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It's Quiet… Too Quiet

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But with all those bulletholes, it must have been quite noisy at one stage!

"It's quiet...too quiet...
[Gunshot. Bullet whizzes past his head]
Now, suddenly, it's too loud. I preferred it when it was quiet."
O'Malley, Red vs. Blue
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The setting is ominous: a dungeon, perhaps, or a dark wood. Not one where the wary or cowardly tread, that's for sure. The heroes, (no idiots, they!) ready themselves for an enemy attack that could come at any moment. After all, there MUST be danger nearby... right? It seems safe for now, though... or is it?

Someone has to break the silence, and only one line will do: "It's quiet... too quiet."

This trope describes any moment in a narrative where the action has hit a low point when anyone who's paying attention would notice that a Random Encounter could, or should, appear at any instant. Fairly often something will happen within a minute, which will lead another character to say "You Just Had to Say It".

When you start to suspect something is about to happen because the narrative is too positive, rather than too uneventful, that's a Hope Spot.

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The Stock Phrase itself is long since discredited and made fun of so often it can now be considered a Dead Horse Trope. Exception is made if it is lampshaded by adding in a sign on WHAT is quiet, e.g. "Why have all the forest noises stopped?" the answer usually being "the Monster of the Week killed/drove away all the wildlife". Compare We're Being Watched.

Often happens when the Jungle Drums stop.

Compare Nothing Is Scarier and Absence of Evidence. For the background music going silent, see Sudden Soundtrack Stop.

At least partially Truth in Television; in forests and crowded cities, there's always stuff making noise — insects, birds, etc... unless they're hiding from something.

Here is a compilation with a lot of examples.


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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Parodied in this UK Rice Krispies advert from 1991. The reason it's too quiet is that a Mad Scientist supervillain has stolen all the sound.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kagewani has Takeru getting scared when he realizes that the forest got a bit quiet after he didn't hear back from the crew returning back from the lake to get replacements for their "fake" cryptid propeller.
  • Rurouni Kenshin parodies this in their Blooper Reel.
    Kenshin: Where are the animals? The birds?
    * pause*
    Kenshin: I can't hear any FISH!

    Comic Books 
  • Arkham Asylum: Living Hell: Dr. Arkham immediately realizes something is wrong when he notices that the asylum is too quiet one night.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Played with in Season 8:
    Kennedy: It's quiet.
    Willow: Are you about to say that it's "too quiet", dear?
    Kennedy: No, I'm gonna say I think we're okay.
  • In Dark Avengers #10, the Sentry is regarding a small town from the air and says that it's quiet.
    Sentry: I'd, you know, say it's too quiet, but I don't like saying things like that. But it is.
  • ElfQuest: Even the normally prosaic comic couldn't resist having a character say "it's too quiet" in the expanded version of Volume One.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW): Lampshaded in the "Chaos Theory" arc, where Starlight comments on the suspicious quiet and a nervous Pinkie mentions how of course it's going to be quiet until the other shoe drops or the dramatic music starts.
    Starlight Glimmer: It seems quiet...
    Pinkie Pie: Of course it seems quiet! It always seems quiet until the aliens invade or the volcano erupts or the orchestra starts playing the scary music! (everyone glares at Pinkie) Sorry, jitters.
  • Ultimate Vision: The Gah Lak Tus module landed in a military base. Vision and Tarleton arrive at the place. No guards, nobody around. Even the comms chatter ceased, except for the automated distress calls.

    Comic Strips 
  • Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!: One strip has Brewster say this, only for his Red Shirt companion to mock this trope at length. When said Red Shirt is inevitably killed, this also how Brewster points out the silence.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: On a few occasions, Calvin's mother notes that when she hasn't heard from Calvin for longer than two minutes, it usually means he's getting into trouble. She's always right with her assumption.

    Fan Works 
  • ''Equestria: A History Revealed': After retaking Canterlot during the Equestrian Civil War, the characters note that things seem a little suspicious. Turns out it was all a Defensive Feint Trap, as Celestia's tired army is then assaulted by Nightmare forces triple in number, beginning the real Battle of Canterlot.
  • Fate/Gamer Night: While on his way to his new swordsman instructor, Shirou suddenly notes that the forest is silent, made even worse because while trekking through the forest he'd gained the abilities Sense the Unnatural and Sense Presence. Then his Sense Presence alerts him that there's someone standing only a few inches behind him.
  • Final Fantasy VII Another Side: After they escape from the Shinra cells, Cissnei realizes that it's entirely too quiet, as though nothing else on the floor is moving. She realizes why that is right before they come across the scene of a massacre.
  • In The Hill of Swords, Kirche and Louise say this verbatim right before they are attacked. Shirou lampshades it.
  • New Game Plus (One Piece): Buggy says this word for word when they arrive at Syrup Village. And that's before he gets any indication at all that Usopp booby-trapped the entire beach.
  • In The Nightmare House, the first sign that Lincoln's sisters have been kidnapped and replaced by impostors (in his Nightmare Sequence) is that the house is quiet. Makes sense when you consider that the story is based on a program called The Loud House.
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, as they are investigating the Gaunt Shack's surroundings, Moody notices how odd it is that they haven't run into any magical protections, and does so with a long periphrase. This ensues:
    Hermione: "So in essence, what you're saying, is that it's quiet... too quiet."
    Moody: "...Yes, but I was hoping to sidestep the cliché there. Points for concision though."
    Sirius: "I hate to disturb... no, wait, I love it. But anyway, if you know we're diving headfirst into the Land of Clichés, you know what comes up, don't you?"
  • In Robb Returns, Brynden Tully does not like the silence settling over the Bloody Gate, rightly fearing that the Vale clans may be planning something. Fortunately, they are actually planning to leave for the North, following Ned's call to arms.

