“A Quiet Place” is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I am a big fan of the horror genre, for the most part (the good ones). And A Quiet Place is certainly classified as a horror movie, officially. But it is more genre-bending than most horror movies. In reality, there are some scary moments, but the gist of this movie is actually more about family than monsters. This article assumes that you have seen the movie, so there are major spoilers ahead. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend going and watching this movie!!! Stop reading now if you plan on seeing it.
Bishop Robert Barron refers to this movie as “The Most Unexpectedly Religious Film of the Year,” and I could not agree more. The premise of the movie is that there are terrifying, very fast, very deadly creatures that hunt by sound. We learn that the Abbot family has a few neighbors left, but the militaries of the world have been largely wiped out. There is not much in the way of backstory or explanation of the situation, and I love that! Most movies overdo it with explaining the heck out of everything.
John Krasinski, even in the opening scenes, shows himself to be a very adept director, akin in many ways to Hitchcock (who I love). The movie begins in silence with the family raiding a local pharmacy. It is here that the youngest son finds a rocket toy. The family is very concerned about this and we see the father take the batteries out very carefully. They then take off barefooted, walking back to their farmhouse, but not before the oldest child, a daughter, gives the toy back to her brother. He then grabs the batteries… Very soon after, as the family is crossing a bridge, the rocket goes off with lights and sounds. The father turns around and runs full speed towards his son. It is here that we see the monster in action for the first time who swipes across the screen, taking the poor young boy with him to certain, imminent death.
The movie then fast-forwards about a year and we see the home of the Abbots, with all of their silent adaptations to life. Luckily for them, they were already fluent in American Sign Language due to their deaf daughter’s disability, prior to the invasion.
What was striking to me were the themes on display in this movie. The first scene was heartbreaking and you could see the pain in the eyes of the father. It was as if his whole body was saying, “I couldn’t protect my child.” It does not take long to realize that this entire movie is about family and about parents protecting their children. We learn very quickly in the movie that mother Abbot is pregnant once more, in a world where a screaming baby would meet quick and certain death. And yet, they go to extreme ends to prepare for the coming child. The parents have created a soundproof room and even fashion a box for the child with an oxygen rig.
In the most extreme circumstances possible to imagine, these two parents would rather risk their own lives in order to defend the sanctity of life, than to try to terminate the pregnancy. This is the central premise of the movie, and I think it is a particularly powerful one. At one point near the end of the movie, after giving birth, Emily Blount’s character says to her husband, “If we can’t protect our own children, what are we?” It was an incredibly moving moment to my wife and me, who were both crying. After the movie, my wife and I agreed that this was such a poignant moment in the movie because there are so many mothers in the world today who kill their children in the womb for so many reasons. And yet, in the most extreme circumstances imagined in this movie, the parents chose life. Beautiful.
During the middle of the movie, father Abbot leaves with his son to go on a scavenging trip. The older daughter wants to go, but the father tells her to stay home and help her mother. Clearly, traditional family roles must make a comeback in the post-apocalyptic world. The father is actually using the trip as an opportunity to teach his son about responsibility and bravery. During their time out, they find themselves by a loud waterfall, so they can speak freely. The son shares with his father that the daughter blames herself for what happened to her youngest brother. The son asks his father, “Do you blame her?” And he very sincerely says, “Of course not.” The son says, “You should tell her that you love her.” In the midst of this crazy existence, the drama of family life does not stop.
After a great deal of action, nearing the end of the movie, the two kids find themselves trapped in a truck with the monster on the roof. The dad is 20 yards away watching. He signs to his daughter, “I love you. I have always loved you.” This is where I lost it. This father is watching his children trapped in the truck and knows the only way to save them, to show the depths of his love, is to distract the monster, which will mean his death. In a very Christlike action, the father lets out this agonizing, horrible scream drenched with a father’s love and draws the monster to himself so that his children can get away. This is certain death for him, but a chance at life for his children. This action exemplifies the sacrifice of parenthood on one level and the perfect Sacrifice of Christ in a typological way.
There are so many other Christian themes in this movie, and the pro-life message itself is so palpable. Besides all that, it was such a well-crafted movie with fantastic acting, a great script, amazing use of sound, and so unique and captivating. This movie is about family. Krasinski said this, “For me, we had just had our second daughter three weeks before I read the script so I was wide open emotionally, I was an open nerve. So this idea of, when I did my re-write I thought I could really make this a metaphor for parenthood, I could really make this a metaphor that I believe in and I see immediately, this idea of protecting your kids, what would you do for them and how far would you go to protect to them.”