Qt3 Movie Podcast: A Quiet Place


#41

Well, we learned they could be killed with a shotgun, so that certainly ups the theory that if you had something make a noise loud enough, you could kill them with whatever you wanted while they were distracted.

This ties back to the thought several of us have had, why not live at the river?


#42

My guess there is that their heads needed to be ‘open’ to be vulnerable or else what was that ‘armored’ note about?

Yeah, I said to my brother when we left the cinema that they should have setup shop near the waterfall, or yeah, by a river or near the coast to blanket their sound somewhat.


#43

This is the part (and the waterfall) I couldn’t get past. These creatures completely ignore areas with continuous sound. Why not write THAT on your whiteboard and do something with it?


#44

I left the movie and said to my son, “I really enjoyed the movie, but I need to not think about it too much!”


#45

I took that cool clicking sound they were making as not just a cool movie alien sound, but echolocation. Which helps them navigate their environment, but isn’t perfect for hunting a prey they have presumably never hunted before in the history of their own race. That’s why the humans have learned to mask behind sound, or to stay silent and still, because the echolocation abilities of the creatures is not perfect.

Why are we assigning perfection to them, or demanding it in this movie? Imagine our human race invading another planet with a whole range of sensory demands for which we are not prepared. We might adapt, but it would take time and it would be in fits and starts. Even if the indigenous race(s) considered us “indestructible” for whatever reason.

One of the cool things about this movie is that we don’t know how they got here. We don’t know if it was a full on invasion, or an escape from some other system or planet, or even an emergency landing. And I love not knowing that.

I honestly don’t get all the hand-wringing about them not living near the waterfall. Think about it for a second. Imagine them as a family having to construct a whole new structure. Having to build a house. You think that might make a tad bit of noise? They repurpose the houses they have (or find) to fit their needs. They can’t just drag a bunch of lumber down to the waterfall and make a structure. That would be suicide.

This is, however, an attempt to address a concern I think is a story choice with logical reasoning from this world, which I think is unnecessary. Just as I think explaining how the aliens/monsters/whatever-they-are got here. It was a story choice that I trust. I trust there are reasons for not living near the waterfall or river, and I freely admit, as I did on the show, that I’m being forgiving because I love the movie. I mean, I could come up with a host of reasons for why this is so, but the writers didn’t do so because they wanted to spend their time with other story elements, and the movie is strong enough to make “but why didn’t they live under a waterfall?” a question I am absolutely uninterested in having answered. I get that it’s a deal-killer for some of you, I just don’t worry why, any more than I worry about why the aliens in Alien have mandibles within their mouths–something that always bothered Roger Ebert. It looks cool and it works visually, so what if it doesn’t make sense w/r/t human biological construction.

One of my favorite listener email comments was from @marquac about the doors, btw. I’m sure I brought that up. I love it when someone mentions something like that, something I did not even consider.

-xtien


#46

My girlfriend is out seeing the film right now and we intend to listen to the podcast afterwards but what did marquac say about the doors? As someone who detests door slamming in real-life, I loved that everyone closed them quietly throughout the movie. I suppose I’ll find out when I give the podcast a listen! :-)

Yeah, I loved that too. It’s not something I need to know. However, the moment you show me the creature and how it behaves in different scenarios, is the moment I’m going to start asking questions about it I’m afraid!

Just to reiterate: I enjoyed the movie and these things didn’t bother me much, but they were questions. And that’s a good point about the noise of building a shelter. Easy to forget just how much noise pretty much everything makes.


#47

But it’s not echolocation. At best, it’s sonar. if it were echolocation, it could detect movement.


#48

What makes you think they’re aliens? They could be indigenous. The whiteboard doesn’t tell us one way or the other!

-Tom


#49

#50

Very cool. I almost wish some of that stuff had made it into the movie. However, if it’s not on the whiteboard, it’s not canon!

-Tom


#51

It was hinted at pretty strongly in one of the newspaper headlines. “Meteorite hits New Mexico!”, or something.