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney:
    • The Fox and the Hound:
      • Vixey is afraid to enter a copse when she realizes that it's too quiet, while Todd, who unlike her was raised in captivity, has no such qualms and narrowly avoids falling foul of Copper, Amus' shotgun and a shitload of bear traps.
      • Copper also falls into this when he is sniffing for Tod up the cliff and picks up a new scent...From a giant bear!.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame has a scene where Captain Phoebus doesn't like the quietness of the catacombs:
      "Speaking of trouble, we should have run into some by now. You know, a guard, a booby trap..." (his torch is blown out leaving only complete darkness) "...or an ambush."
  • Shrek: The titular ogre utters this line when he and Donkey enter a deserted Kingdom of Duloc. In this particular case, rather than heralding some imminent threat, the quiet is because everyone has gone off to watch the tournament.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Airplane!: Robert Stack says the line to Lloyd Bridges as their characters await the arrival of the airplane.
  • Alien: Covenant. The crew of Covenant land on what appears to be the perfect colony world with beautiful mountains, plenty of fresh water and flourishing plant life. Then someone points out there's no sound of any animals or birds. It's because the Xenomorph virus has killed off all local lifeforms.
  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God: When Native Americans who aren't slaves show up for the first time, the ambient sounds (birds and insects mostly) go dead. The "Emperor" makes this remark, and soon a spooked horse kicks some fire onto a gunpowder barrel.
  • Arachnophobia: At one point during the movie, the main characters notice that the crickets have stopped chirping. Turns out the spiders ate them all.
  • Assault on Precinct 13 (2005): In the remake, one character remarks that it's "awful quiet out there", and Lawrence Fishburne replies that that's what worries him.
  • InAsterix Mission Cleopatre: The Egyptian architect, trapped in Cleopatra's palace under Roman siege, utters this line as everything is silent and a tumbleweed rolls by. Right after, the Romans show up with siege engines.
    "It's quiet... too quiet... I like it better when it's a little more less quiet..."
  • In The Big Chill, Nick says this as he, Harold and Sam are trying to catch a bat that's flown into the attic.
  • In Bridge At Remagen, a US Army unit approaches a German town and the Lieutenant orders all stop because it looks too easy; there are no apparent defences of any kind. His Captain upbraids him for cowardice and proceeds ahead as point and is promptly killed by a hidden panzerfaust wielding soldier.
  • Drums Along the Mohawk: Said word for word right before the Tories launch their final assault on the fort.
  • The Elite Squad: Baiano says this near the end. BOPE attacks moments after.
  • The Fog. When the title weather phenomena (and the zombies inside of it) are approaching the home where Mrs. Kobritz and Andy are staying, the frogs suddenly stop croaking, resulting in complete silence.
  • Galaxy Quest: Done in the first scene, right before an ambush attack on Tim Allen and company.
  • Goldeneye. During their raid on a Soviet chemical plant, James Bond remarks to fellow agent Alec Trevelyan, "It's too easy", realizing that they've encountered zero difficulty in breaching what should be a very secure facility. He's right, of course. Not only do alarms finally start to go off once they reach an inescapable area, but the whole thing is also a setup to allow a cover for Trevelyan's defection.
  • Gone with the Wind: Cited when the screen description mentions that Atlanta was under siege for weeks. "...then fell a silence, more terrifying than the sound of the cannon." And with good reason — the army has stopped fighting back because the opposing army is invading.
  • In KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, Paul Stanley remarks this, leading Ace Frehley to quip "Why didn't you say so?" and begin singing.
  • Lake Placid: A variation occurs where one character, shortly before another attack by the giant alligator, says: "I suddenly got the feeling that everything's perfectly safe".
  • The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra: Inverted:
    Ranger Brad: These things just don't happen! Noises? In the woods?
  • The Marksman: The main character runs back late to the extraction point, he can clearly hear the helicopter waiting although he's still in enemy territory, he turns around frequently watching for potential pursuers, but after a while he stops and notices no one is chasing him. He correctly assesses he and his team have been set up, and the extraction chopper is destroyed shortly after by a traitor.
  • In The Muppet Christmas Carol, this is what tips Scrooge off that something is wrong when he arrives at the usually bustling Cratchit house with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. He quickly realizes that Tiny Tim has died.
    Scrooge: So quiet. Why is it so quiet, Spirit?
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999): In one scene, Young Masbath points out to the city slicker Ichabod Crane how quiet the forest is, and has to explain that forests are supposed to be noisy, with crickets and birds and stuff — noises that the forest lacked at that point.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze: Used seriously at first, but sets up a joke shortly afterwards when Leonardo keeps remarking on how things are a little too quiet, a little too easy, a little too Raphael...
    Donatello: The perimeter's quiet.
    Leonardo: Yeah, a little too quiet.
    <they knock out the only two guards>
    Donatello: Well, that was easy!
    Leonardo: Yeah, a little too easy.
    <they see Raph tied up>
    Donatello: Look! It's Raph!
    Michaelangelo: Yeah, a little too Raph!
    <Leo hits Mikey on the head for turning it into an Overly Long Gag>
  • To Have And Have Not: Harry mentions this right before the shootout in front of the hotel.
  • We Were Soldiers:
    • A variation on the trope is seen when Colonel Moore arrives at a section of the American Line that's too quiet. When asked what's wrong he explains, "There's nothing wrong here...except that there's nothing wrong..." He orders the troopers at that position to fire a few shots at anything that looks suspicious, and they end up flushing out a whole bunch of North Vietnamese soldiers who had been sneaking up on their position.
    • Later in the movie, during an especially dark night, one character starts freaking out because it's so quiet, and his commanding officer asks for a flare to see by...revealing that it was quiet because the Vietnamese soldiers were a couple of feet away, trying to sneak attack.

