Two of the best films of the year so far are the horror films: A Quiet Place and Hereditary
Since they’re part of the same genre, fans can’t help but compare the two. For me at least, it’s very difficult to decide which is a better movie overall.
A Quiet Place premiered at the South by Southwest conference in March to critical buzz. It wasn’t released to public theatres until April. With 266 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it currently has an average rating of 8.1 and 95% of these reviews are positive. It was directed by Jon Krasinski who previously directed a couple films.
Hereditary premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in January with rave reviews. It recently opened in theatres on June 8th. On Rotten Tomatoes, it only has 174 reviews so far and holds an average rating of 8.3. Meanwhile, 92% of these reviews are positive. Hereditary was directed by Ari Aster and this film was his feature film directorial debut.
In terms of critical success, it is a tight race between the two movies. A Quiet Place (with more reviews) still has a higher percentage of positive reviews but Hereditary has a higher average rating by critics. Both films also have fresh directors. Critically, it’s basically a tie if you just follow Rotten Tomatoes but there are other things to consider.
Opening Weekend Box Office
A Quiet Place opened with $50 million domestically on a budget of $17 million. A sequel has also already been announced by Paramount Pictures. The film is still in theatres and has made over $324 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
Hereditary only opened to more than $13.5 million and its budget is currently unknown. Also based off its story, it doesn’t seem like it will get a sequel but anything’s possible in Hollywood. Hereditary does have the highest opening for a movie produced by A24 and will most likely be a profitable movie.
Both movies are original movies and aren’t based off anything. They also both had critical buzz from their festival premieres. A Quiet Place was possibly given the edge due to its PG-13 rating (Hereditary was rated R), its release date (Hereditary was released during the summer blockbuster season) and its premise.
The premise of A Quiet Place is more unique and original than Hereditary. Hereditary definitely draws from classics such as The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby. Meanwhile, A Quiet Place can’t easily be compared to anything else due to its silent nature and use of sign language. This premise deeply impacted my theater experience when I watched the film.
I have seen both movies once and I saw A Quiet Place two months ago. However, I am still confident in my analysis of both films and I will never forget my experience in the theater as I watched them.
I have never experienced anything like watching A Quiet Place in theatres. It was a relatively medium sized showing and nearly all the seats were used. It was difficult to find a seat. Throughout the movie, the audience tried their best to be silent. Sounds were only made when the scary aliens were attacking the humans.
I couldn’t even finish my popcorn or candy because I didn’t want to make a sound. It was like the whole audience made a pact to be as quiet as possible, so everyone could enjoy the film like the director intended. Although, I am sure not everyone had this experience. I pity anyone who went to a showing of A Quiet Place that featured a parent and crying baby.
For Hereditary, my theater experience was vastly different. The theater was larger but half the seats weren’t even taken. Maybe even most seats were empty but there was still a large enough crowd for the collective audience to have a presence during the movie.
As Hereditary played out, my eyes were peeking through my hands for around half of the movie. A Quiet Place was tense but Hereditary was terrifying. At many moments, I felt something was going to appear and make me jump. A Quiet Place also chose to consistently show its monsters, so I was never too worried about the aliens jump-scaring me.
Hereditary unified my audience 3 times. The death of Charlie shocked everyone. No one saw that coming and it was so brutal. It was more shocking than the opening death of A Quiet Place. Hereditary wasn’t scared to show us a decapitated head being swarmed by ants.
The second time was the first time Peter hears the sound Charlie consistently made. Someone in my audience screamed out loud and every time the sound appeared again was scarier than the last.
The third time was the ending. After Hereditary ended, the audience was shocked and creeped out. Its ending will be more memorable than how A Quiet Place ends. A Quiet Place has a happier ending. Most characters survive the horror and have found a way to defeat the aliens. Also the best moments of A Quiet Place are the Emily Blunt bathtub scene and Jon Krasinski’s death. My audience probably wasn’t even breathing during both moments.
I predict that for most people A Quiet Place had a better, more unique theater experience while Hereditary had an impactful experience but one similar to other creepy, horror movies.
A Quiet Place was a suspense-thriller blended with horror while Hereditary was a family drama that got more horrific with each minute of screen time.
Also A Quiet Place is more suitable for an audience that just wants to watch a straight-forward movie. Meanwhile, Hereditary leaves the audience with questions (most can be answered by vigilant viewers).
Hereditary is perfect for discussion and theories with friends, while A Quiet Place is more about its facts such as it unique use of sign language and sound for storytelling. I also believe Hereditary was better directed than A Quiet Place. The visuals and shots of Hereditary are more striking. Not only the ending but the opening shot of Hereditary will be analyzed for its meaning for years onward.
The story/writing for A Quiet Place was better crafted. The movie did have three writers including Krasinski while Hereditary only had Aster. However, more doesn’t always work out. For A Quiet Place, it did though.
The weakness of the aliens, that they can’t handle too much sound is great writing. For Hereditary, the twist is it’s all about Peter (something that wasn’t even revealed in the marketing campaign). There are also several hints to this throughout the movie. For me, some aspects of Hereditary were predictable.
I had a feeling Joanne was going to betray her. I also knew that her husband was going to catch fire. The writing for Hereditary wasn’t bad but when I watched A Quiet Place there was never a moment where I was upset at a story element/twist.
Hereditary was better acted though. Indeed both movies have talented adult and child actors. The best performance between both movies goes to Toni Collette (who was nominated by the Academy for her role as the mother in The Sixth Sense). Collette definitely has a chance of being nominated for her role in Hereditary.
I honestly won’t be surprised if A Quiet Place and Hereditary both remain two of my favorite movies of 2018. However, I do see Hereditary getting the most Oscar buzz. In modern times, Get Out has proven that horror films can be nominated and win Oscars. It’s too soon to say if these movies will win any Academy awards but I do foresee nominations.
For A Quiet Place, I currently see potential nominations for Direction, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Original Screenplay. For Hereditary, possible nominations include Editing, Original Screenplay, Direction, Supporting Actor, Actress and Best Picture.
Realistically, these horror movies would be lucky to get nominated for any one of these categories. It is still fun to consider the possibilities. I am confident that movie fans will still be talking about A Quiet Place and Hereditary by the end of this year, even if it isn’t for the Oscars.
Featured Image via Paramount Pictures