No other movie has made people this afraid to eat popcorn in a theater. When John Krazinski’s A Quiet Place premiered in 2018, its inventive premise and sound design demanded your full attention; after all, the film takes place in a post-apocalyptic world filled extraterrestrial beasts with an acute sense of hearing, whom the characters must avoid by remaining constantly silent.
A plot like this poses a unique challenge. When a movie is so filled with quiet, every sound stands out. All ears were on the sound designers of A Quiet Place, but they made sure the film’s audio did not fail to deliver a story that so heavily depended on it.
This scene shows an intense confrontation between Emily Blunt’s character, Evelyn Abbott, and one of the vicious aliens. A simple high pitch drone creates tension as the monster comes down the stairs and takes over the soundscape with heavy foley and roars. Notice the juxtaposition between the foley and sound attached to the alien and the sound attached to Evelyn. Evelyn has very little foley art, and what’s there is very quiet to match her character’s intentions. Only slight gun movements and her panicked breathes come through the audio. You can hear how the team worked to create immense weight for the creature, as the wood cracks under it, and scare the audience witch horrifying screeches. The team then morphed these alien sounds to mimic the TV static the alien hears in the background.
Now that you’ve heard how powerful sound can be as a storytelling medium, try it yourself. Download Audio Design Desk for free to start creating.