    Jokes 
  • One of the Russian Holmes and Watson anecdotes goes like this.
    Dr. Watson and Sir Henry Baskerville are having supper in Baskerville Hall when they are startled by a terrible howl.
    - What was that, Barrymore?
    - That's the dreaded Hound of Baskervilles, sir.
    A gut-wrenching meowing wail is heard.
    - What's that, Barrymore?
    - That's the Cat of Baskervilles, sir.
    Eerie, bone-chilling silence follows.
    - What's that now, Barrymore?
    - That's the Fish of Baskervilles, sir.
  • A man worked on the production line at the same company for over 50 years. He woke to the sound of the same alarm clock every weekday at 7 AM. During the whole of his working life never missed a single day. Finally, the day arrived, a Tuesday, when he was able to take his well-earned retirement. He arrived home after attending a works ceremony in which he was presented with an engraved tin mug. He kissed his wife and told her that the next day he was going to have the first-ever long lie-in of his life. He took the alarm clock out into the yard and smashed it to pieces with a hammer. At 7 AM the next morning, the absent alarm clock duly failed to ring. The man jumped up from his sleep and yelled, "What the hell was that?"
    • Another version has a lighthouse keeper sleeping like the dead until the 'house's enormous blaring foghorn suddenly fails.
    • A quantum physics textbook invoked a similar joke to explain antiparticles.
  • Orchestra performers decided to play a joke on their conductor during practice, and at a pre-arranged bar in the score, they all abruptly stopped playing. The sudden unexpected silence so startled the conductor he fell off the podium.
    • An orchestra actually did this once to guest-conductor Prince Charles. He didn't fall off the podium, but he gave an enormous horrified jerk of surprise.

    Literature 
  • Below: When the party reaches the dead city of Lowcastle, Cirawyn notices that the creatures in the ruins have thinned out in their area. Gareth theorizes that an underground version of a natural disaster has severely impacted the wildlife. He's right.
  • CoDominium: In Falkenberg's Legion, Falkenberg says, "Things are going well. When that happens I wonder what I've overlooked."
  • The Day of the Triffids: Used to terrifying effect in combination with Nothing Is Scarier. The protagonist is in hospital recovering from an eye injury that left him temporarily (he hopes!) blind, and the first chapter alternates between exposition and narrating his increasing alarm at the fact that there's no sound of traffic from the nearby main road, the nurse should have come in by now and he has no idea what's going on... Turns out he's literally Slept Through the Apocalypse.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, the northern parts of Providence are strangely silent and devoid of activity. Rob notes that while this seems to be better than the news of raiders coming from all other regions of the land, it's still creepy and suggests that there's something worse happening there.
  • Discworld: Parodied in Jingo, in which a soldier thinks to himself that after ten years of guerrilla warfare, nothing can be too quiet and the best part of war is the waiting (especially when you're waging war against the D'regs).
  • Doc Savage: In Land of Long Juju, Monk remarks on how he does not like how the jungle has suddenly gone silent.
  • In Five Hundred Years After, one of Khaavren's guardsmen says that since most of the civilians were evacuated, Dragaera City is so quiet that the Guards aren't really needed. Khaavren asks if he's ever spent any time in the jungle, where there are dzur or dragons? The guardsman says he has. Well, if he was out in the jungle and all the birds and little critters suddenly hid or went quiet, would he feel safe? The guardsman sees Khaavren's point.
  • H.I.V.E. Series: Nigel specifically tells Franz not to say this. After Nigel leaves, Franz says it anyway.
  • The Hounds of the Morrigan: The main characters are looking for a McGuffin that, in their hands, will bring down the Celtic goddess of war; in hers, it'll bring down everything else. However, every time the goddess's attention is focused somewhere, her ears absorb all the noises of the surroundings. Therefore, she cannot spy on or attack the main characters without unwittingly creating complete silence, which promptly tips them off. Several times.
  • The Hunger Games: Explained and developed, particularly during the Quarter Quell. Katniss comes from a mining district and knows that when a mine canary stops singing, the air is growing foul and danger is imminent. One tribute is singing constantly. The group figure — correctly — that when she stops singing, danger is approaching them and they should get out of there.
  • At least once in the Newsflesh series, reporters in the field are alerted to zombie activity in the vicinity by everything getting too quiet as animals either hide or clear out.
  • Resident Evil: In the novelizations, Leon's first clue that something is seriously wrong as he drives into Raccoon City is just how quiet the streets are. Poor Claire has it worse: being on a motorcycle, her first clue is the smell.
  • Shaman Blues: When exploring a hospital, Witkacy notes that despite places like this usually teeming with ghost activity, this one is eerily empty and quiet, hinting at what's really roaming the building.
  • Silent Spring: Used metaphorically in the title, but also a plot point; one of the first signs that something has gone badly wrong is the eerie silence in the countryside as wild bird populations decline.
  • Tomorrow Town. The protagonists are in a "community of the future" and spend the night in a house humming with gadgetry. They wake up in the middle of the night because all the gadgets have suddenly gone dead, as someone decided to Cut the Juice before trying to murder them. This only means the killer then has to crank the door open manually, given those inside plenty of time to prepare for his attack.
  • Tortall Universe': In Trickster's Choice'', Aly notes that the jungle animals are all quiet...however, her sneakiness and the experience of the guards thwart the subsequent ambush.
  • In The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, this trope is invoked in numerous ways; wildlife of all kinds instinctively flee when they detect Solanum, the virus responsible for reanimating zombies. In areas abundant with noisy wildlife such as jungle and swamps, silence means that the undead must be close as these areas would never, ever be silent normally. In addition, heavily infested areas are found devoid of any wildlife by survivors as everything has been consumed by ghouls, so cities especially but also other areas known for constant noise, whether human or wildlife created, become jarringly and eerily silent.
  • Invoked in Usher II by Ray Bradbury, where the protagonist seeks to reenact the events of The Fall of the House of Usher and has his workmen bring in ten thousand tons of DDT to kill off every animal and insect in the area.
  • Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers: Played with a bit when Lister is released from cryostasis. As he wanders the ship's corridors wondering why he hasn't seen anybody else, he suddenly realises he can hear a strange noise that he eventually realises is the fans of the ventilation system. He'd never consciously heard it before because it was impossible to pick out from the persistent background hum of mining and ore-processing machinery, the ship's transit system and all the miscellaneous white noise that comes from being onboard a massive industrial spacecraft with a crew of several thousand people... background noise that's now ominously absent. Everybody's Dead, Dave...

