A Quiet Place: Day One | Review by: Gal Balaban

Though A Quiet Place worked best due to its minimal cast and remote settings, this prequel works strongly by embracing the chaos of a Manhattan monster invasion, and the desolation left behind, with that large scale terror that made Cloverfield such a cultural stamp. Michael Sarnoski, who directed the excellent Nicolas Cage drama Pig, effortlessly manages to replicate the beautiful tension and almost melodic sound design that John Krasinski distinguished this franchise with in the first two films. Though this film isn’t as heart-racing and emotionally fine-tuned, it’s still got a fantastic protagonist and captivating thrills. Though it’s very well-filmed when focusing tightly on its lead characters, there are a few unnecessary cuts to wide shots that do harm that tension, even if just for a moment. If any actress can command an audience and emote in a way as brilliantly as Emily Blunt — well, that would clearly be Lupita Nyong’o. It’s impossible to look away when she’s on the screen, as her character expresses instability yet empathy that carries the viewer with her from the film’s very first shot to its last. Joseph Quinn also shines, delivering an inconsolable fear to his character that’s also aligned with his courage and generosity.

The film’s real experience comes from use of sound — the amplification and implications of certain sounds compared to others in the mix takes you on a ride of sorts and keeps you on the very edge of your seat. It cleverly paces itself and uses its wider settings, but never sacrifices the mystery that made this franchise great: that all of civilization and hope might just be lost to these deadly creatures beyond what we see. It’s different enough from its predecessors to justify its existence as a spin-off prequel, and conceptually similar enough to continue playing with the idea of sound-hunting monsters and near-silent human leads in exciting and satisfying ways.


Review by: Gal Balaban 

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