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A Quiet Place: Day One

A Quiet Place: Day One




Rated PG-13 - for terror and violent content/bloody images.
Director: Michael Sarnoski
Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou, Alex Wolff
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: June 28, 2024

READER RATING:   


Plot Summary

A woman named Samira finds herself trapped in New York City during the early stages of an invasion by alien creatures with ultra-sensitive hearing. (from IMDB)


Film Review

In 2018, when The Office star John Krasinski directed and co-starred in a PG-13 horror/monster movie called A Quiet Place, I'm sure few people immediately thought "franchise." The story revolved intimately around a family of four who were living on a farm out in the middle of nowhere, trying to survive a world where aliens who hunted entirely by sound now dominated the Earth. Krasinski expertly built tension and interest around these menacing, creepy creatures, and the talented central cast made the movie all that more impactful. The film ended in a way where a sequel could easily be made, and with that, after the worldwide drama that was COVID, the delayed A Quiet Place: Part II hit theaters in 2021. Krasinski - and Paramount Pictures - had another hit on their hands, and it wasn't long before a third entry would be announced.

A Quiet Place: Day One
"Day One" in the world of A Quiet Place was teased in the prologue for A Quiet Place: Part II. In that sequence, we got to see Krasinski's character and his family living a normal day when suddenly the aliens rained down from the sky. It was a harrowing and exciting sequence, so the idea of getting an entire movie centered around this idea is certainly intriguing. However, A Quiet Place: Day One actually doesn't involve any of the main characters from the first two films. The story introduces us to two new leads who happen to be in a bustling New York City when the monsters arrive. The single returning character, however, is Djimon Hounsou's Henri, a character that Cillian Murphy's and Millicent Simmonds' characters meet in A Quiet Place: Part II. It makes sense to tell a version of the story with a recognizable character involved, and it's fun to start speculating just how Henri gets to be where the others find him in the 2021 sequel.

While the first two films split their focus on the four members of the main family, A Quiet Place: Day One centers entirely around Samira, played by Lupita Nyong'o. When we first meet Samira, she's in hospice, pretty much waiting to die from cancer. It's a bleak way to start the story, but the intensity and humanity of Lupita's performance really pulls the viewer in. It's pretty common knowledge that the story's other main character is played by beloved Stranger Things 4 breakout actor Joseph Quinn, but we actually don't meet his character until Samira meets him about halfway through the movie. The only other important main character is actually a cat named Frodo. Frodo is a therapeutic companion to Samira (I just realized Sam is short for Samira, so here we have Frodo and Sam together again!), and ends up being the reason why Samira meets Quinn's character, Eric. It's an interesting, albeit unusual, way to tell the story, but it's done pretty well, and it works. The story actually stays with the bleak feel for most of its short runtime (although there are blossoms of hope - especially near the end - that really elevate the movie overall).

A Quiet Place: Day One
The first two films, as I touched on before, keep things pretty intimate with the story focusing mostly on one family who live isolated in the countryside, so it's a huge shift to take the story to somewhere as populated and bustling as New York City. Director Michael Sarnoski goes the extra mile to keep the impact of the invasion shown through Samira's eyes. Where your typical disaster flick from Roland Emmerich (like 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow) would split the focus between multiple characters of various origins or countries, and then show the disaster on a global scale, A Quiet Place: Day One really keeps the impact at ground level and from one person's viewpoint. This keeps the story feeling grounded and personal. This also makes the horror feel more gritty and tangible. Many of Sarnoski's camera angles are eye-level or zoomed-in, which creates a tension where you don't necessarily know what all is around you at a given point. Not to mention, Lupita is just plain fantastic in the role, and she really adds a great deal of intensity to the story. Joseph Quinn is also excellent, playing a vulnerable character, in a different way, and it's cool to see the pair complement each other throughout their journey.

There are plenty of scares to be found in Day One. While I know that any given PG-13 "horror" movie is often considered mild compared to most movies in the genre, Day One continues in the same style of monster-driven menace as the first two films. Still, it's most certainly on a larger scale this time, as we see far more of the creatures attacking masses of people and in various locations around the city. Never does it start feeling like "ugh, this again?", though, as the new setting for the story creates a different feel almost altogether. (I love how we really only learn about things as the main characters do, as opposed to a story where we're constantly jumping around between someplace like The White House and another place on the globe as people react to what's happening. This is Samira and Eric's story, and I appreciate that narrow approach). While watching the movie, I kept getting flashbacks of films like Cloverfield and I Am Legend, which may give you a little of an idea of what to expect in this movie.

