A Quiet Place was what The Last of Us could have been in cinema. Quietly: we can still see (and probably will) a PS4 and PS5 exclusive game movie, but I see a missed opportunity here very similar to one in the early 2000s: remember when the first Max Payne was released before the game of Matrix?
Neo (Keanu Reeves) dodging bullets in slow motion blew heads off in cinema, but it was Max Payne who popularized the bullet-time effect in video games. When the Matrix game later came out, part of the impact of slow motion got lost; it wasn’t sooo new in that media anymore.
Comparing this time, we have the opposite: although Last of Us came first in games (the first one was released in 2013 for PS4), A Silent Place took over the big screen in 2018 and reasserted itself in 2021, with the recently released Part 2. And both works have some similarities.
Okay, the causes of the apocalypse are different: in The Last of Us, a fungus plague infected humanity; in A Silent Place 2, it is explained, briefly in the opening minutes, which creatures came from outside the Earth. The common thread is in the result: the “invaders”, whether disgusting fungi or horrifying beings with a look that mixes Venom and Alien, have taken over the planet and turned humans into mere breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Both Joel and Ellie and the Abbott family are survivors amidst the worst doomsday scenario you could imagine. The monsters out there, in Last of Us and A Silent Place, can’t see, guided only by the sound of potential prey — something Spielberg had already done back there with the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, in creative freedom that the science has already disproved: the dinosaur could see very well, unlike the Crackers of Last of Us and the mysterious beings of Silent Place.
In A Quiet Place: Part 2, The Last of Us similarity increases even more. We have a relationship between a grown man and a younger girl that is initially troubled; therefore, they put differences aside to focus on what matters most: survival. Emmet, character of Cillian Murphy, is sullen and suspicious like Joel, but ends up falling in love and taking risks for Regan (Millicent Simmonds).
Here’s a fact: before HBO confirmed a series of The Last of Us, Naughty Dog was developing a film adaptation of the game back in 2014. Imagine if it had come out before Quiet Place, how would things have gone? Everything is guesswork, of course, but I guess that if TLoU were well produced and the film directed by John Krasinski had arrived later, comparisons would be inevitable and we would no longer be seeing something 100% unprecedented, despite the good idea in the premise.
After all, noise is a death sentence in both A Quiet Place and The Last of Us. Nevertheless, it’s not just creatures that our characters should be concerned about, but also malicious humans traumatized and transformed by ” New World” — again, something that was already established in apocalyptic works like Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead itself.
In the end, everyone wins: both The Last of Us games are great, both Quiet Place movies are worth the experience, and luckily HBO’s TLoU series will do justice to the games with Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in the roles from Joel and Ellie.
As a child of Chileans, I adore Pascal and for me he would star in any and all Hollywood works, but are you going to say that Krasinski himself wouldn’t make a good Joel? A Quiet Place would be a great game along the lines of The Last of Us. And vice versa.