Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The One Scene That Nearly Ruined A Quiet Place

John Krasinski's nail-chomping terror, "A Quiet Place," quickly became one of the most game-changing horror movies in recent memory following its release in 2018. Taking us into a world overrun by creatures that hunt using sound made for 90 minutes worth of air-sucking tension that demonstrated the former "The Office" star had a knack for giving us the willies. 

From the start, "A Quiet Place" does a great job of showing us the rule book on how to survive in a world where noise can get you killed. Floorboards are marked in certain spots to avoid creaks, blankets and other noise-muffling materials are scattered on the floor, characters use sign language to communicate — even meals are prepared with foods that aren't too noisy. In this world where a soundproofing error means the difference between life and death, doing something as simple as walking barefoot is just a trend; it's a way of life.

However, setting up these rules opens up the door for later moments in the film that audiences can immediately see as impending issues. Dangers that aren't on the radar for characters only surface when it's too late to reverse course, and before you know it, viewers are hiding behind their popcorn buckets. That's not to say they weren't present, but merely that the Abbott family (Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe) isn't as prepared as they appear to be.

Hitting the nail on the head in A Quiet Place

There is a universal wince moment in "A Quiet Place" when Emily Blunt's character, Evelyn Abbott, goes upstairs with the laundry, only to have her laundry basket catch on a nail embedded in the basement steps. Not noticing what happened, she continues upward, making the nail emerge further out of the floorboard. The nail is left standing up as an imminent danger that viewers know will surely cause an issue for whoever comes back downstairs. We all know what is going to happen, which in itself is a testament to John Krasinski's skill as a director in silent storytelling. Unfortunately, in this case, Evelyn has to suffer for her decision to not remove the nail from the steps.

Given that this is a world dependant on watching your step from rules the film itself sets up, you would assume that everyone, including Blunt's character, would look before they leap no matter the situation. So, why does she rush downstairs and not check her footsteps to evade danger after her water breaks later in the film? The answer makes sense, albeit for the wrong reasons.

Without that nail, A Quiet Place's story would stumble

Like many great stories, minor issues can significantly impact the grand scheme of things. Had Evelyn not snagged the nail in the first place, the birth of her child in the bathtub probably would've been far less troubling, albeit still quite painful. Additionally, her actions wouldn't have caught the attention of the film's terrifying creatures and, in turn, led Lee Abbott (Krasinski) to get there sooner, tend to a less stressful pregnancy before going back to save his children, Regan (Simmonds) and Marcus (Jupe). Ultimately, "A Quiet Place" may have been a lot less of a dangerous place to be in — but then where's the tension in that?

Producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form acknowledged just how essential leaving the exposed nail in the movie was, even though it would have been easy for the Abbotts to remove. Speaking to HuffPost in April 2018, Form remarked, "We do know when everybody sees the movie they're expecting everyone to step on that nail every time they come down the steps." So, yes, the decision to leave the nail in the movie was a conscious decision, and "A Quiet Place" is arguably the better for it.

Ultimately, without that single nail, the incredible effort from John Krasinski wouldn't have gone the way it did, horror, heartbreak, and all. Sometimes simple resolvable matters need to say unresolved to keep the story going in the place it needs to get. And where it got to was one terrifying experience that earned its place among the best. Sounds like a smart move after all.