    Live-Action TV 
  • Adam-12: In one episode, Reed comments on the suspicious quiet when he and Malloy are on a prowler call that they suspect is a setup to lure them into an ambush. It turns out to be just the "normal" amount of quiet after all, as it was, in fact, just a prowler call.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Psi police agent Bester finds that a part of the B5 station is "just too quiet" and so this must be the place where telepaths are hiding because they suppress all their thoughts.
    • Earlier in the series, Commander Ivanova states that she is more comfortable when there is something going wrong. Because on Babylon 5, something is always going wrong. Thus, if everything seems to be going smoothly, it simply means you don't know what is going wrong yet.
    • In the TV movie In the Beginning, the EAS Lexington is moving in on a seemingly disabled Minbari ship, but Sheridan begins to think something's off when he doesn't pick up any Minbari signals, not even a distress call. It turns out to be a set up for a Hyperspeed Ambush.
  • Bananas in Pyjamas: At the end of the "In the Jungle" song, there's a brief moment of silence followed by B2 noting "It's gone very quiet, B1", to which B1 replies "It's gone very, very quiet B2. Maybe even..."
    B1 and B2: ...too quiet.
  • In Band of Brothers, O'Keefe mutters that it's "awfully quiet" while a handful of soldiers are on patrol in the German woods. Moments later, they stumble across a Nazi concentration camp. There often are no sounds anywhere around the concentration or death camps; the fires and smell and other outputs from the camp tended to drive most normal animals away. No birds singing, no animals making any noise... nothing. Those places are eerily quiet. But considering that over six million people died in those places... it's easy to see why.
  • Better Call Saul: In the season 2 finale, Mike is on a hilltop with a rifle, preparing to take out Hector Salamanca. The bugs and insects go mysteriously quiet right before his car alarm is set off by a shadowy individual, tipping off Mike that someone knows where he's hiding.
  • Blake's 7: "Hostage" opens with Vila and Avon saying how quiet everything is. Moments later twenty Federation pursuit ships launch a coordinated attack on the Liberator.
  • Blue Bloods: In "The Bitter End," Officers Jamie Reagan and Vinny Cruz pursue a purse snatcher into the playground of the Bitterman Housing Projects, shortly after the Los Lordes criminal organization (who operate within the Projects) has declared war on the NYPD. Upon entering the Projects, Jamie suddenly notices that the area is completely deserted, something highly unlikely in this neighborhood in the middle of the day....unless everyone's hiding because they're being set up for an ambush. A split second later, a sniper on a rooftop opens fire on them. Vinny is killed while Jamie barely escapes intact.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • When things are quiet in Sunnydale, it's usually a sign that something extra evil is brewing. Justified as the Big Bad of the season tends to use the resident vampire population as its mooks, so they're not roaming around feeding on people and causing general mischief.
    • "Hush": Magical creatures who do not themselves speak steal everyone's voices, resulting in most of the episode taking place in a very disturbing quiet — even the deaths happen soundlessly.
    • "The Body" deals with the (non-supernatural) death of Joyce and has absolutely no music in it at all, apart from opening and closing credits. The entire episode feels unnaturally quiet, and the effect is more than a little unsettling.
  • Burn Notice came at this sideways in a fourth season episode. They didn't drop the line, but Michael did notice that people weren't making eye contact, conversation was muted, they were putting food in their pockets...
  • Doctor Who puts a twist on this on a couple of occasions when, rather than it being quiet when it shouldn't be, there's noise when by all rights it should be quiet. Two excellent examples of Oh, Crap! moments (both courtesy of Steven Moffat) follow.
    • "The Doctor Dances":
      • The Doctor, Rose and Jack are listening to a recording of the Empty Child when Rose wonders what that mysterious flapping sound is...
        Rose: Doctor...
        The Empty Child: I'm here; can't you see me?
        Rose Tyler: What's that noise?
        The Doctor: End of the tape. It ran out about 30 seconds ago... I sent it to its room. This is its room!
      • A boy is using a typewriter to write a letter to his dad. The sounds of his typing are under the dialogue of the scene, until Nancy, the leader of these kids, points out that the boy isn't typing anymore. It's typing by itself.
    • "The Girl in the Fireplace": The Doctor realizes that something's wrong with a clock when it keeps ticking despite being obviously broken.
      The Doctor: Okay, now that's scary.
      Reinette: You're scared of a broken clock?
      The Doctor: Just a bit scared, yeah. Just a tiny bit. 'Cause you see, if this clock's broken, and it's the only one in the room, then what's that ticking?
    • "Voyage of the Damned": The Doctor decides to sneak Astrid onto Mr. Copper's tour group that's teleporting from the Titanic to Earth. When they arrive, they're on a street in the middle of London. The Doctor realizes something's off because the streets that should be packed with throngs of last-minute Christmas shoppers are abnormally deserted. As in, no people around at all. Except for a newsstand vendor, Wilfred Mott. When the Doctor approaches him for answers, the vendor explains that, with now-yearly Christmas disasters like the spaceship Christmas before last and a Christmas star electrocuting people and draining the Thames the year before, most people have decided to head out to the country for the season on the logic that something is probably going to happen this year as well.
    • "Empress of Mars": Just before the Ice Warriors attack, the Doctor remarks that things are quiet, then immediately lampshades it by adding that tradition requires him to add "too quiet".
    • "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror": The Doctor and Tesla are on a train being pursued by a hooded assailant. As the companions and Tesla's assistant have gone ahead, leaving the two of them alone in the car as the Doctor holds the rear door shut, Tesla notices it's gone quiet moments before the attacker comes in through the ceiling.
  • MacGyver (1985): "MacGyver, something's not right. It's a little too quiet out here" — Charles Alden, "Trumbo's World".
  • M*A*S*H: In the episode where BJ is introduced, they are changing a flat tire when a group of Koreans walk past their jeep. Suddenly Radar and Hawkeye notice that the people are no longer on the road. BJ asks what's wrong and they say that usually means they are about to be shot at by snipers. Sure enough, bullets start flying and they beat a hasty retreat.
  • Merlin (2008) has this exchange just before the characters are ambushed:
    Arthur: Quiet. Listen.
    Merlin: I don't hear anything.
    Arthur: Exactly.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • In "Zombie Nightmare", the original movie's use of this trope parodied by Mike and the Bots:
      Crow: It's a little ominous in here.
      Mike: A little too ominous.
      Crow: A lot of cars in here.
      Mike: A little too a lot of cars in here.
    • In "Cave Dwellers", when the hero of the titular movie remarks that it's "too quiet", Crow adds, "Yeah, too too quiet."
  • MythBusters: The line is sometimes used by the Mythbusters just before they perform an experiment likely to make things very loud. Orwhen they try to detonate a bomb and it doesn't note .
  • Person of Interest: This happens twice in "The Day the World Went Away":
    • The first instance happens when Reese and Fusco go to an office that they suspect is a front for criminal activity. After a few minutes in a waiting room, Reese says "What do you hear?" Fusco responds "Nothing." They realize the busy office has been evacuated, just before the hit squad arrives for them.
    • In the same episode, Samaritan realises that criminal mastermind Elias is hiding out in a Truce Zone he's created between two gangs because they've stopped fighting each other.
  • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: One episode has the rangers patrolling the city, and two of them independently note that it's too quiet. Might be worth mentioning that the delivery of the lines make the dialog feel a little more natural, rather than the characters just repeating a cliche.
  • Primeval: While investigating a possible creature sighting on a golf course, Abby notes that it's too quiet. In this case, she's specifically referring to the absence of birdsong.
  • Red Dwarf: In "White Hole", Kryten's invoking this trope in a rather Captain Obvious-like manner at first gets everyone else to think he's gone loose in the head, until Lister realizes that it's gone quiet because the ship's engines are dead.
    Kryten: Listen! Can anyone hear anything?
    Cat: No.
    Kryten: Precisely. No one can hear anything! And you know why we can't hear anything?
    Rimmer: Why?
    Kryten: Because THERE ARE NO SOUNDS TO HEAR!
    Rimmer: Kryten, isn't it 'round about this time of year that your head goes back to the lab for retuning?
    Lister: No, no, he's right. There's no sounds because the engines are dead. We've lost all power!
  • Rome. When the assassins of Julius Caesar claim their action was a justifiable tyrannicide, Marc Antony points out that the streets of Rome are quiet, because people are hiding in their houses in fear instead of celebrating the death of a tyrant. Thanks to a clever Batman Gambit, Antony soon rouses the people...against Caesar's killers.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • "Urgo" plays with this. O'Neill comments that it's quiet, but that's just because the annoying little man who'd been implanted in all their heads was gone.
    • Used much straighter but minus the Stock Phrase in "Morpheus". Teal'c realizes there's something seriously wrong with the planet they're on (besides the entire village being long dead in their beds) when he notices there's no birds singing in the woods, and in fact no animal life of any kind.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Quark uses this line literally on noticing the ambient noise in his bar is 35 decibels below normal, which makes him the first to realize something is wrong with his clients. His clients at the time were Klingons, who tend to be hard-drinking, hard-partying and prone to starting barroom brawls. None of these things are happening. When Klingons are quiet, you know something's up.
  • Supernatural:
    • Alluded to in "Wendigo" when the brothers notice that everything has gone quiet, even the insects.
      Dean: You hear that?
      Sam: Yeah... not even crickets.
    • Sam is suffering hallucinations while going cold turkey after being hooked on demon blood. Suddenly he stops screaming.
      Dean: You hear that?
      Bobby That's a little too much nothing.
  • UFO episode "The Sound of Silence". Twice while near a lake a woman mentions that there's no sound from local animals. This is because there's a UFO hiding in the lake and a body-snatching alien wandering around nearby.
  • The Wire:
  • Without a Trace: In one episode, after the Victim of the Week takes his girlfriend and an FBI agent hostage, he readily agrees to surrender. Another agent notes, "That was too easy". Indeed, the man is planning to commit Suicide by Cop and promptly runs out of the house, raising his (unloaded) gun.

