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Movie Review: A Quiet Place: Day One

A Quiet Place: Day One. Title Card.


“Dying on your own terms, this is the greatest gift anyone can bestow upon a mortal man.” - Mario Stinger

I guess the best thing we can hope for in the age of remakes, sequels and prequels is that they’re well made. If we have to keep hoping for fresh, original ideas and getting rehashed and redone instead, the least they can do is put effort into making something that is worth keeping our attention invested in whatever franchise they’ve decided to keep pumping. The star of today’s menu is A Quiet Place: Day One. For better or worse, it’s officially here. 

Sam (Lupita Nyong'o) about to wake up to her new nightmare. A Quiet Place: Day One.

I only say this because surprisingly, despite the franchise being in its third chapter, it’s still proving itself to be something worthy of continued exploration. The characters are new, the director is new and the scope is larger than ever before and yet it’s as human and personal as its much smaller sequels that ushered in a new kind of terror from the simplicity of noise. As it turns out New York is pretty damn noisy, who knew huh? With brilliant sound design, the setting of a highly dense metropolis like NY is utilized to great lengths both in the unprecedented moments of pure silence or the extreme moments of blaring horror as a yet unidentified species wreaks havoc upon the city’s inhabitants. 

Henri keeps Sam silent. A Quiet Place: Day One.

Whatever changes or additions they made for this prequel, one thing had to continue from the first two and that is the tension. The first two are so exceptional because of calculated utilization of sound, pacing and editing to find the appropriate moments to hold a moment longer or to pounce and cut it short for a more abrupt, potentially unexpected shock. Taking these tools and accounting for proper timing can create some truly grueling moments of suspense. The first two achieved this in spades and Day One is no different in that regard. Without losing an ounce of what made this a lasting franchise from the very beginning, Day One is as well executed as its predecessors.

Henri and Sam stare in horror at their alien invaders. A Quiet Place: Day One.

Day One is the story of one woman’s journey of both survival and acceptance that no matter what, her time is coming to a close. It becomes less about living for Samira and more about how she wants to meet her end. Will she die running, filled with fear or will she take fate into her own hands? As cancer courses through her body, death at her doorstep, the world decides it’s going to end without warning. Lucky her? Having lived for so long without purpose, she suddenly finds it in the memories she holds for her father. Seeking one last moment of normality, she makes her way to Harlem and along the way picks up a stray. His name is Eric and he’s a long way from home. Reluctantly she allows him to stick with her until she reaches her destination. As they navigate the normally heavily populated city, they encounter numerous obstacles forcing them to defy imminent death as creatures of unknown origin consume everything that defines what it means to be human. 

Joseph Quinn is a perfect companion for Lupita Nyong’o, leaning on her in his worst moments and lifting her up in his best. Together they pull and push and rip at each other to keep moving and to keep alive. As human and engaging as he is, his is a supporting role for Lupita Nyong’o’s Samira who is somehow both strong and devastatingly vulnerable in her strive to stay alive just long enough, to hold on just long enough to hold a single memory one last time. She is enthralling as a fragile framed cancer victim who somehow moves forward despite everything telling her to simply lie down and die. As Samira she is expectedly captivating and expresses a thousand thoughts at once through her gorgeous expressions; whether it’s a look of contempt, pity, anger or fear, she can level anyone with a single stare and in a movie that requires so much silence, she is rapturous. 

Eric reaches for the cat with aliens nearby. A Quiet Place: Day One.

Day One continues the thrilling, breathless pacing that A Quiet Place is famous for and does it on a massive scale. What truly makes Day One remarkable however is that despite its bigger scope, the story is just as human and intimate as parts one and two. It never loses sight of what makes this whole thing tick, and that is the human element. With a heavy amount of spectacle and creative set pieces, Day One smartly stays with its characters the entire journey, never losing sight of what motivates them, what scares them or what gives them hope. It stays with Samira as she tries to find reason beyond the desire to survive. She knows death waits for her so what reason could she possibly have to carry on? She must dig deep, despite being so endlessly tired both physically and mentally, and find her singular focus to navigate through treacherous battle zones once called New York City. At her side is a puppy dog of a man named Eric just trying to push his newfound friend forward and to find his own strength often through her own actions. 

Sam looks to the sky as fireballs fall from the sky. A Quiet Place: Day One.

Director Michael Sarnoski, creator of PIG, directs with intensity and sensitivity at the perfect moments. Whether it’s handheld or gimbal supported or on a track, the camera captures the beauty of horror in its most raw and unforgiving form. It’s terrifying and yet undeniably stunning capturing what New York was and what it ultimately becomes beholden to a new world order. Through stellar sound design and razor sharp editing, Day One is every bit worthy of the title, A Quiet Place. It is a battle of man versus alien without question, but more unexpectedly, it’s a story of humanity at its most intimate and what gives a person purpose in the moments when all seems lost. Say hello to one of the most gloriously intense theater experiences you’ll have all year. 

Eric and Sam stare down an alien. A Quiet Place: Day One.

Rated PG-13 For: terror and violent content/bloody images

Runtime: 100 minutes

After Credits Scene: No

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Horror, Thriller

Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn, Alex Wolff, Djimon Hounsou

Directed By: Michael Sarnoski

Out of 10

Story: 8.5/ Acting: 9/ Directing: 9/ Visuals: 10


Buy to Own: Yes


Check out the trailer below:


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