John Krasinski’s latest directorial effort A Quiet Place has a simple premise.* In post-apocalyptic America, a family must exist in silence in order to remain undetected by giant, murderous creatures with bat-like hearing that now stalk the earth, pouncing upon prey at the slightest sound. (The protagonists communicate exclusively in sign language, and one of the children, the daughter, is deaf.) “Be quiet, or you’ll die” seems an easy enough rule to remember, especially since, per the film’s title cards, we first encounter the Abbott family 89 days after the catastrophic reckoning. But as the characters in A Quiet Place prove on more than one occasion, even if you’re dedicated to a life lived muffling your audible footprint at every waking moment, you can’t control every source for noise. And when that noise unexpectedly occurs—even when it doesn’t—the instinct to remind others to “Shh” cannot be suppressed.
So here is your guide to every time a character makes the “Shh” gesture in A Quiet Place. Needless to say, there are spoilers.
A playful “Shh” with unwittingly sad consequences.
A Quiet Place kicks things off with a lighthearted take on this gesture. Daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) slips a toy rocket to her youngest brother, and slyly puts her finger to her mouth as if to say, “Don’t let mom and dad see you with this.” In a preceding scene, their father snatched the light-up, noisy rocket ship from his son on the basis that it was too loud. This turned out to be the right call, as the rocket’s sounds ultimately turn the unsuspecting toddler into monster bait.
Rein in that excitement, kids!
Here’s our first serious “Shh.” In a fit of Monopoly-winning glee, Regan has knocked over a lantern. After putting out the small fire caused by the crash, rugged dad Lee (Krasinski) carefully shushes his kids before getting up to check whether any monsters have picked up on the sound. Considering the horrified looks on the kids’ faces in that moment, it’s safe to say they didn’t need that reminder.
Dude, don’t blow up our spot.
Even this GIF cannot properly capture the epic nature of this “Shh.” Lee and his son Marcus stumble upon an elderly couple in the woods, and things get especially dangerous once it becomes apparent that the wife has been eviscerated. The old man prepares to commit ritual suicide by scream, screwing his face up in a fit of grief/insanity/defiance, when Lee executes yet another majestic shush. Don’t you get it, old man? Some of us are still trying to survive in this cinematic universe in which you can’t make any noise!
Too much grain, too much noise.
After the two unluckiest kids in the world nearly find themselves succumbing to the grain, they’re stranded in the family silo—and they’ve just made a lot of noise. The resulting “Shh” Marcus gives Regan happens right before one of the noise monsters Kool-Aid-mans its way through the side of the structure. It’s not so much a reminder that they’re playing The Quiet Game as it is an indicator that Marcus has heard something he suspects his deaf sister wouldn’t be able to hear.
Great to see you again, but “Shh!”
After shedding his sensitive dad cardigan to reveal the modest-yet-flattering Henley underneath, rugged dad Lee reunites with his freshly corn-bathed kids. They embrace, but things quickly get tense. After an off-screen monster lets out some characteristic creaks, Lee and Marcus look off into the distance terrified, and dad shushes his kids. Come on, dad: We get it. The kids who just narrowly escaped being murdered in a swamp of grain definitely get it.
A monster is descending the stairs to their basement hideaway, and once again, it’s time for Regan to be quiet. Homesteader mommy Evelyn (Emily Blunt) shushes the girl in the film’s final act, because heaven knows she doesn’t get that that’s how it works by now. Less shushing, more shotgunning, Evelyn!
Ok, now they’re just being ridiculous.
Correction, April 9, 2018: This post originally misidentified A Quiet Place as John Krasinski’s directorial debut.