    Podcasts 
  • The Magnus Archives:
    • The first thing that unnerves the narrator of the episode "Killing Floor" is the strange absence of the usual sounds of the slaughterhouse he works in.
    • In "Boatswain's Call" the crew of the ship strenuously avoid talking to each other, until after one of them disappears, seemingly having been chosen to be thrown overboard.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost mentions that some Beasts come from a jungle where the only silence is when the jungle's Fae lord is on the hunt. As a result, those Beasts who escape from him prefer to live in the city. In the city, it's never quiet...

    Theme Parks 
  • Universal Studios:
    • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: During a news report in the queue line, one of the live reporters says that "In a city of tumult and turmoil, Wall Street sits eerily silent tonight, while Doc Ock and his gang rain havoc on the rest of Manhattan..." cue Scream showing up and creating chaos.
    • Earthquake: The Big One: The former attraction started off its ride portion in a quiet subway tunnel, where nothing but faint subway noises could be heard; at least until the earthquake happens.
    • Twister...Ride it Out: The setting of the main show, with the exception of a few faint noises in the distant, is eerily silent...that is until the tornado comes in.

    Video Games 
  • In Call of Duty: World at War during the mission Ring of Steel, Sgt. Reznov tells his men to be quiet when they are moving through an asylum. Sure enough, though, there's an ambush up ahead.
    Chernov: Do you hear something?
    Reznov: No, that is why I am suspicious.
  • in Chapter 11 of the Visual Novel Chaos;Child, when the Big Bad traps Takuru in a delusion, making him think he's subjected to Woodburn Heron's sensory deprevation experiment for a month (in reality, only about thirty minutes are stated to pass), all sound disappears, both background music, sound effects and even Takuru's own inner voice. And since the screen turns completely black, aside from the narration appearing as text, it can seem like the game tries to subject the player to said experiment.
  • City of Heroes: In an NPC exchange when the Rikti have taken a human sympathizer hostage, the usual script is modified to match the Rikti's robotic speech:
    Rikti Captor 1: Status: Quiet.
    Lk'Onik: ...: ...
    Rikti Captor 2: Status Correction: Too Quiet.
    Lk'Onik: ...: Heh.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • Command & Conquer: Renegade's first mission opened up as follows:
      First Soldier: What are we looking for again?
      Second Soldier: An imaginary base.
      Officer: Quiet!
      Second Soldier: Exactly. It's too quiet.
      Needless to say, they shortly fall prey to a Nod ambush.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has Crazy Ivan, a soviet unit, saying that "it's too quiet here". Inverted Trope, as Crazy Ivan is a Mad Bomber and is the one who may drop some dynamite on some building or unit.
    • Command & Conquer: Generals: GLA general Rodall Juhziz had, or would have had, as one of his campaign lines, "It's quiet out there, general...you know what quiet means right? BOOM...HAHAHAHA!!"
  • Darius Gaiden does this with the soundtrack. Zone M, part of the fifth layer of stages, features a conspicuous lack of music in the main body of the stage. About 30 seconds in, the huge battleship warning plays to herald the apperance of Titanic Lance, a six-screen-wide boss that's by far the longest and most difficult boss in this set of stages.
  • Dead Rising:
    • This trope is what first tips Frank West off that the situation in the small Colorado town is more than what meets the eye. In his words, "It doesn't sound like civil disobedience. It's too quiet."
    • Late in the game, commandos will show up and start slaughtering the zombies. You've gotten used to the place being full of the undead by now, so seeing it empty is eerie.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, at one point in the Dalish Elf origin, Merril mentions that all the woodland animals are silent. She speculates it's because the Darkspawn are in the area. She's right.
  • In Dragon Age II Mark of the Assassin, as your party searches for signs of a wyvern, it suddenly becomes very quiet.
    Tallis: Wait, what happened to the birds?...Uh oh.
  • The Elder Scrolls: In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and, to the lesser extent, in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim'', when you travel cross-country, there's usually soft music in the background. When you enter a dangerous area with enemies lurking about, the music fades and there is a brief moment of silence before enemies engage you and the combat music starts playing. When player reacts quickly and plays a stealthy character this can nicely increase the suspense value of stalking the enemies.
  • Evil Dead
  • Fallout 4: Mac Cready will randomly say this, before he bursts out laughing and says he always wanted to say it.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance: It's noted that even the area's naturally occurring sounds are gone (such as animals), indicating that they're surrounded.
  • Fire Warrior: An Imperial Guardsman will occasionally say this phrase. You can take the cue to make things noisy.
  • Ghost Hunter, when going through the scrapyard, Lazarus and Richmond bring up this trope and lampshade it when Richmond asks which one of the two should finish the script.
    Lazarus: "Seems quiet."
    Richmond: "Hmm... are you going to say it, or am I?"
    Lazarus: "Heh heh heh... too quiet."
  • Halo:
    • A chapter in Halo: Combat Evolved is ominously titled "It's quiet..."
    • There's also this exchange in CE's "Into The Belly of the Beast" section of "The Truth and Reconciliation":
    Marine A: No Covenant defenses detected... contact! Lots of contact!
    Marine B: No Covenant? You HAD to open your mouth!
  • Haunting Ground: Purposefully invoked. Whenever one of the characters in pursuit of Fiona is in an adjacent room or hiding somewhere, waiting for you, in the current area, the disturbing background music will be replaced by a deafening silence (and possibly the sound of Hewie growling), either until they burst out of wherever they are or Fiona puts enough distance between herself and them.
