Sunday April 8th, 2018 13:55 Stop overrating “A Quiet Place”

quiet

I’ll admit up front that the first half of this new sci-fi thriller is brilliantly done. The tension and lack of dialogue came across thick, akin to 2009’s The Road or 2013’s All Is Lost. Non-recent references would include the eerie quiet of some sections in The Holy Mountain, the close-quarters of Albino Alligator or the heaviness of existential dread in the (superior remake of) Cape Fear.

But even in the midst of that brilliance, they tipped their hand by showing the mother of the group to be pregnant.

A family that meticulously constructed a soundproof basement, alarm system, hidden food storage and laid miles worth of sound-dampening sand – all, apparently, without making so much as the minor toy-bleep noise that caused their son’s near-instantaneous death – have decided it’s a great idea to bring a newborn to this party.

Are you kidding me?

And once they cued the inevitable ‘dad’s out while monsters make it into the house and mom’s giving birth all at the same time’ nonsense, they had the gall to make that tropish garbage even worse by having the mom hide away, only to silently emerge with a bouncing baby boy 90 seconds later.

I’m no parent or expert on childbirth, but it takes me longer than that to pee in the morning. Producing a watermelon-sized mammal seems like it’d take more time.

There’s also the bit about the daughter having her common sense glands removed when it takes her 4 total tries to figure out that the painful feedback from her cochlear implant perfectly coincides with the monsters running away. This, while her character was clearly smart enough – at least earlier in the film when it was convenient – to have figured that out immediately.

Lastly, what little monster logic was presented flew out the window the second anyone started explaining things.

There’s the comically-simplistic whiteboard shown in the background of basement shots. A list of strengths and weaknesses that might well have been the product of a middle-school group-project brainstorming session.

I can’t recall the exact wording, but one of them proclaimed that the monsters hunted by sound. This fact warranted being written in large letters, lest anyone forget, despite that the toilet-rag NY Post ran it as a banner headline that was prominently shown in the first scene…or that they built an entire farm around that fact.

Pretty sure we got that one. Maybe jot down something the entire remaining human population doesn’t know?

Then there’s the fact that a total lack of sight (besides being an overdone baddie trait) completely changes all the previous encounters.

The monster knew, when the toy space shuttle went off in the soon-slain son’s hands, not to attack the toy itself, but the area just beside the toy where the human would be. We know this because the toy is still around to lay at his memorial site, months later, completely intact.

For those who haven’t seen it: these monsters are at least twice the size of a grown human, and the toy was a dollar-store special you could break by looking at it the wrong way.

How did the monster know a human was holding it? How does the monster differentiate between human-made sounds and nature-made sounds (take a trip to the country – nature is bloody loud)? If it can distinguish, why is the waterfall a magical place of therapeutic yelling?

Then the bigger questions:

How many of these monsters are around such that any sound anywhere means instant death? Is this such a dumb beast that an entire family can walk on pre-defined sand paths for years on end without a pattern being noticed? Is this a worldwide event, making any available shelter equally valuable/practical? If so, why is it hard to raise someone on a shortwave radio – which are unusual but not at all rare? Did they somehow attack relay antennas or broadcast wide-band interference? If so, how did it take more than a week to think of disruptive waves as a weapon, let alone a year before it happened by accident?

That last one is a golden nerd-hero opportunity, and neither nerds nor geeks miss those.

Long story short (oh, how I wish it was), they were doing so well for about 45 minutes, only to succumb to cheap convenience in the next 45.

And the former does not make up for the latter.

Los Commentos, as the French say

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IT guy, dev, designer, writer.

Got a degree in print journalism from UF but history dealt some bad cards to that industry, so I moved back to an earlier love: the computer.

Was recently at ZMOS Networks, but am now the Senior IT Associate at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

My name is moderately common, as are a couple screen names, so always look for the logo to make sure you're reading something with official Km approval.

You can get to me directly with kyle(@)kylemitchell.org