‘A Quiet Place Part II’: The Oxygen Tank Scene Would Never Work in Real Life

A Quiet Place became a modern horror classic almost as soon as it hit theaters. Between the tense set pieces, the terrifying aliens, the amazing performances from the entire cast, and a heartfelt story about love and family, it was a breakout hit during its 2018 premier.

Emily Blunt and John Krasinski smiling in front of a background with the 'A Quiet Place' logo
Emily Blunt and John Krasinski | David M. Benett/Getty Images

Now its sequel, A Quiet Place Part II, is receiving similar acclaim. There’s a ton to praise in this sequel, but one particular scene has left some audience members scratching their heads; in specific, would that oxygen tank scene actually work?

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ takes a more proactive approach to alien attacks

A Quiet Place Part II might open with a flashback to the first day of the invasion (it’s how John Krasinski gets to be in the movie, after all), but the story proper takes place after the events of the first film. Compared to the hiding and surviving of that story, the characters now find themselves taking a more proactive approach to fight off their invaders.

Forced to leave their home after it was destroyed by the climax of the last film, the group heads off to seek shelter. While Evelyn (Emily Blunt) is only concerned with keeping her family safe from the creatures, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is hoping to spread the knowledge that the high-pitched sound emitted from her cochlear implant can be used to disable the aliens.

After the family’s son Marcus (Noah Jupe) is injured fleeing from the creatures, they’re forced to take shelter with an old friend named Emmett (Cillian Murphy) who has also lost his family. While there, Regan learns of an island sanctuary away from the creatures.

Regan sets out to find the island in order to use its broadcast tower to play the sound from her implant across the radio. She manages to get a reluctant Emmett to follow her on the journey, the rest of her family staying behind at Emmett’s foundry.

Oxygen tanks have an important and explosive role in the film

One of the major sources of tension in the first film is that Evelyn has become pregnant and eventually gives birth. Obviously, a crying baby is bad news in a world full of killer monsters that track you based on sound. As a result, the family created a soundproof box to keep the baby inside until it becomes old enough to control itself.

To make sure the baby doesn’t asphyxiate, the family uses oxygen tanks to help the child breathe while inside the box. These become a major source of help and hindrance throughout the second film, as the need to have oxygen tanks on hand poses a problem at a few points. It also provides both the baby and Marcus with a way to breathe while trapped inside an airtight container with one of the aliens stalking them outside.

What most people take away regarding the tanks, though, is the scene in which Evelyn shoots one to try to kill one of the aliens. Firing at the tank, it explodes while one of the creatures stands near it. Unfortunately, all that does is waste a tank, as the alien walks out of the flames unharmed.

This stunt wouldn’t work in real life

Despite how flashy the scene is, Evelyn’s marksmanship would result in little more than a metallic ping in real life. The folks down at the YouTube channel Demolition Ranch actually went and tested to see if the age-old movie staple of shooting oxygen tanks to blow them up would actually work. Unfortunately, that’s a big no.

In the video, smaller caliber handguns can’t even pierce the tanks they use, rifles, and the like breaking them open. In either case, nothing explodes. It’s almost like the people who make oxygen tanks don’t want them to blow up!

In the movie, Evelyn appears to be using either a .38 special or .357 magnum revolver, not unlike one of the guns featured in the video. Basically, there’s no way she could even break the shell on the tank. Even if her weapon was significantly more powerful, there’s no way it would cause it to explode.

You can even see as much in the finished film, as the explosion doesn’t really behave like gas explosions, spreading too slowly compared to the instant combustion of something that might actually light from a spark off a metal tank. While no one expects a ton of realism in an alien attack movie, it is a bit disappointing to learn that you can’t really blow up oxygen tanks by shooting them.

Movies and video games have conditioned us to see every sealed container as a free fireworks display, after all. We can take solace knowing that things might be a bit more explosive with gases like propane, though you still shouldn’t attempt to do these things on your own to find out.

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