  • House of the Dead 2'': Said almost word for word. A later scene also has James say something similar when looking around the baddie's base: "It's like they're inviting me in..."
  • Left 4 Dead: An area is usually only clear of zombies after something has happened... or when something's about to happen. In Left 4 Dead 2's single-player mode called "Last Man On Earth", you're the only survivor in the game. Not only does your survivor continually talk as if the other survivors are still there, they occasionally shout out something along the lines of "Hello?" or "Is anyone out there?". There is also a lack of "normal" Common Infected, making the game overall much quieter, but also giving the eerie feeling that something else is going on around there...
  • The Legend of Dragoon observes how the sudden vanishing of nighttime animal noises generally heralds approaching forces prior to the nighttime attack on Hoax.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park: Uttered after a lengthy dinosaur chase. Cue the T. rex crashing right through the wall in front of you (just before delivering the final shot)!
  • Mass Effect:
    • Tali points out that this trope is usually in effect IN SPACE!: if the engines and/or life support aren't making noise, that means they aren't working. The Normandy creeps her out — since it's a brand new stealth ship, there are almost no noises at all, and her instincts are insisting that she's in danger. In later games Tali notes that she actually missed the quiet and the Normandy in general, indicating she got over this fear.
    • In Mass Effect 2, the Collector Ship mission has this vibe. The squad reaches the mission's goal without encountering any Collectors, alive or dead. One of the party members comments on this. Sure enough, it's a trap!
    • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard gives a callback to Tali's line in Mass Effect if he romanced her, offering to find her someplace noisier if she still thinks the engine room is too quiet. The third party member will have either a Too Much Information reaction (if they weren't in the previous game and therefore didn't know that Shepard and Tali had hooked up) or Get a Room! (if they did already know).
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • After Solid Snake reunites with Meryl in the Nuclear Storage Facility, they exit the bathroom to find all the guards are conspicuously absent, and Snake points out that the music has stopped too. Turns out it is because Psycho Mantis is preparing a trap for Snake by taking control of Meryl's mind.
    • When Solid Snake reaches the titular mech, he remarks over radio to his friend Otacon that there is a conspicuous complete lack of guards or any security at all for that matter. Turns out it is because the villains want Snake to reach the Metal Gear as a part of their plan.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the stunning lack of background music in the underground room with the entrance to the Pit Of 100 Trials provides a big clue as to how deathly serious that pipe in the middle of the room is.
  • Prince of Persia (2008):
    • Lampshaded in a banter line where the Prince says that you should never remark on the quiet — it's just make bad things happen.
      Elika: It seems quiet.
      Prince: Don't say it's quiet. Don't EVER say it's quiet.
    • During a boss fight in that level, the Prince might say, "I told you, never say it's quiet." If you knock the boss off a cliff, he says "Now it's quiet."
  • Randor Lande: Yoshi says the exact words, and later we find out that... no, there's no traps, the villain's second in command simply forgot to set any.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time: According to Captain Qwark, this particular phrase is one to be strictly avoided in tense situations, much like "everything is going to be all right" and other ways of Tempting Fate.
  • In The Sand Man, Sophie is just trying to sleep when she suddenly notices that she can't hear her clock ticking anymore. She soon learns that some mysterious force has made time stand still, and has to figure out some way of fixing it.
  • In Silent Hill, this is one of Harry Mason's first lines after exiting his car after a crash and deciding to explore the town and search for his missing daughter.
  • Star Fox 64: The asteroid belt has Peppy say this just before Fox is ambushed by a swarm of smaller ships. It can possibly be ruined by the fact that the game's lock-on system will mark the first enemy (hidden behind an asteroid) way before the "trap" goes off.
  • Star Trek Online: Invoked in the "The Vault" mission as the player is exploring the inside of the massive space station.
    Elisa Flores: "Quiet in this area — too quiet."
  • Trouble in Terrorist Town: People usually banter over the microphone during the matches, and for the sake of gameplay, dead players and spectators can't be heard over the microphone by the living players (they can also only use team chat while they're dead, and their team is always marked as Spectator, which means communication from the dead to the living in this game can only be done by cheating). If an innocent notices that everything has gone silent, it likely means that they are the last innocent alive and the traitors are sneaking around trying to kill him.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: When exploring a cave network that's home to a powerful, hostile elder vampire, Regis observes that they're getting close when they can no longer hear any rats, bats, or other sounds of life.
    Regis: As I said, he despises guests.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: Enemy Chatter parodies this when one commenter remarks on how visibility is good... almost too good.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • In the mini-series "MIA", Tucker notes that it's become quiet, but refuses to say the trope as he thinks doing so would be lame, "And there might be chicks listening". Church, however, pressures Tucker into saying the whole line.
    • The trope is done more seriously in season 12; to reach Sarge, Donut, Lopez, and Wash, the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew cause a little havoc in the military base. After some exposition is delivered, Simmons realizes that everything has gone quiet; what happened to the alarms?

