By Meriah Nichols
It’s Halloween season, the perfect time to curl up with a scary movie!
I’m not typically a person who reaches for horror films because I have the nerves of a rabbit. But being deaf, I’ve had A Quiet Place in my queue for a long time and thought it would be a great time to actually take a breath and watch this movie that I’ve been wanting to see.
A bit of background about A Quiet Place
American Sign Language (ASL) is featured heavily in the movie, as it’s a way that the family communicates.
The basic premise of the story is that the world has been infested by sound-based killer aliens. If they hear you, they’ll come for you!
The Movie Itself
First of all: this movie is beautiful.
The cinematography is lush, light-filled, the camera angles are unique. Scenes are exquisitely captured, brilliantly paced.
The acting is excellent.
When I started watching this movie, I was enraptured by the visuals and the brisk unfolding of a mesmerizing story. I was so enraptured, actually, that I fell under the spell of the movie and completely forgot that it was a horror movie.
Until that first shocking scene.
To be clear: this movie is a “horror” movie, not because of the actual violence in the movie, but because of the fact that it so thoroughly draws the audience in and keeps them gripped in the tension and constant threat of violence that the family lives in.
The Deaf Perspective
This movie has been causing waves in my deaf community since even before it came out.
This is a huge deal for us, as we have long been subjected to hearing actors who play deaf roles. For us, this is similar to “blackface,” the early cinematic practice of painting skin color to play a person of another race.
It was wonderful and refreshing to have an actual deaf actor in this.
It was also pretty awesome to have signed language portrayed as an asset, and to have a completely different, highly unique perspective on familial communication, albeit in a time of stress.
There were pretty funny parts in this movie for me.
For one, cochlear implants (what the deaf daughter was wearing).
When the camera first introduced us to her implant in the store, my first thought was her batteries. Cochlear implants run through batteries like there is no tomorrow; I wondered where and how she got her batteries if the world was basically shut down? A drugstore is only going to carry a certain amount of the size she requires.
My second thought was, after her dad gave her the tricked out processor was, why is she wearing the old one then? If she’s deaf, why on earth is she wearing a processor that’s not working? Because, trust me: this stuff isn’t comfortable. It’s not an accessory you put on for the heck of it!
My biggest guffaw though – I mean, I literally laughed out loud here (thank God I was at home and not in a theatre!) was when her processor emitted feedback.
You see, a cochlear processor can not emit feedback.
I mean that literally: the processor does not, can not emit feedback. Hearing aids emit feedback. Not cochlear implants.
I shrugged and figured they were making that work because the processor had been tricked out by the dad…. Right?!
In addition to the feedback, the verrrrry sloowwwww signing by the family made me smile. I mean, it was accurately signed, but holy cow! It was sloooooow (and that’s coming from me, who is not even fluent in ASL). They were in ASL 101.
But whatever. It was just really nice to have ASL as a central theme in the movie.
The only real gripe I had in this movie were the captions. All of the communications in ASL were captioned for those who don’t know ASL, but the spoken parts were NOT captioned.
This is not an issue when you are viewing it on your Netflix DVD (which has captions), but from a movie-going experience, it’s discriminatory. I mean, the hearing have captions, but we deaf don’t?! What’s up with that?
A Quiet Place is, overall, an outstanding movie. It’s a well-paced, tense, marvelously acted story with lovely visuals. This movie deserves its place in your Halloween DVD queue!