Warning: Massive spoilers for A Quiet Place below!
At long last, A Quiet Place is here. John Krasinski's sci-fi horror film had just about everyone losing their minds with terror when the first nightmarish trailer dropped back in November, in no small part due to the film's inventive premise: Krasinski stars alongside real-life wife Emily Blunt as a couple trying to raise their children in a dystopian future where deadly aliens have basically taken over. The catch? The aliens hunt by sound. Any sound. You cough? You die. You crank up the radio? Dead. Decide to laugh at a joke? See ya.
One of the many refreshing aspects of the film is it doesn't spend precious minutes explaining how the aliens came to earth, how many other survivors are out there, or even what's up with the government — it drops us straight into the action and ratchets up the tension with each scene until you find yourself gasping for air. It's excellent. If, however, you're too scared to actually see A Quiet Place, or if you simply want to relive every petrifying moment, below you'll find a list of the film's scariest scenes. The horror hall of fame just got a few new additions.
This is your last chance to turn back — spoilers on spoilers on spoilers below!
1. The First Major Death
One of A Quiet Place's most affecting scares is arguably its first. The film wastes zero time in flooding you with anxiety, thanks to the tense opening sequence, which sees the family of five — Evelyn (Blunt), Lee (Krasinski), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and Beau (Cade Woodward) — carefully tip-toeing around an abandoned convenience store in search of medicine. Beau, the youngest child, finds a light-up spaceship toy on one of the shelves, but his father takes it away from him after explaining that it's too dangerous because it's "too loud." As soon as Lee turns his back, big sister Regan takes pity on her brother and hands it back to him sans batteries. Unfortunately, when she turns her back, we see a clearly curious (and rebellious) Beau pocket the batteries she left on the counter and walk out of the store with the toy in hand.
The family leaves the store and begins to make their way through the woods back to their remote farmhouse. Just as they start to cross a bridge, an absolutely terrifying sound cuts through the silence — a loud blast-off noise bursting from the toy spaceship's speakers. Beau put the batteries back in and is now trailing far behind his family, completely oblivious to danger as he happily swooshes his new toy through the air. Evelyn sinks to her knees in a noiseless wail of anguish as Lee races to save Beau from a dark mass hurtling through the trees toward his youngest son, but he's too late — Beau gets brutally ripped away from his family and the screen cuts to black.
2. The Old Man
The story picks back up a little over a year after the crushing loss of their youngest son, which has affected every member of the family in different ways. Lee and a now-pregnant Evelyn struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy for their remaining children despite the need for silence at all times. This includes playing Monopoly in the living room, taking math quizzes, and eating dinner as a family each night. It's revealed that there are only three aliens in the area surrounding the farmhouse, but they can travel remarkably fast. The cornfields outside their farmhouse only provide so much food, so Lee and Marcus end up going on a hike to catch fish, where we learn the aliens can't hear you if a louder sound — like a river or a waterfall — is nearby.
On the way home, they cut through the woods and come across the bloody, gutted body of an elderly woman lying on the ground. Before they can fully process what's happening, the dead woman's husband (presumably) appears behind them — a harsh jump scare in and of itself — before unleashing a loud scream. Lee picks up Marcus and bolts out of there with him in his arms, and they dive for cover. We only see up to the point where the alien is just about to pounce on the old man, and then hear it tear him apart.
3. The Nail
OK, listen here. I've seen a lot of horror movies — likely more than your average person. But few of those films have ever set up a situation as tense, or as simple, as the one with the nail in A Quiet Place. It begins with Evelyn home alone while Lee and Marcus are out fishing (and Regan, who's deaf, is out dejectedly wandering around in the alien-infested woods alone, as one does). A heavily-pregnant Evelyn is doing laundry in the basement of the farmhouse, and as she makes her way up the rickety wooden steps, her giant laundry bag catches on the edge of a nail and wrenches it from the wood, sharp-side up (she doesn't notice). It's one hell of a Chekhov's gun when everyone in the movie is barefoot 24/7.
Anyway — the movie continues on for a few scenes, but it's hard to focus on anything but the nail. When is she going to step on it? Will Regan return home and finally take her chance to sneak into the basement her father forbid her from earlier in the film, stepping on it herself? Of course, the nail finally comes back into play at the worst possible moment: as Evelyn is going into labor. To her immense credit, she doesn't scream as she puts her full weight down on it going down the stairs, but she does drop a glass frame that shatters on the basement floor.
Cue the aliens tearing through the woods.
4. The Birth Scene
Oh, boy (literally). Not only is Evelyn being forced to endure an extremely painful labor all by herself and a serious foot injury that's gushing blood all over the house, but she's also on the run from some murderous aliens crashing through her home. [Editor's note: Do these aliens actually eat their prey? Or do they just kill for sport? John Krasinski, I await your email.] But let me just say that Evelyn is one of the most resourceful, badass female characters — scratch that: characters period — I've seen in quite some time.
