A Quiet Place Pulled Off One Of Its Trickiest VFX Using A Kiddie Pool And A Little Corn

Giant spider-like alien monsters can be terrifying, but do you know what's really scary? Grain silos. 24 Americans died in them in 2022 alone, which might seem surprising considering how light each individual bit of grain is. It doesn't seem like it should take about 400 lbs of force to pull out a person who's waist-deep in flowing grain, but it does. It also doesn't seem like someone fully submerged in a grain silo would suffocate to death within 90 seconds, but they would. In normal circumstances, you can walk on top of a pile of dry corn relatively fine. But if the silo's being emptied, or if there's an air cavity you can't see from above, you can easily be sucked in.

"Employee #1, age 15, was atop a railroad car watching the unloading of corn from the center bin compartment," reads one of hundreds of accident reports from over the years, this one from 1987. "He was last seen sitting on the edge of the compartment with his legs hanging freely in the bin. Employee #1 apparently lost his balance, fell into the compartment, and was pulled under the flowing corn in the bin. He died of suffocation."


#fyp #grain #grainsilo #trapped

♬ original sound – AirBnB_Arbitrage_Dallas

This grim reality complicated things for the production of "A Quiet Place," a movie whose production team wanted to avoid as much CGI as possible while also not letting its child actors become that year's Grain Silo Victims #27-28. As director/actor John Krasinski explained in a 2019 Vulture interview, "The idea of these kids drowning in this corn was something that I was terrified of the entire process. I remember I had spoken to a friend of mine, Drew Goddard, and his only note at the end of the script was: 'How the hell you gonna do that corn scene?'"

Drowning in dry corn, the safe way

"How we did it was Jeff Beecroft, my amazing production designer, designed this ramp under a small kiddie pool of corn," Krasinski explained. "So there were only 12 inches of corn the entire time for these kids to look like they were drowning in." You can watch a behind-the-scenes clip below, in which the perfectly safe Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds are pretending to nearly drown in a shallow pool of corn. Admittedly, this pool looks far bigger than the average kiddie pool, but it's definitely much smaller and less dangerous than an actual grain silo. (It also helps that dry corn, unlike water, is a lot easier for a film production to work with.)

"They could walk up and down the ramp at any time, and look like they were above the corn or below the corn," Krasinski continued. "If they ever got nervous, they could just duck below the corn and gasp for air." The result was hard to argue with; in the finished version of the film, it's impossible to tell that the corn the characters are wading in is as shallow as it really is. Even in the behind-the-scenes clip, the illusion's hard to shake. As a whole, the scene has ended up serving as a much-needed PSA about the dangers of mucking about in a corn silo ... even if it, admittedly, took some creative liberties along the way.

A few inaccuracies

If you thought farmers around the world would be grateful for the scene raising awareness about the dangers of corn silos and bins, think again. "I am a farmer and during this scene, I just started laughing," wrote one very smug farmer on the Frame by Frame subreddit. "I am in bins full of corn almost every day and can personally say, without a shred of doubt, it is impossible to sink into corn like they did in that movie." Meanwhile, a paramedic on the Horror subreddit had the exact opposite response: "I've pulled three bodies out of silos in my career. Silos are basically death factories that can explode, swallow, or auger you to death."

Others in the threads pointed out that the kids would indeed be in trouble if the silo was open at the bottom, allowing the corn to spill out and creating that dangerous flowing effect. It's also likely that a long-neglected corn silo like this would be more prone to those air cavities than the well-attended silos that farmers typically work with.

But what nobody can defend is the moment when Marcus pulls a fully submerged Regan back up with just one hand. Such a feat would require an inhuman amount of strength from Marcus, made even more impressive considering how unstable the door he was sitting on was. Whereas most of this scene shows how dangerous these places can be, this one moment has the opposite effect, creating a misleading impression of just how easy it is to pull someone out of flowing corn. Of course, the scene's main function was not to be educational but to be scary. On that front, it certainly succeeded, at least for the less nitpicky of its audience.