Stupid movie

While I was waiting for it to get dark so I could run my disappointing experiment, I walked down to the local theater to see A Quiet Place: Day One.

My short summary: my god, this was a stupid movie.

Here’s the premise: a meteor shower drops a swarm of alien animals on Manhattan, which proceed to run wild and kill everyone. That’s not much of plot, I know, but the monsters are really, really stupid. They’re big and vicious and fast, but they don’t have eyes, and not even the dimmest sense of sight — people shine flashlights on their faces and they don’t respond. But make a noise, and these gnarly sensors open up on their head and they bolt towards the source. That’s the different feature of these monsters: they can’t see you, but you better not make a sound or they’ll kill you.

The problem is that they’re not particularly good at hearing. They don’t have echolocation or anything particularly sensitive, they just respond to ordinary, human-perceptible noises. Drop a book, they’re on you. Shout, and they attack. Walk quietly on the debris-covered streets, they don’t notice you. They’re not bats, that have a highly evolved sensory ability, they’re more like psychopathic grade school teachers with claws and teeth that will murder you if you don’t keep quiet during study hall.

And then, their response is stupid. They charge blindly at any source of sound and attack it. A car alarm goes off — a stratagem used more than once by the protagonists — and monsters will run from blocks away to jump on the car and flail at it. This behavior and their extremely crude sensory capacity raises many unanswered questions.

How did these pathetic brutes evolve? What kind of environment did they come from? One where all kinds of radiation was blocked or limited, so deep underground or an opaque atmosphere? They could hear, but that’s it, and they relied on obvious sound cues to find prey…not able to detect stealthy movement, but their prey need to make a loud squeak to be noticed.

And what kind of hunting/prey capture strategy is that, to blindly run at any sound, especially in a cluttered, dangerous environment like the ruins of New York? There should be dead, wrecked aliens impaled on fence posts and razor wire and traffic signs and spiky debris everywhere. Also, one fortified bunker, a couple of .30 cal machine guns, and you would have endless waves of monsters throwing themselves against the racket and getting shredded by the defenders.

They arrived in a meteor shower that did the initial destruction, exploding and smashing and punching holes in buildings. Why weren’t they deafened by all that noise? Wasn’t this a terrible delivery method for dropping off creatures that respond to noise?

Why? Why have an alien invasion that involved dumping a lot of stupid, cripplingly limited animals on a city? Who is doing this, because these were not intelligent aliens, who could make even idiotic space ships that exploded during landing?

There was also some pathos-filled story involving Lupita Nyong’o, a random stranger who was following her around, and an imperturbable cat, but I was so annoyed by the stupidity of the premise that I couldn’t care. Hey, Hollywood: next time you want to put out a science fiction/horror movie, the first step is to get writers who can assemble a coherent, intelligent premise. You spent $70 million on this sloppy trash, the writers working before you spend millions on expensive acting talent and sets and special effects are the cheapest part of the process, so get that bit right before the budget explodes.


  1. chrislawson says

    All these stupidities were in the first movie and it made a huge profit.

  2. nomadiq says

    They didn’t evolve. They are probably the product of alien engineers that discovered ‘AI’ and tasked it to design a savage beast, with a reward function of ‘max kills’, and nothing else. But they also forgot to add electromagnetic radiation to their toy (Hollywood-esque) universe. Because the beasts reached a plateau in killing efficiency (I assume there is some evidence of this towards the beginning of the film) the engineers considered the problem ‘solved’, patted themselves on the back for their genius and, of course, got paid, which is the most crucial part of the reward function. Deploying is the easy part.T he engineers never ask themselves if they should or not. No deployment means no pay day, after all!

  3. says

    Note to self: If I ever have plans on making a monster movie involving animal-intelligence monsters, consult scientists who’d know a thing or two about how real animals work.

    Reminded of alien ecologies that are apparently all predators waiting to feast on human interlopers, all to create an action scenes, not a sensible world. There is such a thing as excessive worldbuilding, but that’s no excuse to skip on the basic level of ecology.

  4. Snarki, child of Loki says

    So, in conclusion, the movie makes you long for the cogent scenarios of the Sharknado movies?

    Sounds plausible.

  5. microraptor says

    IIRC, the first two movies were Netflix exclusives. This is the prequel that finally got a theatrical release. The first was supposedly a good horror movie except, like you said, the monsters are profoundly stupid and unbelievable.

  6. lotharloo says

    You are doing it wrong PZ, like trying to watch porn for the story line or acting. You are supposed to turn off brain and enjoy the dumb special effects.

  7. says

    Isn’t it obvious, creationism is real! jebus created these monsters. (Actually, they aren’t as scary as the xtian terrorists, corp. ceo’s, the scrotum 6 and drooling rtwingnuts destroying what’s left of this country right now)
    as the ad says, “Help, I’ve fallen into a hellhole and I can’t get up!”

  8. chrislawson says

    @8 — Nope, the first two movies had theatrical releases that were (inexplicably) very successful.

  9. microraptor says

    Thanks for the correction. Guess that shows how much attention I’ve been paying attention to films in recent years.