As she's going through the night from hell, Evelyn manages to do the following things: successfully hide in the basement from an alien using an ingenious trick with a kitchen timer, click on the farm's emergency red-light system so Lee knows what's up when he comes home (therefore saving his and Marcus's lives), soundlessly make her way up two creaky flights of stairs, get herself situated in a bathtub to deliver her baby, and mostly suppress her screams during labor. Oh, and THEN she gives birth to a healthy baby boy without assistance. The entire birth sequence is straight out of any woman's worst nightmare.
5. The Kids Drowning in Feed
Once Lee gets home and sees the red warning lights strung up around the farm, he puts a plan into action: he needs to go find Evelyn, and Marcus needs to go set off fireworks at the other end of the farm as a distraction. Marcus is terrified but successfully manages to pull off the trick (which allows his mom to loudly give birth without the aliens pulverizing her into hamburger meat). Regan, who's been at Beau's grave by the bridge this whole time, sees the fireworks and takes off back home. She gets there just in time to save her brother from an alien in the cornfield (unbeknownst to her, her hearing aid gives off a feedback noise that renders the aliens incapacitated). The pair climb up the giant tower of grain on the property to wait for their father, and things get calm just long enough to lull everyone into thinking the danger is over and the aliens have left.
But then, of course, Marcus and Regan start arguing, and Marcus ends up falling inside the tower through some rusty doors that clang against the metal siding. Once again the aliens come running, and at the same time, Marcus starts to sink into the shifting grain, which is pulling him down like quicksand. Regan jumps in to keep him from suffocating, and then she too starts to sink. (They manage to do all of this while remaining totally silent. Champions.) It's tense as f*ck, especially when an alien pops up, claws the side off the tower, and comes this close to killing them. Luckily, Regan's malfunctioning hearing aid causes the creature to freak out again and it flees.
6. The Flooded Basement
Meanwhile, Evelyn has no idea her children are drowning in grain. Instead, she has to worry about her newborn baby drowning in water. And why is that happening, you might be wondering? Well, before sh*t hit the fan, the family was shown soundproofing a small room in the bottom of the barn and outfitting it with the things new moms typically want in their nurseries: a tiny, soundproofed wooden box and an oxygen tank with an infant-sized mask.
When Lee finds her in the bathroom (just after the fireworks went off), she's exhausted. She did just give birth to a baby, after all. Lee carries Evelyn and the baby boy to the nursery. Somehow, the baby stays quiet the whole walk until just before they go below ground. When the baby starts to fuss, Lee puts it inside the box and closes the lid. Evelyn takes a nap, and Lee goes off to find the kids. Unfortunately, one of the aliens has wrought havoc above ground, destroying a pipe in the process. The pipe, of course, starts pouring water directly into the DIY nursery.
Evelyn wakes up just in time to find her baby box floating in waist-deep water, straight toward an alien that's crept into the room, too. Thanks to the loud, waterfall-like noise of the pipe that's flooding the room, Evelyn is able to mask the sound of her movements and slowly, ever so slowly, lift her baby from the box. In a truly blood-chilling scene that would be at home in any film in the Alien franchise, she steps back behind the "waterfall" with the baby pressed to her chest as the alien inches closer and closer and closer . . . until a loud sound outside distracts the creature, and it takes off.
7. The Emotional Sacrifice
Lee leads his son and daughter away from the grain tower and through the cornfield with an alien close behind. Knowing he has no other choice, Lee bravely deposits his kids in a truck on the property and then steps out to sacrifice himself so his kids can get away. It's an unexpectedly emotional scene in the middle of all the film's chaos, and Krasinski plays it perfectly. He has just enough time to tearfully sign, "I love you. I have always loved you," to Regan before screaming loudly. The alien kills him on the spot.
8. The Monster in the Basement
How much heartbreak can one family take at a time? In the case of A Quiet Place, a lot. Their father's death (which Evelyn witnesses on the farmhouse's security-camera feed back in the basement) provides enough of a distraction for Marcus and Regan to coast down the hill in the truck and reunite with their mother. They retreat to the basement once more with an alien hot on their trail. Marcus takes the baby and hides in the corner, and Evelyn arms herself with a giant shotgun (is there anything this woman can't do?). Meanwhile, Regan explores her father's lab in the basement — he'd been trying to figure out how to fix her hearing aid all this time, and his equipment is all over the desk.
The alien, which we get to see up close and in all its terrifying glory — for those who want to know, it's a mix between the Stranger Things demogorgon and Spider-Man 3's Venom — and all seems lost . . . UNTIL it takes one step too close to Regan and her hearing aid starts emitting feedback that paralyzes the creature. She finally puts two and two together, and blasts the alien with more feedback through a speaker on her father's desk. Her mom shoots it in the head, for good measure. As we see in security-camera footage on the basement TVs, the sound of the gunshot sends the remaining two aliens roaming around the surrounding woods running in the direction of their home. A Quiet Place ends with Evelyn sharing a last, triumphant smile with her daughter before she pumps the shotgun.
What a cliffhanger, right? While it's unclear if there will be a sequel, I think it's pretty obvious that the first one is destined to go down as a horror classic. Do you think I'd spend all this time rehashing some of the most terrifying moments of my life for you if it wasn't?!