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With A Quiet Place 2 getting a release date in 2020, I decided it would be interesting to look back at the first A Quiet Place. In my opinion, it has a unique effect on its audience.
Now this isn’t a conventional review or analysis of A Quiet Place. It’s more so a discussion on the movie theater experience as a whole, A Quiet Place being an example of a perfect one. Everything I’m about to say can be subjective, since it's based off of my own personal experiences and observations. There is some slight analysis, but nothing too in-depth.
How a Movie Theater Experience Is Compromised
I love going to the movies. If you’re a fan of my Vocal articles, you’ll know it’s what I mostly write about, but recently it’s a 50/50 bet on whether or not my fellow audience members will be respectful. Between people commentating what’s going on in the movie, to constant flashes of cell phone screens, to even just people not even focusing on the movie itself, it’s hard to not be distracted.
You might read that paragraph and roll your eyes because it’s not that big of a deal, except it really is. It ruins the overall experience since a movie’s goal is to pull the audience into the narrative being told. Whether or not a movie does this is mostly determined by the quality of the movie, but if you’re invested in a movie then a random phone goes off, your attention goes to that ringing phone and away from the movie.
Imagine that same situation happened during an important moment in the movie, such as a death scene for example. A scene that was meant to make you sad doesn’t matter as much due to the fact that your focus is split on two different things causing two different emotions. There are cases you’ll be in an audience where things like that can happen throughout the whole movie. Granted it’s not always an issue, but it’s also not as rare as one might hope.
Going to a movie doesn’t have to be a sophisticated event: I’m not trying to sound like I’m not at fault for doing these types of things and I’m also not judging anyone for doing this. The point I’m making is that everyone in the theater indirectly plays a role in the overall movie going experience.
'A Quiet Place' at the Movies
So how is A Quiet Place the definitive movie theater experience? I’ve seen this movie twice, once in the theater and once at home. To summarize my thoughts on the movie, I think it’s a touching story about family with some unique horror elements. Though despite that praise, I found my experience in the movie theater was so much more enjoyable than watching it at home.
The premise of A Quiet Place is simple; survivors can’t make any type of noise or a mysterious creature will hunt and kill them. So the movie is very sound based, only having roughly 90 lines of dialogue, which is only four to give scenes in the whole movie, thus making the movie theater extremely quiet.
The cool thing about this is that while in the theater you could hear every little thing no matter where your seat was. So this aspect of the movie also became an aspect of the movie theater since from a psychological standpoint, everyone became too embarrassed to be the one making all that noise.
It even became a fun game at one point. Whenever someone crunched on a snack or gulped a drink, I knew that person just died. It then became scary because whenever I did the same, I would make sure I was doing it as quietly as possible, just as I assume everyone else was.
In an overall quiet and confined space with strangers, the movie forces you to become a part of the movie going experience, making it all the more memorable. As mentioned earlier, a movie's goal is to effectively invest the audience in the narrative, which A Quiet Place did through this.
'A Quiet Place' at Home
Watching the movie a second time at home, though, is less enjoyable. The movie isn’t any less good, but it lacks the feel watching it in the movies has. At home you can hear noise from outside, maybe even noise from a pet or busy family member if you live with them. There are multiple factors that contribute to making noise.
Watching A Quiet Place at home almost heightens those sounds and makes them almost seem annoying, since you’re trying to watch the movie. At home you’re more comfortable, so you also don’t feel the need to be as quiet as you would in theaters.
In the theaters, the sounds of silence on a surround sound stereo makes the experience all the more engaging and intruding. Meanwhile at home on a TV, the gimmick is lost. Rather than focusing on sound, you focus on the story. That’s not necessarily bad because the movie does have a touching story regarding the main family, but it does reinforce that in my opinion, A Quiet Place is more impactful in theaters.
The Final Verdict
I feel as though the movie going experience is something not many people pay too much attention to; and those who do are slowly losing interest since it’s common to be stuck with a bad group of distracting people among the audience. Not to mention going to the movies is expensive so if your experience is ruined, that’s also money spent on a bad time.
Most companies are now debating on releasing their movies straight for digital releases rather than theater releases. I think people in this day and age can forget that going to the movie can be a fun activity in of itself. The best example of that was this year's A Quiet Place, a movie that demonstrates what makes a definitive movie theater experience.
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