    Web Original 

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Said by Doc as the team is patrolling the streets of Tortuna. Doc was probably being his usual Deadpan Snarker self with the comment, but quiet streets on a planet that puts 1700's Port Royale to shame usually does mean trouble.
  • Animaniacs: In "Dot's Quiet Time", Dot says this line after she finally finds some peace and quiet atop an isolated mountain.
    Dot: Gee, it's so quiet. Too quiet... terribly quiet... awfully quiet...
    (Dot screams)
    Dot (singing): I thought I wanted quiet, I thought I could apply it, but now that I have tried it, I'm sick and tired of quiet!
  • The Crumpets: In "Amnesia", just before his siblings ambush and chase him for a bath, the reeked King looks at an empty, quiet hallway.
    King: Something's not quite right, I can tell!
  • Donkey Kong Country: In "The Big Chill Out", our first peek at K.Rool's lair shows a flurry of activity and noise. (Normally on the show the hideout is quiet) The next time we see K.Rool's lair, things have mellowed out.
    K.Rool: Klump... do you hear that?
    Klump: Hmm... negative, sir! All's as quiet as a gator in a purse-factory!
    K.Rool: That's precisely what I'm talking about, you lunkhead! Where are the pounding hammers? Squeaking machinery? Moaning Kritters? They're supposed to be busting their tails building my KCC-BM!
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • When Timmy wishes his life was an action movie, he uses this line when he arrives at school via Jet Pack. He is immediately attacked by ninjas.
    • Timmy later uses it when he's deep sea diving. Cosmo responds with "And it's wet... too wet!" while a little fish swims around in his diving helmet.
  • Mighty Mightor: In "The Tiger Men", Tor says "I don't like it. It's too quiet tonight... I sense danger tonight." before the Tiger Men attack.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: In "Stare Master", this is how Fluttershy realizes that the Cutie Mark Crusaders, whom she was babysitting, have snuck out of her house — her house is suddenly quiet and peaceful, but the crusaders haven't shut up all day.
    Fluttershy: Aah, peace and quiet... *ear flicks up, gasp* too quiet!
  • The Octonauts: In "Enemy Anemeones", Kwazii whispers that "It's quiet, too quiet" and that he doesn't like it. Captain Barnacles then asks him that if it's too quiet, Why Are We Whispering?
  • Shelldon: "Alien Encounter" opens with two police officers, one stating that it's quiet, and the other suggesting that it is perhaps too quiet. The first says to enjoy it while it lasts, and indeed, almost immediately after they begin chasing after the "U.F.O." that is the focus of the episode.
  • The Simpsons: Parodied in "Lisa's Rival", in a scene at an apiary after all the bees leave to steal Homer's sugar.
    Beekeeper 1: Well, sure is quiet in here today.
    Beekeeper 2: Yes, a little too quiet... if you know what I mean.
    Beekeeper 1: Hmm... I'm afraid I don't.
    Beekeeper 2: You see, bees usually make... a lot of noise. NO NOISE... suggests no bees.
  • Star Wars Rebels: If an area under Imperial occupation suddenly has a lot fewer Stormtroopers walking around, it very reliably means that they've pulled back in preparation for a massive assault.
  • In Taz-Mania, dropped into the middle of one of Wendall T Wolf's neurotic monologues: "..and then suddenly the jungle gets quiet [insane paranoid Aside Glance] too quiet.."
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003):
    • Leo says it in the Garbageman episode, and Mikey (who spends most of the episode trying to come up with cool lines) lampshades it by wondering how Leo makes it work.
    • Mikey says it himself a few episodes later and immediately adds that he'd always wanted to say it.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Subverted for laughs in "Showdown":
    Kraang: It is quiet. Precisely the correct amount of quiet. *is set up for a (literal) fall*
  • Teen Titans: Used in "Hide n' Seek" by Raven:
    Raven (upon hearing Timmy scream): Teether just took Timmy's blankie... (Teether screams) Timmy just took it back. (Screams cease) And now it's quiet... (stops walking) too quiet. (Runs back to monastery)
  • The Transformers: Used in an episode where Prowl even lampshades it by saying "Yeah, like they say in the movies, too quiet."
  • In The Weekenders when they stay in Lor's house (the house with 13 run-around brothers) after they can't stay in other houses. But they decide to leave instead when it's just too quiet.

