‘A Quiet Place’ Proves that Movie Theaters Still Matter

Finding joy in the theatrical experience is a personal journey. A Quiet Place is a perfect example of how special a movie can be when seen in a theater.

A Quiet Place (2018) and its sequels are movies that are immeasurably better when seen inside a movie theater.

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Are Movie Theaters Really That Bad?

Lee stands in front of a wall of monitors in A Quiet Place (2018).
Movies like A Quiet Place are better on the big screen.

Movie theaters are currently a hot topic of debate. Every day brings renewed discussions on social media about the value of watching movies on the big screen, and most of the commentary skews negative. Trips to the theater can be expensive, your fellow viewers can be disruptive, some theaters aren’t maintained properly. The list of complaints goes on and on.

With such a negative outlook, why should anyone make the trip to their local theater? Though there are economic reasons why the success of a movie at the box office is important for the film industry, forget about that for now. The bigger question is: why should the movie theater still matter to the average moviegoer? The answer is all about the chase for that singular memorable experience that only a movie theater can provide.

In the course of my life, I’ve had plenty of amazing times watching movies in a theater. I’ve had bad times too—everyone has—but the positives far outweigh the negatives. One of my absolute best trips to a movie theater was when I went to see A Quiet Place in 2018. It is a memory I hold dear for a few reasons, and it is something that wouldn’t have happened if I’d watched the movie at home.

My Experience Seeing A Quiet Place in a Movie Theater

Evelyn braces herself against a post in A Quiet Place (2018).
Solitude isn’t strictly necessary, but silence is a key ingredient for a good theatrical experience.

When I go to the theater, I tend to go at times when I know there won’t be many other people. I don’t like distractions from people around me, so I’ll go to matinees, as early as possible, usually during the middle of the week to cut down on the size of the audience. I often go by myself because of how often I venture out to the theater, but sometimes I’ll also go with friends or family. Whomever I go with, we share a desire for silence when the movie is playing.

When I went to see A Quiet Place, it was with my dad. Both of my parents love movies just as much as me, so going to the theater together has been one of our favorite family activities since I was a kid. It’s a bonding experience. When I became an adult our schedules wouldn’t always align, but even if all three of us couldn’t get together for a movie, I’d still go with either my mom or dad whenever there was something we wanted to see. My dad and I both really wanted to see A Quiet Place, so we went together even though my mom couldn’t join us that day.

Evelyn faces off with a creature in A Quiet Place (2018).
I try to see any and every horror movie released in the theater.

We went during the first full week of release for A Quiet Place, and the theater was more crowded than we usually like. But this was the only time we both had free, so we just went and crossed our fingers that everyone around us would be polite. We got our drinks and popcorn, and we managed to get our favorite spot towards the middle of the theater.

I might be in the minority here, but I always wait until the actual movie begins before I dig into my popcorn. I want my snacks to last, so I wait. After the trailers, when the Paramount logo finally appeared on screen to signal the beginning of A Quiet Place, I started eating. I kept happily chowing down as the volume of the movie’s music grew louder behind the Platinum Dunes logo. Then the first scene of the movie started, and everything got quiet. Real quiet.

Regan and Evelyn watch as Lee runs for Beau in A Quiet Place (2018).
The impact of the opening scenes was profound.

Now, popcorn isn’t a particularly loud food, but I was mid-munch when the near silence of the movie began. In the quiet of that movie theater, the crunch sounded excruciatingly loud in my ears. I became very aware of myself and my surroundings. I often expect other people to be noisy, but now I felt like the noisy one in the theater. Not wanting to disturb anyone, I slowly, and as quietly as I could, swallowed the popcorn I’d already started and waited before reaching back into the bag.

As I waited, I realized everyone else was quiet too. Everyone. No whispers, no shuffling around, no noisy eating. No sound. We were all caught up in what we were watching on the screen, taking our first steps into the uniquely engaging world of A Quiet Place. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know how quiet it is throughout most of its run time. The amazing thing is, the entire auditorium was silent throughout the entire movie. There were a few slight gasps here and there among the silence that reminded us we were among other people who were having experiences similar to ours. But other than that, silence.

Lee tenses as a creature prepares to attack in A Quiet Place (2018).
When an entire theater is completely absorbed in a movie, you can feel the emotion.

In my years of going to the movies, a completely silent movie theater is a rare thing. There have been moments in other movies where the crowd is silent for a few seconds of high-intensity drama. But a whole theater of people remaining completely quiet when the movie is also very quiet throughout? It’s almost unbelievable. But it happened, and I shared it with my dad that day when we saw A Quiet Place together. When the credits started rolling we looked at each other and smiled. The movie was great, and we both knew that the experience was one of a kind.

It’s All About the Chase

Lee and Marcus share a moment behind a waterfall in A Quiet Place (2018).
You only get so many chances to create lasting memories.

So why am I sharing the story about the time my dad and I went to see A Quiet Place? My main reason is because it’s a perfect example of a scenario that cannot be replicated by watching a movie at home. Sure, you and whomever you watch A Quiet Place with at home can be perfectly silent too, but the feeling of being among a bunch of strangers who are all on the same wavelength when it comes to being focused on the same movie at the same time is impossible to recreate anywhere except inside a movie theater. For that reason, an ideal experience in a movie theater will always be better than an ideal experience at home.

Another, more personal side to this story is that I got to share it with my dad. Now, whenever I see A Quiet Place, and even the other movies in the franchise, it brings back good memories. Whenever the movie goes silent, I think back to sitting beside my dad in that dark, quiet theater, with a mouth full of popcorn that I can’t finish until the sound picks back up. For someone whose life largely revolves around movies, and who grew up in a household that largely revolved around movies, seeing A Quiet Place is among the best memories I have of seeing a movie in a theater.

Lee signs "love" in A Quiet Place (2018).
Seeing a movie in a theater is partly about the movie, but it’s also about the experience and the memories you take with you.

So, are movie theaters still worth going to even with all the things that can go wrong? Unequivocally, yes. Theaters are worth it. Some experiences in the theater will be bad, many will be good, and the greatest will be relatively rare. But the greatest times will be with you for the rest of your life. For me, and for many movie fans, the chase for those transcendent theatrical experiences will always be worth it.

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.