Tread lightly, because spoilers for the ending of A Quiet Place are afoot.
The new horror movie making noise at the box office and wowing critics is also leaving audiences speechless. And part of the success of John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place can be attributed to its subtle approach to worldbuilding, leaving many details about its post-apocalyptic setting unsaid (literally).
Like most of the best horror films (The Witch, The Babadook, Alien, Get Out, The Shining), A Quiet Place deliberately avoids being explicit about the exact nature of its premise and rules — which leaves a lot to interpretation. Instead, the movie artfully establishes facts about the world, its fall, and the monsters causing it through tiny details and hints that you could’ve easily missed.
So we went ahead and did the homework for you. Here are the best theories that answer your biggest, lingering questions about A Quiet Place.
The red lights are more than a warning
The Abbott family’s use of red string lights on the lawn is never explicitly addressed. Many assume it’s just their silent code for an SOS or that Emily is in labor. But some perceptive fans noticed the sound design sneaks in a small, high-pitched noise whenever the red lights are switched on. And, as we know, what we hear as a small sound is a huge sound for the creatures.
So, whether done consciously or unconsciously, the system actually works twofold: First as a warning sign and quiet cry for help, and second as a diversionary tactic to lure the monsters away from the house.
We suspect that the Abbotts have no idea about all this, in the same way that they don’t realize the effects of the hearing aid. Which, tragically, means that when Emily Blunt’s Evelyn used the lights to save her new baby, she probably drew the monsters outside to where her other kids were hiding. And inadvertently and indirectly, she caused the death of her beloved husband.
One YouTuber even believes the red light theory is supported by the fact that there’s little wreckage in the post-apocalyptic town. But the camera does linger on a red light that was violently ripped off — presumably by one of the creatures.
The creatures are probably aliens
In one of the many newspaper clippings scattered throughout the house, the monsters’ arrival is described as being part of an “invasion.” This word implies that they aren’t some kind of science experiment gone wrong, or super evolved creatures originating from our planet.
This details gives another layer of meaning to the spaceship toy that leads to the tragic death of their youngest son in the opening scenes.
It would also explain the creatures’ hypersensitivity to sound on Earth. Noise can’t exist in a vacuum, so there is no sound in empty outer space. And because sound comes down to frequencies and vibrations interacting with our atmosphere, who knows how the atmosphere on the creatures’ home planet influenced their evolution and sound sensitivity.
Chips are too dangerous to eat in this post-noise apocalypse
In the opening prologue, we see all the food in the general store has already been scavenged. There’s one conspicuous exception, though: The entire chip isle is still fully stocked. As one Redditor points out, that’s probably because chips are just too damn noisy to risk eating.
Movie audiences definitely felt the pain of this IRL, with many expressing anxiety about eating popcorn (another extremely noisy food) due to the movie’s unsettling silence and terrifying premise.
I dunno — maybe we were all too hard on Doritos for their lady-friendly line of chips, which came complete with crunch-canceling noise technology. Doritos will likely survive us all in the apocalypse.
The monsters are not hunting people to eat them
There’s little to no evidence that the creatures actually eat the humans and animals they kill. On the whiteboard where Lee (John Krasinski) has written down everything he knows about them, a question prominently on display is: “Why don’t they eat their kill?”
We couldn’t find evidence that might explain the dietary preferences of a sound demon. But the ending makes their motivations for hunting much clearer.
Sound is painful for them. So they’re not hunting for food. They’re killing everything that makes noise, so that Earth becomes more inhabitable and tailored to their foreign biology. Their survivalist instinct also needs to eradicate any threats, which means anything that triggers their only weakness.