#52

Thanks. Tom and Dingus are too proper to laugh at such whimsies, so every week I have to pretend I’m saying all this in a drunken rowdy college bar that just happens to be populated and staffed by mutes. Nevertheless, Tom and Dingus live next door to this bar and call the cops frequently to swing by and urge its denizens to “keep it down.”


#53

So ultimately I had a problem with the consistency of the rules in this movie, but I also have the impulse to defend the movie from a lot of the little ways Tom felt it didn’t stick to the rules.

I think the movie logic for the aliens and what they can and can’t hear could be boiled down to a consistent application of “it’s the thought that counts”.

It might not make sense that the aliens can’t hear the kid in the opening scene running around barefoot—his feet are obviously still making a sound on the floor of the store. It might not make sense that because there’s water rushing, the aliens can’t also identify the additional sound of the baby whining, etc.

But I was willing to roll with all of that because it was still consistent enough to allow for effective conflict/tension when the movie wanted it. The kid was barefoot, as a family they’d taken that precaution so their footsteps wouldn’t make (much) noise. The movie did establish, as implausible as it might be, that a louder sound can still “de-danger” a quieter sound (even though obviously a sound isn’t necessarily obscured just by something louder also happening).

A new baby wasn’t necessarily a death sentence, but it was going to mean drastic measures, like giving them oxygen so you could basically seal them in a box when they were noisy. Life was hard but the family was able to adapt their lifestyle to do things quietly, and the danger came either when they broke the rules they had established for themselves, or when the unexpected happened.

At least, except for the climax of the film, when everything I just said goes out the window and for some reason the alien zeros in on Krasinski after he grabs the pick-axe. That was what took me out of the film, when Krasinski is doing everything right—he’s being quiet—nothing goes wrong—I kept waiting for some other tool to fall over in the shed but it didnt’—and yet as he walks away from the shed, the movie drops all its rules, we see the alien basically “watching” him, and it goes in for the attack.


#54

Right, and that’s exactly my problem. Danger was only as dangerous as whatever storybeat the script wanted at any given moment. Which can work if you’re making an arthouse movie like It Comes At Night where the characters’ behavior is more important than any monster. But it’s sloppy in a rules-based creature feature, which I don’t mind in something dopey like Tremors or The Darkest Hour or Mars Attacks. But A Quiet Place pretends it’s one thing, yet it plays like it’s another.

-Tom


#55

I don’t think I got across what I meant to. I meant this movie was effective as a rules-based creature feature because you could consistently apply a logic presented in the film*, even though that logic was not always strictly realistic.

The waterfall, for example. The first thing the dad does is that loud shout, and from the perspective of the camera right there with them under the waterfall, that was already a little weird. We had no idea how that was supposed to sound from a distance, but he says it’s safe. And we do get a shot a moment later from outside of the waterfall of them just talking, and their voices are almost inaudible through the crashing of the water.

I don’t think that’s exactly realistic, but it is consistent through the film. They spell it out to the audience, loud sounds are okay if there’s something louder. So later on, when the mom steps behind the cascade of water in the basement and it’s enough to buy her time with the whimpering baby, that felt fair. It was playing by the rules the movie established.

Broadly, the logic of the film was that caution was safe. If the characters lived by the rules they created (not the meta-level rules we’re discussing for the creatures) to do things quietly, their actions wouldn’t be dangerous. I don’t remember the movie ever breaking this logic. When the characters broke those rules, there was danger. Again, consistent. But crucially through it all, there was the underlying tension that even making sure your own actions were safe, there was the possibility of accidents (knocking things over), and other people/things outside of your control being unsafe and breaking the rules.

*All that with the huge asterisk of the one scene I mentioned where this does fall apart, where the dad is attacked by the aliens even though he was being cautious and no other accident should’ve gotten the alien’s attention.


#56

I like this comment because it required me to step through why that was a little messed up in the movie.

