you haven’t seen the show and you Google his character Jim Halpert, it might take a while to process the transformation from that character to his character in A Quiet Place.

Set in 2021, the A Quiet Place tells the story of the Abbott family that was forced to use sign language because 1) Lee’s (Krasinski) eldest child, Regan (Millecent Simmonds), is deaf, and 2) blind creatures that attack anything producing sounds roam Earth, where a great number of the human population has now died. I mean, librarians will love that place. Dictators, too.

Simmonds and Krasinski are joined in the film by Emily Blunt, the actor-director’s real-life wife, as his wife Evelyn.

Let’s get down to business. This interpretation of the film is filled with spoilers from this point on, so quit reading if you haven’t seen it.

It is important, I believe, to start with the ending when talking about this film and how it relates to the situation in the Philippines or, to be honest, in a lot of countries in the world. The film ends with Evelyn and Regan waiting inside their basement while the monsters run towards their direction after hearing gunshots. Evelyn cocks her firearm and the movie ends. What this means is the battle has not ended yet. The film talks about the present. Everything is still happening and people who make noise are still in danger of being attacked.

In the Philippines, when you make noise, something bad happens to you. That is basically what the movie is about: Live in silence and preserve your life. But does your silence mean freedom is also not important?

It doesn’t say so in the dialogue, but the Abbott family must have survived living with the monsters because they know how to communicate in sign language. This is of course thanks to Regan’s condition.

A Quiet Place (Mark Francis Banay/Ibalio Stories)

The story starts in an abandoned store. There, the family’s youngest member, 4-year-old Beau (Cade Woodward), finds a battery-operated space shuttle toy. Lee tells him that he cannot bring the toy, but Regan, when their father is not looking, gives her brother the toy. Since Evelyn is carrying the sick Marcus (Noah Jupe), no one notices what Beau’s up to. Unaware of the consequence of making a sound, the little boy activates the toy, makes a sound loud enough to attract attention from the monsters, and then gets immediately victimized by a violent monster.

Regan of course blames herself. Her family, though, doesn’t. In fact her father spends a lot of his time in their basement working on a homemade hearing aid. And he’s had a lot of failed attempts. This tells us that Lee has not given up on the idea that one day, they will live a normal life once again.

He believes that a day will come that their family will be able to communicate sans the use of sign language.

This is an important part of the story. Regan does not understand until later on in the film what his father has been doing in their basement just to help her hear again.

Now let’s talk about backstories. Or the film’s lack of it. Writers Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and Krasinski do not detail what the parents did for a living before the monsters ruled Earth. In some movies, this style of writing works. This is similar to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. You are never given a clue what the soldiers’ lives were like before they were sent to France. The dialogues don’t say it, there are no flashbacks, and the film’s Greek Chorus, of course the scenes with Commander Bolton, don’t provide a clue.

This gives the idea that the parents are Everyman. They are characters to whom you the audience are supposed to relate to. And you do. You relate to the pain, to the fear, and to what little joy the movie offers. In the end, you feel the attachment to the characters and with what they do to survive.

Krasinski and Blunt have told in interviews that this movie is about parents’ love to their kids and what they’re willing to do to protect them. I don’t think that’s necessarily it. It’s about rejecting not having a voice.

Look at Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Look at Senator Leila de Lima. Look at Sister Patricia Fox. All these women were up against a monster and his claws. They all made sound and so the monster started to hunt.

Update: There are news of a sequel, unfortunately. The film would have been good enough if it were a stand-alone story, but let’s see how the writers can expand its world with the next one.


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