WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for director John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, in theaters now.
John Krasinski’s latest directorial effort, A Quiet Place, fits comfortably beneath the horror banner, but also incorporates sci-fi elements. While the story is pretty straightforward, with so little dialogue, it’s possible to have missed an important detail that helps to explain the open-ended final scene.
The trailers effectively lay out the premise of the film, which is set in a near-future in which blind, otherworldly creatures overrun the planet, locating their prey by sound. It's revealed early on that it took only 89 days for these monsters to usher in a global apocalypse. Within 473 days, humanity is on the verge of extinction, with the relatively few survivors giving up the fight. However, the Abbott family’s rapidly worsening situation drives them to take a last stand on an abandoned farm. Lee (Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) begin the film with three children, but quickly lose their 4-year-old son, Beau, a development that establishes the lengths they will go to keep their remaining family safe.
Their oldest child, Regan, is deaf, and we see Lee working on hearing aids. A sign-language conversation between the two informs us that Lee has tried many variations, but hasn’t yet managed to help his daughter hear. Of course, in such a dangerous world, not having the use of all five senses is a major disadvantage, but as we learn, Lee's tinkering with the technology may provide humanity with some hope for survival.
His last attempt before he is killed, which looks similar to the sound processor and coil of a cochlear implant system, inadvertently produces a frequency that's unbearable to the creatures. The sound makes the armored plating on their faces open reflexively, revealing the only place they are vulnerable to attack. Once Regan and Evelyn figure that out, they manage to make one creature's face open, and then fire a shotgun into it.
Now, while that seems like a win for our protagonists, the closed-circuit TV feed set up for security purposes reveals the blast attracted all of the other monsters in the area. In response, Regan places her hearing aid up to the P.A. system, and her mother pumps the shotgun in preparation for the onslaught. Although the ending doesn’t specify whether the remaining Abbott family members survive, we at least know it’s possible now that they have the knowledge to kill the creatures.
It’s difficult to say whether Krasinski and his screenwriting collaborators chose this ambiguous closing scene to leave audiences wondering, or if it's a setup for a sequel. Either way, it’s satisfying to see one of the creatures go down and to know that humanity at least has a chance.
In theaters nationwide, A Quiet Place is co-written and directed John Krasinski, who stars alongside Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds and Cade Woodward.