A Quiet Place Part II, the post-apocalyptic movie, is currently on hold because of coronovirus. Since theaters are closed, professional reviewers are mainly doing retrospective pieces on movies from ages past.
Since A Quiet Place Part II is on the queue of movies to come back once the pandemic is over, I thought I should review the prequel and offer my take as a Deaf man myself.
Silence After the Storm
A Quiet Place is set during the aftermath of an extraterrestrial invasion of creatures that hunt with an hyper-acute sense of hearing. Basically, they’re a swarm of Daredevils. Big, hulking Daredevils that crush small animals with their bare hands.
Due to the creatures’ impenetrable skin, Earth’s Armed Forces could not fight them off.
The film focuses on a family of four that hides from the creatures by staying quiet (hence the title).
The Daughter is Deaf who communicates via sign language and uses a cochlear implant. The Father, Mother, and Son all use this necessity to great benefit.
Aside from their bilingual skills, they’re also incredibly resourceful: they never wear shoes, they walk along smooth paths of their own making, and avoid using hard objects (survival tactics to preclude noise that would attract the creatures).
A Quiet Place uses a very unique, original premise and makes spectacular use of it. The deafening silence for much of the film makes the noisy scenes all the more terrifying and unsettling.
Most Hollywood jump-scares don’t work because the viewer is already accustomed to hearing loud, jarring things (like the teenage girls in Halloween and Friday the 13th).😀
Nuclear Family, Nuclear Holocaust?
The family’s characterization is also a bold touch: ostensibly, they’re conservative.
The Father leads them, teaches his kids survival skills, and is good with his hands. He’s constantly working to customize and improve his Daughter’s implant, to eventual great effect (more on that in a bit).
The Mother is nuturing, delicate, and willing to suffer through the pain of childbirth in silence. It’s really no suprise that their last names are “Abbot.”
A theory went around saying the film’s secret message is about white conservatives staying silent in a politically correct world. If said white conservatives make any noise, the “dark others” will find and harm them.
I’m not sure what John Krasinski’s intent was with this film when he wrote it. I do believe that our inner philosophies reveal themselves in the stories that we write.
But if the real-life Krasinski thinks he needs to stay silent to stay safe, then I’ll respectfully stay silent, too. There’s no need to assert an artist’s intention.
Regardless of intent, if the movie was one thing, it was bold.
The Father, the lead protector, was summarily killed off. Such a dire circumstance can radically change the order of any family, which is why I hope the storyline of Part II will be intriguing.
There’s only so much a lone Mother can do for her children. How will the fatherless boy survive in a world that is dangerous? How will the Deaf girl survive a world that can’t/won’t communicate with her?
Bionic Ear = Sonic Weapon?
While the use of sign language drove the film’s appeal, it got to the point where it pandered.
Unbeknowst to most, the Father tweaking the CI to help his Daughter hear again is subtle cultural commentary. You see, Deaf folks see CIs as a “fix” for something they don’t consider a disability.
The Daughter visibly wanted nothing to do with the device. It caused her nothing but literal pain. Deaf people don’t want enhancements, they just want to be left alone to their own devices, so to speak.
Apparently, with some tweaks, the implant could emit high-pitched hums. These pitches incapitated the creatures, causing them to open up their heads and leaving them vulnerable to attack (like the Bosses in Zelda games).
First of all, as a CI-user myself, I can affirm that cochlear implants do not work this way. They take normal sounds and transmit them directly to the brain.
They do not radiate banshee-shrieks like ultrasonic weapons. Let’s get that part out of the way.
I know, I know; it’s a movie. I get it. I should suspend my belief, and you’re right.
But the problem is not that it’s illogical. The problem is that it belies an eagerness to pander.
Specifically, it panders to the Deaf community (“Deaf people are so great! We need you to defeat highly-intelligent, highly-dangerous space monsters!”)
Let’s Not be Naive…
I mean, a better way to combat the creatures would’ve been for the Father to construct an actual ultrasonic weapon. He already had a solid understanding of audiology, no?
They could’ve hidden this weapon until the creatures approached it. The weapon’s high-pitched emittances would’ve confused the hell out of them. It would’ve caused them to attack each other instead of the Abbots!
Hey, not a bad idea, that.😏
See, if the film was a political piece, this solution would’ve made more sense (make some noise and cause Leftists to go after each other). Ha.
I’m just being facetious.
Maybe this was on the drawing board during the writing stages. Maybe Krasinski didn’t go with it because he had to put a lid on his politics.
And judging by how the world/media can act like the blind savages in A Quiet Place … well, can’t say I blame him.🤷♂️
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