A Quiet Place: Day One Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail 0

A Quiet Place: Day One may seem like an unnecessary prequel. Of course, people made similar assumptions about A Quiet Place Part II, which turned into one of the best recent horror sequels. Day One might not reach the heights of its predecessors, but it presents a familiar setup through a fresh set of eyes. Writer/director Michael Sarnoski takes over for John Krasinski in his first film since Pig. A franchise film is about as far away as Sarnoski could’ve strayed from his indie roots. As different as his two films are, a shadow of loss looms over Pig and A Quiet Place: Day One. Both films also showcase Sarnoski’s gift for visual storytelling, saying more with a facial expression than words or screams can.

Lupita Nyong’o should’ve won Best Actress a few years ago for her spine-chilling performance in Us. She returns to the horror genre with another stellar performance as Sam. A Quiet Place: Day One quickly distinguishes itself by moving from a small town to the heart of New York City. Calling September 11 to mind, a routine day suddenly escalates into one that’ll haunt generations. As aliens fall from the sky, Sam finds herself embroiled in a public panic turned war zone. While Sam doesn’t encounter the Abbott family, she comes across Djimon Hounsou’s character from the second film. Hounsou is again underutilized, although he leaves a powerful impression with a particular scene where survival instinct trumps morality.

Sam and her scene-stealing cat Frodo are on their own until they meet a stranger named Eric (Joseph Quinn). Sam and Eric form a partnership and friendship that never quite materializes into a romance. Part of that might be because survival isn’t part of Sam’s endgame. It’s revealed early on that Sam is living in hospice. While far from cheerful, Sam has made peace with her fate. If the monsters don’t claim her life, cancer will soon enough. Before she goes, all Sam wants is to enjoy a slice from her favorite pizza place, which might carry a deeper meaning. Of course, she has to get there alive first. With Eric by her side, Sam may also learn to live again.

Recommended:  Touch Review

These themes help to set A Quiet Place: Day One apart, as does its New York setting. New York is among the most populated and loudest cities on the planet, making it a natural locale for this franchise. It doesn’t take long for people to realize that the aliens are noise-sensitive. Even with this knowledge, the sound of countless New Yorkers walking through the streets is bound to attract attention. It becomes evident that only a handful will leave alive, especially after the military blows up the bridges. Seeing New York’s vacant streets is also reminiscent of the pandemic, albeit with more debris.

As well acted and crafted as A Quiet Place: Day One is, there is a sense that we’ve seen much of this already. The action set pieces, while intense, don’t offer as many instantly iconic moments. Despite moving to a larger playground, the stakes can feel lower without the Abbotts in the picture. Even so, we are emotionally invested in Sam’s search for closure. Whereas the previous two films were about survival, Day One is more about accepting the inevitable. Even when someone knows where their journey will end, life can catch you off guard. It’s hard to say how much more material can come from this premise. After three films, though, A Quiet Place still packs a mouthful.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail 0
This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , on by .

About Nick Spake

Nick Spake has been working as an entertainment writer for the past ten years, but he's been a lover of film ever since seeing the opening sequence of The Lion King. Movies are more than just escapism to Nick, they're a crucial part of our society that shape who we are. He now serves as the Features Editor at Flickreel and author of its regular column, 'Nick Flicks'.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.