a quiet place

‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ Review: Tension and Tenderness in Equal Measure

‘Day One’ is a stylish and satisfying prequel!

A Quiet Place: Day One shifts from the rural, tense horror of the first two films to a larger-scale, city-shattering disaster scenario, infusing the series with a new energy. Setting the Quiet Place prequel in New York, one of the world’s loudest cities, adds a unique twist, especially with the film opening by informing us that New York constantly averages noise at 90 decibels which is the equivalent to the sound of a constant scream.

Yet despite New York’s millions of inhabitants, the film focuses on just two characters. This approach cleverly helps the franchise maintain its tender feel while incorporating the thrilling spectacle of a city under siege. These elements combine to significantly ramp up the impact of A Quiet Place: Day One compared to its predecessors, culminating in a dark, intense, yet unexpectedly uplifting depiction of the start of the apocalypse.

A Quiet Place: Day One
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures/Platinum Dunes

Sam, played by Lupita Nyong’o, arrives in New York on a group outing, accompanied by her improbably unflappable cat Frodo. Sam, has been grappling with her own personal struggles long before the apocalypse arrives, and these struggles bring an intriguing depth to her character’s motivations, offering a fresh and unique perspective compared to the typical survival-movie fare.

As she navigates the chaotic city, she encounters Eric, played by Joseph Quinn, a Brit similarly lost in the urban apocalypse. Quinn adds a charming melancholy to his role without getting melodramatic, making the dynamic between the two characters really compelling as Sam and Eric develop a heartfelt friendship amidst their struggle for survival.

A Quiet Place: Day One
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures/Platinum Dunes

This installment takes a different direction with Michael Sarnoski at the helm, co-writing the story alongside John Krasinski. Remarkably, this is only Sarnoski’s second feature, following his debut with Pig. While some may have anticipated more carnage, Sarnoski’s spinoff delivers a surprisingly heartfelt narrative rather than an expected bloodbath.

Krasinski set a high standard with his two previous installments, known for their unrelenting tension and the parents’ (played by Krasinski and Emily Blunt) desperate fight to protect their children. Day One’s urban setting, ramps up the fear of drawing the creatures with even the slightest noise. It’s a solid addition that keeps the terrifying vibe of the earlier movies alive.

A Quiet Place: Day One
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures/Platinum Dunes

Day One offers breathtaking aerial views of aliens swarming through Manhattan. Wide shots capture the city streets abandoned and strewn with the aftermath of carnage—bodies and an eerie sense of desolation. The spider-limbed aliens perch on skyscrapers like nightmarish gargoyles, while military jets streak across the twilight sky, aiming at Manhattan’s bridges in a desperate attempt to contain the invasion. A Quiet Place: Day One paints a stunning picture of an alien apocalypse unfolding in the heart of the city.

But what truly shines here is the exceptional chemistry between Nyong’o and Quinn, portraying two individuals who forge a rare connection amidst dire circumstances. While some viewers may crave more answers about the aliens or expect greater carnage than Day One delivers, this third installment of A Quiet Place remains true to its signature strength: placing human stories at its core.

A Quiet Place: Day One is now playing in cinemas worldwide.

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