First though, sonar is echolocation. It’s the non bio form of it. Sorry, as a sailor I’m at least pointing that out. But I got your meaning here, because whatever these creatures had, it wasn’t quite sonar/echolocation.

As an example, loud noises dont bother bats. Yes they work based on sound but it’s a completely different frequency. Like, as a movie example, the sound emitted from the cochlear implant that mom could not hear.

But the creatures DID hear normal sounds. Quiet ones in fact. They reacted to them in multiple scenes. So that throws things for a loop regarding sonar/echolocation as their only means of “seeing.”


#57

I missed where all the water came from that flooded the basement.


#58

Broken pipe from the alien wrecking things upstairs.


#59

I saw this last night, finally.
I think I fall right in the middle, as I didn’t dislike the movie, but too many things bothered me to think it’s great.
The movie shoots itself in the leg with the (terrible!) exposition via whiteboard and newspaper headlines - if we didn’t get the info that the creatures MO, namely finding you via sound, was discovered when print media was still up and running, I don’t think it would bother me so much that the kid found a way to hurt the creatures.

I just cannot believe that the military, or anyone else, didn’t try to use sound against them as soon as they understood that the creatures depended on it. Or, if you have to go down that exposition route, maybe also establish that the creatures in the woods are maybe smaller creatures, and that there are bigger, more monstrous beasts that actually wiped out city centers and military bases or something.

I’m willing to forgive a lot, like the fireworks covering up Blunt’s screaming. That’s a neat idea, and this being her fourth child, I buy it. At least in this kind of movie. The kid-with-disability-saves-the-day-trope, which makes me grind my teeth usually, would have been okay if the movie didn’t make me think about the rest of the world, see above.

The only thing that really, really threw me while watching the movie though (most of the stuff above annoyed me when thinking about the movie afterwards), was the transition from the scene with Emily Blunt, in the water, with a baby, and a goddamn monster, to her hanging out in the room with the monitors. …do we not need to see how the hell she got out of there? Did I miss something?

Not to be all grump all the time, I really like the acting, especially Blunt, and a lot of the little touches - the fuzzy pieces while playing monopoly, the absence of dishes and cutlery, the spreading of sand, etc. i just wish that the movie had more confidence in its setting and characters not to rely on tropes to appeal to the audience so much. Instead of cheap jumpscares, I would have loved to have most of the violence happen in complete silence, from the deaf kid’s perspective, for example. It’s a mixed bag, but I still find enjoyment in it.

/rambly rant


#60

So I’m a huge stealth fan, that’s why I was really excited to see this movie and I wasn’t disappointed. Treating aliens and sounds as game AIs and sound events I found the movie consistent enough in terms of what aliens could hear and couldn’t. I think the rules were clear enough as well.

Aliens could possibly hear you from a really great distance and can search for you at close range using their inner ear, but a loud noise could hide you. For example, that’s why they can’t spot you when they themselves run, because when they run they’re making lots of noises.

So, yeah, I think this movie is very well directed, very well thought out in terms of sound design. It’s a really great horror/thriller movie. And I don’t have problems with the way the family found an efficient method of dealing with aliens.

People all over the world could find the same method too, may be they just didn’t find the way to communicate it on time, because communication means sound sources on both ends, means aliens could possibly find you. It’s like one of the main themes of the movie, it’s very hard to explain things to one another when you need to keep silence. Besides, it could be a certain frequency or a rare combination of unnatural frequencies which not that easy to generate. Anyway, that’s nitpicking, so I didn’t care.

First of all, he walked out from the sand trail, second, he took an axe making a dangerous noise providing an alien was close enough (and it was), third, he walk back on the sand trail using the same path. Three sound events in a row that an alien could hear easily, all sound events in the same place. So I was expecting that something dangerous would happen.

Imagine that race of blind people would use X-ray, UV or infra-red flashbangs first? Basically, any flashbangs that not in visible to the human eye spectrum.