A Quiet Place: Day One Review by: Benjamin Garrett

 A Quiet Place: Day One takes us back to the day the death angels invaded earth, wreaking havoc on New York City. This prequel had the opportunity to fill in some blanks left by the first two films, but instead settles for more of what we’ve seen before. 

I was really looking forward to seeing how humans adapted their survival methods and learned about the monsters. Discovering that they are blind, can’t swim, and hunt based solely on sound would’ve given this film a fresh new angle, especially being set in such a busy and loud city. Sadly, after the exciting and chaotic invasion scene, the movie jumps ahead several hours, and everyone already seems to know the rules. The Big Apple makes for a great new setting, but the plot feels like it’s rehashing elements from the two (much better) previous films. 

Where this entry excels, is through Michael Sarnoski’s direction and the sense of humanity he brings to this story. His directorial debut, Pig was a beautiful character study with exceptionally composed moments of empathy and human connection. Although this is first and foremost a thrilling survival flick, he sprinkles some touching, intimate moments throughout. In fact, the best moments of this movie don’t even involve the monsters, but instead just characters sharing a meaningful fleeting moment together. 

Of course, the action provides some great thrills too, even if the franchise formula is getting a little stale at this point. Almost every encounter follows the same 3 point framework - A) Characters trying to sneak around quietly B) Someone makes a noise or knocks something over C) Monsters attack and characters have to escape. However much these moments lack in originality, they still get your heart racing enough to have you on the edge of your seat, or at least leaning slightly forward in it. The sound design is once again a huge highlight this time around. The crunching of broken glass under foot, the roaring thunder that accompanies a rainstorm, and of course the terrifying shrieks of the Death Angels - it all comes through with crystal clarity. 

Considering there isn’t much dialogue, a lot of the pressure falls on to the actors’ ability to convey various emotions. Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn both deliver on this front. The two of them work well together, as Nyong’o plays a stubborn, terminally ill woman who just wants to be left alone, and Quinn an anxiety ridden student from overseas who’s afraid of being on his own. It’s a fun pairing, and their contrasting personalities produce a handful of great moments. The two best performances, though, are without a doubt Schnitzel and Nico, who play Nyong’o’s very loyal feline companion, Frodo. 

Although it misses an opportunity to capitalize on its place in the franchise timeline, A Quiet Place: Day One is an exciting prequel nevertheless. The “gotta be quiet” premise is wearing thin, but this entry still provides sufficient popcorn thrills, and a surprisingly thoughtful touch of humanity. 


Review by: Benjamin Garrett

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