A Quiet Place: Day One
If you ever felt like, while watching either previous A Quiet Place story, that there wasn't enough of the monsters in them, Day One should scratch that itch. While something can be said for the less is more approach - like with the first film, and monster classics like Jaws and Jurassic Park - Sarnoski and company did a pretty good job trying to find a balance between showing too much and just enough. The same can be said for the violence and bloody imagery. Nothing is focused on for very long, but there are a couple instances where we see fleeting glimpses of dead people with bloody wounds inflicted by the monsters. There are even a couple moments where the camera seems to pull away prematurely to leave the full gruesome details up to the imagination of the viewer. And I'd always argue that that may be the more effective way of presenting such monster-attack aftermath.

One of my favorite things about the first Quiet Place was that there was literally no profanity at all in it. Part II ended up having a little bit, especially since it opened on "Day One," so I was curious how far it might be taken with this film. The first scene shows Samira in a therapy session where she reads aloud a poem she just wrote. It turns out to be a gloomy expression of how she's feeling while battling her illness, and she ends up using the "S" word seven times in a short amount of time. A little bit later, the therapy group leader uses the "S" word once, and that is pretty much it for the entire movie. The few uses especially feel unnecessary, but I'm grateful it was limited to just that. Otherwise, the violence and scary imagery are the only other concerns. There are a few jump scares, the biggest of which being during a surreal dream Samira has where a monster jumps out at the screen (It made my wife scream, much to the amusement of myself and others around me). There is quite a bit of blood seen splattered on walls and floors, and some bloody corpses seen lying on the ground after the attack. There isn't really anything gruesome that's focused on for too long, but it's still a pretty intense movie. One of the most disturbing scenes of violence actually doesn't involve a monster at all. As a man is panicking and making noise, another man covers his mouth and tries to convince him to calm down. He doesn't, and the man trying to silence the guy accidentally kills him by hitting his head against the wall. We then see the dead man's face frozen with his eyes open and a distorted look on his face.

So while 2018's A Quiet Place didn't really need a full-on franchise (and I just learned that a video game based on this "universe" is coming out soon), if they continue to build onto the story with movies of this quality, I'd be happy to get more Quiet Place chapters told in theatrical form. Solid acting, tense action, and just the right amount of terror makes A Quiet Place: Day One a worthy threequel.

- John DiBiase (reviewed: 7/2/24)

 

 

Parental Guide: Content Summary


. Sex/Nudity: None.
. Vulgarity/Language: 8 "S" words.
. Alcohol/Drugs: Two characters have drinks in a bar.
. Blood/Gore: As a couple characters hide from one of the aliens, we see a close-up of the alien's feet as it walks slowly. Behind the feet is a dead man with a bloody face; A woman appears to have a bloody wound on her arm, but the dim lighting obscures it; We briefly see another dead man on the ground with blood on his face; We see a man with some small bloody scratches on his face; A woman is slowly walking in the rain, covering her mouth, and she appears to have a little blood on her hands and face; We see a rat eating blood on the floor; We see walls splattered with blood; We see broken glass windows with blood on it; We see a couple abandoned cars with blood inside, on the windows, on the seats; Many times we see blood on the ground/floors.
. Violence: Lots of creature-related violence; We see lots of dead bodies lying on the ground after the alien attack; A man starts panicking about the mayhem in the city, while another man tries to keep him quiet. He covers his mouth as the man struggles. He then slams his head against the wall, killing him accidentally. We see the victim dead with their eyes open in a creepy way; A man has several anxiety/panic attacks during the film; As a woman hides under a car, a man reaches underneath and grabs her leg. He screams for her to help him and then he gets pulled away by an unseen monster. The car then partially collapses, trapping the woman's foot under the car. She yanks it out and sprains her ankle; Outside, a man tries to silence a noisy generator. He then gets his shirt caught on something and it rips. An alien then suddenly pounces on him, taking him away; The street is filled with a crowd of people moving together to try to evade the aliens. Due to the noise made, the aliens begin attacking these people by the dozens; People are pulled/dragged away suddenly and we don't see them again; Helicopters fly over head and we see some explosions. We see devastation throughout NYC, with cars on fire, overturned vehicles, smashed buildings, and at one point, a helicopter wedged in the side of a building; A couple characters are chased inside a flooded tunnel and frantically try to get away under the water. One of the monsters grabs at a victim's foot but they get away. The monster then drowns; A person is chased by monsters as they flee towards the end of a dock; A person stands alone in a quiet street. They then make a sudden sound, knowing it'll cause the aliens to get them; and other monster-related violence.

 

Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.

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