My favorite thing about seeing A Quiet Place in the theater was watching–or rather, hearing–the effect it had on the audience. It’s rare that a movie truly makes an audience hold its collective breath, but this one does so frequently. It kind of tricks the audience into believing that they are in some way also responsible for the fate of the characters, and any random noise they make could attract the horrific monsters that populate the world of the film.

This spell A Quiet Place casts upon the audience wouldn’t be possible without the superb sound design of the film. Sound editors Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn really use the push and pull of silence and sound in such an effective way. And not just in moments to high tension, but in smaller, mundane moments as well. The absence of sound that permeates long stretches of this film forces you to absorb every detail of what you’re seeing, and that’s another place where the movie succeeds.

As far as other things I liked–the creature design was pretty cool, and was heavily inspired (whether intentional or not) by the Tremors series. I also liked some of the narrative choices the movie made, especially in the final act.

But make no mistake–sound and silence are the stars of this movie. It’s ability to make moviergoers afraid to take a bite of popcorn is a feat, especially in an era where there is so little respect for the theater experience. Hats off to the filmmakers for reminding us what a great collective experience it can be.