Bad Boring Lazy Horror Movies are Horror – Teaser Post

Content notes: Discussion of ableism, death (including of children), discussion of white supremacy

Spoiler alert: A Quiet Place (2018, directed by John Krasinski)

            I hated A Quiet Place, and I’m going to tell you why.

            I’m busy in my non-blog life, with three jobs, several random gigs, and a catastrophe family, so I am behind on a regular post (working on one about the ghosts trauma leaves behind – and making friends with them – stay tuned!). Instead enjoy this less serious teaser post about how much I hated A Quiet Place.

“Ok real talk how the fuck did it take until all of humanity was dead for them to realize they should play a loud sound to fight the monsters with ultra hearing”

my friend Lee

A Quiet Place, which until editing this post I believed was called The Quiet Place, is a post-apocalyptic movie featuring literally only white people somewhere in Upstate NY or somewhere else with pretty fall trees and hills. With no exposition of how it happened, most of humanity seems to have been wiped out by merciless monsters who are blind and have super sensitive hearing. The only way to survive is to be very, very quiet – as we are shown almost immediately, when an adorable child is torn off screen when he puts batteries in a toy rocket and plays with it, with ensuing noises. That child’s family, now comprised of a mother, father, daughter, and son, are virtually the only humans in the film, and they survive in large part because of their rudimentary knowledge of ASL thanks to the Deaf daughter.

            I didn’t watch this movie when it came out – not for a solid political reason, but because it just looked deeply uninteresting to me. Maybe it was political, in that I didn’t want to watch another white family scrappily try to survive something, especially with no character development or any reason I should give a fuck about this family. I decided to watch it this week because the second one just came out, and I believe I am ready to watch something in theaters, and the remake of Candyman isn’t out yet.

            So, I watched it. And, walk with me.

            I won’t even get into the tired racist trope of innocent sweet white family battling the scary black monster. They could have chose any other color for the monsters to be. At this point, having a monster with black skin is as good as deliberate.[1] And I won’t repeat what others have said about the utter thoughtlessness of casting an entirely white cast, who are “silenced” by a big black scary enemy, particularly in the time of Black Lives Matter.

            Ok, racist, check, how about the ableism? It’s great they cast a Deaf actor to play the Deaf character – seriously, it’s important that Deaf people are represented in media and play themselves, just like with other marginalized communities. But her father, the annoying character from The Office, is obsessed with getting her cochlear implant to work. When a friend convinced me to watch this movie, she said there is a scene where the Deaf daughter tells her father to stop trying to make her not Deaf. That would be cool – but the scene is actually cast as her having a temper tantrum, telling her father to Just. Stop. Working on the cochlear implant. I doubt Krasinski is aware of the political implications of trying to force Deaf people to wear hearing implants.

In fact, by the end of the movie, the Deaf character (I don’t know anyone’s names) realizes how much her father loved her – her father, who heroically sacrificed himself to save his kids, fucking YAWN – by seeing all his work on her cochlear implants. Also, at the end, when they figure out the feedback from her implant hurts the monsters, she is only able to hurt the monster by harming herself. This feels so typical for a marginalized person busting their ass to save all the non-marginalized people in the room. For an excellent takedown on how The Quiet Place perpetuates ableist tropes that being Deaf – surrounded by silence – is ultimately tragic[2], and that medical interventions like cochlear implants literally save the day, check this article out. Also, I learned in doing research for this post that cochlear implants cannot, by their design, make feedback noises. Womp.

            So, the movie is racist and ableist (also sexist, in that the dad insists on taking his youngest living child, a son, out to “learn to survive”, even though the son doesn’t want to go and the older Deaf daughter does) – is that all? No. It’s also fucking lazy and full of plot holes. The cinnamon-tography might be amazing (being that upstate NY baby, I loved the sweeping views of autumn red gold trees), but it is such a manufactured adrenaline ride that by the end, I was too bored for my heart rate to go up. I thought the first scene of the youngest son being killed by a monster was jarring and scary, but from there they just keep ratcheting up the intensity, until the scene when the dad screams himself to death and I just wanted the movie to be over.

            The scene with the mother going into labor was too fucking much – she’s alone, she goes into labor, she steps on a fucking nail and screams, and it just keeps escalating and escalating. We, the audience, do not catch a break in this movie. That being said, why are they even fucking having a baby in the middle of this apocalyptic mess? Babies are gonna cry. That is what they do. What a fucking entitled white family thing to do, to bring a child into the world that guarantees putting everyone else in danger because they feel like it.[3]

            And then the son falls into a fucking giant sinkhole of corn? That is too much drama. And why doesn’t the monster sink into the corn when it comes after them? The movie is too dramatic for a bunch of underdeveloped white people I do not care about, and the plot holes are bigger than the monster’s ears. Why are the monsters so obsessed with humans, and why do they just immediately kill them? Surely there is a bunch of other stuff to eat. Also, how do the monsters tell the difference between the sounds of, say, a creaking swing, and a dropped lantern?

            Anyway, that’s all I feel like saying about that. 2/10, irritating and problematic movie. Will I see the sequel? Eh, probably. I want to sit in a movie theater.

[1] Also, isn’t the monster just the monster from Stranger Things? But like, the way the face opens up is slightly different and they have big ears? Lazy.

[2] I liked the silence of the movie, I found it calming. It was gross to me how elated the hearing characters were about shouting and speaking aloud. In fact, I found the speaking parts to be jarring and irritating.

[3] Also, apparently the enforced gender binary exists in the Stranger Things silence apocalypse, as the parents repeat “It’s a boy” to each other before they even know where their other kids are. Gross.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *