With its quality scares, high tension, great characters, and exceptional filmmaking, A Quiet Place is a movie that sticks with you long after you leave the theater. However, out of everything in the film, one thing stayed with me more than anything else: The ears.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I mean, if you haven’t...
The premise of A Quiet Place is that the world has been obliterated by killer monsters who have hyper-sensitive hearing, so anyone who wants to stay alive has to remain quiet. The smallest amount of sound will quickly attract these monsters and you will be dead.
Over the course of the film, director/star John Krasinksi slowly reveals what the monsters really look like. First it’s just a swish across the screen. Then a leg. Later, we get to see them full body and they’re kind of a mash-up of the bugs in Starship Troopers, the xenomorphs of Aliens, and the dementors of Harry Potter, with just a dash of RoboCop. They’re familiar, but still wholly unique.
The design is just part of it, though. They have hyper-sensitive hearing, right? So, one of the coolest reveals is that, when the monsters are listening, their armor separates from their bodies and we get to see their ears. And their ears are unforgettable. Each one is the size of their entire head, probably a foot-wide and two feet-long, with layers upon layers of pink, pulsing, gooey skin surrounding the main canal. Do they look vaginal? If you think the Sarlacc Pit looks like a vagina, then definitely.
The monster’s ears are an interesting mix of gross and beautiful. The dripping skin seems gross, but its high-gloss shimmer is captivating. We’re scared by it, but also drawn into it. Most importantly, the ears are a crucial piece of design to make the monsters believable. Once you see those ears, you instantly believe they actually can hear a pin drop from miles away. The ears make the movie work.
I asked Paramount Pictures if I could get a photo of the ears, or even the creatures, but they unsurprisingly said no (after all, the movie just came out last Friday). I’m bummed out about it. But the ears are just too good for me to hold my praise for them. So cheers to John Krasinski, as well as his creature and effects teams, for creating cinematic ears well on their way to joining the ranks of Dumbo and Spock. They’re as wonderful as they are gross, and they’re very, very gross.
A Quiet Place is now in theaters.