What The Monsters In A Quiet Place Originally Looked Like

"A Quiet Place" may be all about the horror of sounds, but its aesthetics certainly matter. The super-hearing beasts that have taken over the world and driven humankind pretty close to extinction have a lot more going for them than their sensitive hearing. The monsters are formidable, hunched over and crawling on all fours in a deeply off-putting way, while covered in a black inky chitin packed with inhuman ridges and dips. And that's all before you get to their faces, which open up like a disco ball and reveal their bright red inner flesh, which always looks wet in the grossest, accidentally-turned-on-the-surgery-channel-is-that-someone's-insides way.

They're a potent mixture of interesting and effective, the kind of monster design that draws comparisons mainly to "Alien," but without looking derivative. And yet, they weren't supposed to look like that. Sure, they were supposed to be gross and foreboding, but in a different gross and foreboding way. In an interview with Collider (via Blood Disgusting), director, writer and actor John Krasinski explained that the design of his monsters actually changed pretty deep into the film's production:

"I had designed this character and this creature, and we loved it. We had so many details like drawings and boards and things for the kids to look atAnd then I was really deep in the [post-production], and it was one of those moments where — this sounds super nerdy, but now I understand when people talk about visual effects and seeing this — you could just see that he wasn't going to work as well as a different design."

Monster mania

It's always interesting when important visual changes happen so late in the game in a film's development, and while Krasinski didn't quite break it down and explain what happened, the original design does look like it was much taller than the hunched-over beasts we get in the film, plus, the original monsters had giant devilish horns, which do look pretty heavy metal. Maybe the size and the style of the monsters, which look a little more beetle-esque, were proving too complicated to fit into Krasinski's at-times cramped film, or maybe the giant horns didn't really fit with the movies more stripped-down style. Ultimately, they were completely scrapped.

While it does seem fairly trivial, Krasinski and his crew still served up a heaping helping of spooky sound monsters to terrorize the sweet and sad family at the center of "A Quiet Place." Monsters are huge set pieces that help set the tone for horror movies. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" would feel like a different movie if Freddy Krueger didn't look like Freddy Krueger. Even monsters that don't have speaking roles, like the Xenomorphs from the aforementioned "Alien," or all the Lovecraftian beasts in John Carpenter's "The Thing," lend huge amounts of atmosphere and aesthetic to their films. The oily black angles of the Xenomoprhs as designed by H.R. Giger in some ways mirror the industrial hallways of the film's spaceship, while the surreal gore collage monsters you see in "The Thing" provide some dynamic juxtaposition with the minimal arctic set. 

Monster mayhem

All of that begs the question: How did the design change alter the aesthetics of this movie? The monsters in "A Quiet Place" don't quite break the mold, but their giant, oyster shell-esque ears hidden behind the slits of a four-legged nightmare bug creature definitely drive home the conceit of the movie, which is entirely based around sound. The fun thing about watching "A Quiet Place" is every scene feels like there's a killer hiding in the house. Every noise has consequences, and these monsters drive that home. They're a nightmare fuel that crawls out of your dreams if you accidentally drop a glass, and they have that vaguely organic look to them. Don't get confused, they are monstrous alien hell beasts, but they don't look like the monstrous alien hell beasts you would see in a heavy metal music video.

On the other hand, Krasinski's original design does look like the kind of hell beasts you could see in a heavy metal music video. The much taller, more rigid monsters look like demons from a "Baldur's Gate" knockoff, and not in a bad way, just in a different way. A movie that leans more heavily on '80s tropes or devilish plot lines could do a lot with tall horned monsters. Even a more minimalist movie could use a monster like that to inject a little bit of "Dungeons & Dragons" nightmare renaissance festival energy into the film. That's not to say these monsters wouldn't have worked in "A Quiet Place," they just would have made it different. There's a lot that goes into making a horror film, but the monsters make the movie.