  10. voidseraph says

    Eh, maybe it helps not to think of it as a sci-fi movie. There’s truly no sci-fi in it beyond the word “aliens”. It’s a horror movie, right? How does Freddie Kruger travel through dreams? How does Jason keep standing himself up? Who knows? They can be effective. They can even be significant, tapping into primal fears and forcing us to confront them. But they’re not coherent.

  11. voidseraph says

    Eh, maybe it helps not to think of it as a sci-fi movie. There’s truly no sci-fi in it beyond the word “aliens”. It’s a horror movie, right? How does Freddie Kruger travel through dreams? How does Jason keep standing himself up? Who knows? They can be effective. They can even be significant, tapping into primal fears and forcing us to confront them. But they’re not coherent.

  12. HidariMak says

    The writers for the past year’s Quantumania, Madame Web, and Space Sharks failed to create a coherent, intelligent premise, so I’m not expecting any of the ones behind big budget theatre movies to break the mode that often. Hopefully Deadpool & Wolverine won’t be a disappointment.
    On a side note, it’s surprising that profits are still used to justify producing shoddy work. Quantumania had a production budget of $326.6 million. Meanwhile, the leagues better Godzilla Minus One had a production budget of $30 million.

  13. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

  14. fishy says

    A few of these guys at a Trump rally would turn the premise into a comedy.

  15. Walter Solomon says

    I’m curious as to how you didn’t know this was a sequel. I never took you for big movie buff but I figured you were pretty up on the all of the crappy mainstream releases.

  16. Hemidactylus says

    I never watched any Quiet Places. Maybe they jumped the shark before this one. I did watch The Meg and kept thinking they are going to need a much bigger boat. No Fonzie sadly.

    Bird Box was kinda interesting. For horror I’m more a hit or miss V/H/S segments person. The Glitch was the ultimate in found footage followed by the guy with the high tech eye implant who could see dead people glitches, then the Indonesian death cult.

    I’m old school with Phantasm. There were few good horror movies after that aside from the first and only Nightmare on Elm Street.

    This episode of Atlanta was intense:

    And this one too:

  17. Hemidactylus says

    @10- Autobot Silverwynde
    Will Smith’s I am Legend messed me up pretty bad because the dog. It gave me multiple nightmares. I cannot rate it as horror because it did me so wrong. Damn you Will Smith!

    As for your @28 some of the Transformers movies hit that emotion sweet spot with me. One of the lower points was the one with Wahlberg. Bumblebee was OK. But some of the early ones emotionally resonated with me to the point of goosepimples. I imagine because your name you’re biased!

  18. microraptor says

    John Morales @25: Only the first Tremors. And maybe the third and fourth ones. The rest sucked.

  19. John Morales says

    microraptor, Amen!

    But still.

    So nice it was to see one of those movies with self-deprecating humour, some sense of gender sensibilities (well, for its time), and actual people who in weird circumstances actually adapted, thought it through, and did what they could.

    Alien was great, I was there at the original release.
    The first sequel was surprisingly good, though it no longer was what the first film was.

    After that, well… a bad case of franchiseitis.

  20. John Morales says

    [grr. After the weekend, I think a new keyboard is in order. Keystrokes keep fading into the void]

  21. StevoR says

    @15. chrislawson : “@8 — Nope, the first two movies had theatrical releases that were (inexplicably) very successful.”

    Indeed. See :

    Saw the first two or at least parts of them on telly. Apparently one more in this series is being planned too :

    A third and final sequel, A Quiet Place Part III, directed by Krasinski, is in development and scheduled to be released in 2025.

    @annattheft : “They’re from a star in Libra. Hence, The Libarians.”

    Those stars in Libra have some really wonderful long names! Alpha is Zubenelgenubi , Beta is Zubeneschamali and gamma is Zubenelakrab – see :

    Plus :

    based on the constellation being chopped off from Scorpius with these being the claws..

  22. says

    @30: Hands down, Bumblebee is my absolute favorite. They did everything right with that one, especially after The Last Knight. Also: huge Bumblebee fan over here! 2007’s Transformers is second, because it pretty much shattered my expectations and we got Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime. (Met the man and he is awesome!)

    I’ve heard TF One starts fairly comedically, them turns very serious and if that’s true, I’m here for it.

  23. AstrySol says

    I have a slight feeling that the original movie was stupid because there is a hidden right-wing agenda: the “good guys” in the movie is a “traditional”, rural town family: all white, mom and dad, many children (three at the beginning), working on a farm, etc. And the “bad guys” are alien and have knee-jerk reaction to any man-made noises without any exception.

    At that time the right wing always accuses “SJWs” to have knee-jerk reactions on social media so that “people are scared to talk about anything” (but apparently those “scared” people have never stopped spewing right-wing garbage). “A quiet place” can be a metaphor (albeit a very bad one) for social media.

    However, turns out the social media has not been silenced at all (and some of them became literally nazi bars), so even if they did have an agenda, it’s not relevant now and all that’s still relevant is profits.

    (The same thing may be said about the Squid Games, whose anti-capitalism agenda got buried by profits when they made the reality show)

  24. John Morales says

    AstrySol, interesting thought.

    An embedded subliminal allegory, hm.

    District 9 was like that, but much more overt.
    (I enjoyed that one)

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