joseph quinn and lupita nyong'o standing next to each other with a cat
(Paramount Pictures)

For Me, ‘A Quiet Place’ Movies Are Always an Immersive Experience

Who knew that a film with barely any dialogue and an eerie silence in the theater where it plays could actually be the most immersive filmgoing experience one could have? Well, me. And the release of A Quiet Place: Day One just reminded me of how much I love it.

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Interestingly, the same day I watched the third installment in John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place franchise starring Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn, and that darling cat, I also happened to watch the highly anticipated Indian sci-fi dystopian film Kalki 2898 AD in theaters. The latter, with its A-list star cast, grand set pieces, and thrilling climax was definitely a collective experience with everyone hooting and applauding in the second half. 

And yet, it was A Quiet Place: Day One that had me in a chokehold, completely engrossed, as if I was right there with those characters in that very situation. It demanded all my attention and my utmost sense of urgency. Most importantly, it demanded my silence. It felt like I had no option but to play along, to interact with the film like I was in it, and to follow the rules of its world, as if even my smallest actions would somehow impact the characters.

John Krasinski as Lee in A Quiet Place
(Paramount Pictures)

In A Quiet Place: Day One, directed by Michael Sarnoski, we see for the first time those demogorgon-like monsters hit Earth. Sam (Nyong’o), who has terminal cancer and lives in hospice, is convinced by a care worker Reuben (Alex Wolff) to join him and a group of other residents in NYC to watch a show. They’re on their way back when several meteor-like objects appear in the sky, and the monsters start attacking people. Sam and her service cat, Frodo, try to navigate through the city, meeting Eric (Quinn) in the process.

So, of course, I was deathly afraid for the cat. Jaw clenched, fists balled, I held my breath as Frodo the cat just sauntered around the city without a care while his companions, Sam and Eric almost kept dying trying to save him. But I also watched intently for all the reasons they survived. Cats are the quietest, with impeccable balance, and if it’s sound monsters you’re trying to dodge, you’ve got to be stealthy like a cat.

Like most movies in this genre, A Quiet Place also makes you think, while watching the film, about what you would do if you were put in a similar situation. Would you even survive? It’s why you seize up when Extra No. 44 makes the mistake of speaking too loudly, or Sam knocks something off a bookshelf and alerts the monsters to her location. You’re sitting there either thinking how you’d totally be this clumsy too, or doubting whether, when the time came, would your nerves make you a klutz?

frodo the cat looking down in a quiet place
(Paramount Pictures)

Sam and Frodo were great teachers, and I found myself noticing the little details—like how the monsters detected sound and what places were safe from them—that would be valuable to stow away in my brain. You know, just in case I were ever in a situation like this one. Or as if this was an episode of Dora the Explorer, and when the characters got stuck, they would pick me from the audience to give them a solution.

It was nice knowing that I was not alone in my attentiveness.

These days, watching a movie in a theater is not without its challenges. And I don’t mean ticket prices or expensive movie snacks. It’s the people who’re scrolling through their phones on full brightness, talking during important scenes, and walking in and out without consideration for others. I’ve always wondered what would it take for people in the theaters to be mindful and respectful of their fellow audience members. Turns out, the answer is the sound monsters from A Quiet Place.

cillian murphy a quiet place part 2
(Paramount Pictures)

It’s a pattern I’ve come to notice while watching all three of A Quiet Place movies in the theatres. Usually, people tolerate tiny interruptions and bad behavior during movies. But for A Quiet Place movies, there’s some sort of an unspoken agreement that you are to talk in hushed tones, tiptoe back in from the restroom so as not to disturb anyone, and munch on your popcorn real quietly. So basically, just behave like a mindful moviegoer, something people should always be doing but don’t!

Anyone who coughed or spoke a little too loudly was shushed. Things got so silent in the auditorium that we could faintly hear a song from the movie playing in the adjacent screen! I didn’t care to check my phone when it vibrated or sometimes even eat my food when watching because that’s how invested my mind and body were in what was happening on screen.

It’s always great to have such an immersive experience when you’re at the movies, and the A Quiet Place movies, hands down, create the most perfect atmosphere for them!

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Jinal Bhatt
Jinal Bhatt (She/Her) is a staff writer for The Mary Sue. An editor, writer, film and culture critic with 7+ years of experience, she writes primarily about entertainment, pop culture trends, and women in film, but she’s got range. Jinal is the former Associate Editor for Hauterrfly, and Senior Features Writer for Mashable India. When not working, she’s fangirling over her favourite films and shows, gushing over fictional men, cruising through her neverending watchlist, trying to finish that book on her bedside, and fighting relentless urges to rewatch Supernatural.