Certain movie worlds can be scary places – and sometimes the only thing that helps is a nice, cathartic scream. Sadly, this is not always an option – in fact, there are times when silence means survival.
A Quiet Place: Part II is just such a movie. John Krasinski directs this sequel to his 2018 horror blockbuster, which depicts an Earth that has been taken over by terrifying monsters that hunt via sound. At the end of the first movie, the tenacious Abbott family, led by mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt), discover how to use feedback to paralyse the creatures.
Now, the Abbotts must face the terrors of the outside world as they seek to find a new home. Forced to venture into the unknown, they soon realise that the monsters are not the only threats. Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou are among the new faces in this eagerly anticipated follow-up.
In anticipation of the movie’s release this March, here are a few other films where silence was absolutely essential...
1. Alien (1979)
“In space, no-one can hear you scream” – so reads the famously chilling tagline of Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror masterpiece. It’s nothing less than a statement, reinforcing the isolation felt by the film’s characters, terror that we vicariously feel while sitting in our seats.
After the crew of commercial towing vehicle the Nostromo intercepts a distress signal from a planet, they set out to investigate. However, to their horror, they are infected and ultimately attacked by a deadly alien being that ends up aboard their ship, picking off the crew members one by one.
Look, to be frank, once the Xenomorph has you in its sights, there really isn’t much you can do about it. (Unless you’re the resourceful Ellen Ripley, played in a career-making role by Sigourney Weaver.) So, your best bet is to just keep your mouth shut, stay still, be silent and hope you survive. Oh, and best make sure that the ship’s cat does the same.
2. Jurassic Park (1993)
Steven Spielberg’s action/horror blockbuster Jurassic Park, of course, features dinosaurs. Dinosaurs that are often very, very loud. But you are going to have to be very, very quiet if you wish to survive a trip to this particular amusement park.
After entrepreneur John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) opens a wildlife park showcasing cloned dinosaurs, a breakdown of the island's security system causes the creatures to escape and bring about chaos. The best way for the various characters to stay alive is to keep the noise down. This is especially true in the infamously scary raptors in the kitchen sequence, in which imperilled kids Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) must use all their wits (and control their heavy breathing) in order to escape alive.
3. The Descent (2005)
The Descent begins with a group of friends going on an expedition into a cave. Following a cave-in, they struggle to navigate through the all-encompassing blackness, but at this stage, the group can be as loud as they like. That is until they realise the true extent of the nightmare they are in, finding themselves trapped inside the cave and being pursued by blood-thirsty predators.
Directed by Neil Marshal, The Descent is a movie that takes a very sudden turn when the fear of being buried underground is replaced with a fear of surviving the monsters that lurk within it. Silence certainly means survival in this brilliantly claustrophobic British horror.
4. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
Imagine a future where humanity has been all but destroyed by a mutated fungal disease that has eradicated free will and turned the rest of humanity into cannibalistic zombies. Now imagine the only hope is a gifted young girl, mysteriously immune to the disease, but still hungry for human flesh, who has to be guided through ravaged remains of Britain.
It’s a stressful situation but one that precludes the option of screaming, as the marauding zombies will tear you to pieces. Director Colm McCarthy exploits this frightening concept for maximum effect, aided by a superb cast including Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine.
5. Hush (2016)
In this tense slasher movie from Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan, silence is deployed in very inventive ways. The story centres on a deaf writer who has retreated into the woods, but who must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears at her window and tries to break in.
For most of the events of Hush, the silence that central character Maddie (Kate Siegel) endures puts her at a disadvantage – until she uses it to turn the tables on the murderous villain. This is most apparent when she cleverly sets off a piercingly loud alarm that temporarily cripples her enemy, one of many ways that Flanagan tweaks the tired old ‘final girl’ tropes familiar from slasher films.
6. Don’t Breathe (2016)
In A Quiet Place, although the Abbott family has to keep schtum, they can at least breathe relatively comfortably. The characters in director Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe are not so lucky. The narrative follows a trio of robbers who decide to break into the house of a visually-impaired veteran after learning of his vast fortune. However, they soon come to realise, much to their horror, that the old man is not as helpless as they assumed.
Our young thieves have to turn the volume way down when they discover that they have become trapped in the house of Stephen Lang’s very capable blind man. Plunging them all into the darkness wherein he thrives, he hunts them by sound alone, forcing them to keep even their breathing on the down-low. It’s little wonder we do the same thing while watching the movie from between our fingers.
Click here to book your tickets for A Quiet Place: Part II and tweet us @Cineworld with your favourite horror movies where silence was golden.
Jon Fuge is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team. Follow him on Twitter.