    Real Life 
  • This first developed from the fact that natural background noise in the wilderness will disappear when the animals making the noise are alerted to intruders. If you are in the woods, and everything suddenly goes quiet, it is a safe bet that you are not alone. It can be so eerie that some people swear they had a brush with the supernatural after experiencing "The Silence." Scuba divers are also warned to take note if all the fish disappear, as there's a good chance that they're fleeing a predator — a shark, a giant squid, etc.
  • Whenever a city has to be evacuated due to impending disaster, like a hurricane or a flood, it can lead to surreal images of practically deserted downtown streets in the days before the disaster hits.
  • Sudden still, dead calm in a severe weather setting often means you're in the part of a severe storm just before the tornado.
  • The loss of ALL power and telecommunications, even battery-operated, means that an electromagnetic pulse has occurred, either from a solar flare or a nuclear detonation.
  • This is actually a usable rule of thumb in counter-insurgency operations. If a street is filled with people, you're probably safe. If it isn't and it should be, you're probably about to be ambushed.
    • It can also be a subversion where the people have left because they know that the soldiers are coming and that the insurgents will probably follow to try to blow the soldiers (and any civilians around them) up.
    • It also depends on how unscrupulous the insurgents are. Some groups want to avoid civilian casualties. Others see civilians as acceptable losses, and the really nasty ones actually want the population to live in fear and misery.
  • Josef Stalin demanded that no one around him ever walk quietly because he was very paranoid about possible assassination. Five assassination attempts could have something to do with that. Anyone caught without shoes in Stalin's hardwood-floored dacha was to be shot on sight.
  • Many parents of young children consider "too quiet" an urgent signal to find out what the kids are up to.
    • In his stand up special Lock 'n Load, Denis Leary mentioned how much he missed quiet in his house with 7 and 5-year-old kids, and one day when he was reading the paper enjoying a rare dose of quiet, it suddenly hit him that he hadn't seen the kids in a while. Turns out one of them was defacing his truck, and the other was giving the dog a bath. In the toilet.
      • In a similar fashion, many people find it worrying if others they live with are asleep and are absolutely silent. Whilst many find heavy snoring or sleep breathing annoying, it is at least a sign the person is ok. Sleep apnea is particularly bad about this because you can always notice when the person has stopped breathing, which will happen several times during the night.
  • In the early morning of September 11, 2001, one news reporter on The Early Show commented that, with mostly mundane news reports - as opposed to the previous evening, in which ABC featured a rather raunchy headline involving a group of high school students hiring a stripper to visit a party they were holding - that the situation in New York City and beyond was "kinda quiet around the country... too quiet."
  • Many people will always put music or TV on if they are home alone due to the silence being too eerie otherwise.
  • In 2008, the USAF held a major air exercise over Alaska, primarily to test the F-22. Observers of the exercise (220-to-0 kill ratio in the F-22s' favor, in case you were wondering) noted that the conventional "Red Force" had its usual share of radio chatter, but the F-22s had... silence. All the information was data-linked, and the only radio messages were for kills. More than one Air Force officer said that it was rather eerie.
    • Walk out on a USAF flight line on a rare day when no one is working and you'll have to clear your throat to make sure you still have your hearing.
  • Volunteer medics like St. John Ambulance personnel can testify to the injunction to "never use the Q-word" as it will ALWAYS guarantee a lot of work in casualties coming in. Especially if you've just made coffee.
  • Techs will also be unsettled if the shop's gone too quiet. A noisy server room means the fans are working. A quiet one means the fan or the server has gone out — neither of which is good news.
  • A Time magazine article describes the first half of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season as this.
  • Seismologists in Parkfield, California, a town where an earthquake would strike about once every 22 years, were perturbed when no earthquake occurred between the predicted window of 1985 and 1993. The reason why was because earthquakes are releases of energy from the ground, and it was probable that even more energy than normal was building up during the years the ground remained calm and would all spring up at any moment with a particularly destructive quake. This became a Subverted Trope when Parkfield finally received a quake in 2004 at normal strength. Some still worry, however, that this excess energy exists somewhere — it just wasn't used up for that tremor.
  • Anechoic Chambers are designed to negate the reflection of sound. They are so quiet that you can hear your own heartbeat, stomach gurgles, and respiration. The lack of sound is so disorienting that it becomes easy to lose your balance. They've been known to cause hallucinations similar to a sensory deprivation tank if someone stays in for too long (as little as 15 minutes if the lights are turned off), and the longest a person has been recorded sitting in the most effective ones is about 45 minutes before demanding to be let out.
  • During World War II, a Russian nuclear physicist came to the conclusion that the Americans were working on an atom bomb because American science journals were no longer publishing articles on nuclear fission, which he thought meant that their research was getting classified. This led to the Soviet nuclear program, which had been put on hold after the German invasion of 1941, to be relaunched. Actually though, even before the launch of Project Manhattan, the scientist working in the US had already come to a voluntary agreement not to do so in order to prevent German nuclear scientists from making use of it to build a nuclear weapon for Nazi Germany.
  • Germany's greatest defensive tactician of 1943-44, General Gotthard Heinrici, was famed for an almost psychic talent for predicting when a Soviet Combined-Arms Army was about to begin a Breakthrough-Offensive Operation in his sector — which he humbly and somewhat misleadingly attributed to the trope of suspicious silence. In fact, it derived from close observation of previous Soviet bombardment schedules. note 


Alternative Title(s): All Too Easy

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