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Movie Review - Paramount's A Quiet Place: Day One

Hear how it all began.

A Quiet Place: Day One is a 2024 science fiction horror film directed by Michael Sarnoski, written by Michael Sarnoski, produced by Platinum Dunes and Sunday Night Productions, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It stars Lupita Nyong'o and Joseph Quinn. This is the third film in the Quiet Place franchise, although the first chronologically. It acts as a prequel to A Quiet Place but was preceded by A Quiet Place Part II.


"Shhhh." - Henri

Plot


A regular day in bustling New York City is turned upside down with the arrival of the Death Angels, creatures who kill anyone who makes even the slightest noise.


The Background


So I have seen the other two Quiet Place films before this. I enjoy both of them and was excited for this one, albeit a bit confused as to what it will be. A Quiet Place is not a movie that lends itself obviously to a prequel/spin-off, so I didn't really know what we were going to get here. So I went in with modest but excited expectations.


The Sweet


The best thing I can say about this film is that it does something different. This movie feels different than the other two Quiet Place movies. The main movies feel like they are building up to the humans being able to defeat the Death Angels and take back their world. This film has none of those epic stakes. It's actually a very personal, touching story about human connection in the midst of the apocalypse. Right off the bat, the film establishes itself as different by showing us Lupita Nyong'o's character and what's really going on with her. I was very glad that the movie was able to feel like a true spin-off of A Quiet Place, where it utilizes the world to tell a very different type of story.


This movie definitely has more heart than I expected. The Quiet Place movies are actually always surprising in the emotion department, and this film is no different. It really has a fair share of heartfelt moments and has this hopeful, optimistic feel to it in spite of the literal end of the world. Joseph Quinn and Lupita Nyong'o have a great dynamic that acts as the true emotional core of the film, so you feel it when they have moments of failure or moments of triumph.


I also really enjoyed the NYC setting. The first two Quiet Place movies take place in these isolated, desolate countrysides where we really just see the Abbotts and a few other characters. This film shows us what happened in New York City the day the Death Angels arrived, and it makes for a very different and almost more terrifying setting. The production design of this recently fallen Big Apple just makes for another really interesting and unique aspect that we haven't seen in the other two films. The "horror movie moves to New York" trope is overdone, but A Quiet Place makes it worth it.


This film also makes the active decision to not connect to the other two movies, and I think that was a good choice. Technically, there is one character who appeared in A Quiet Place Part II in this, but he has a very minor role in both Day One and Part II, so it doesn't really feel like he connects this film to the other two. The way that this film's story plays out, it doesn't make sense to try and force a connection to the main story. This is an isolated experience within the world of A Quiet Place. Nothing more. Nothing less.


I also think our main two performances here are really good. A Quiet Place always demands a lot of its actors, because they have to be extra emotive with so little dialogue but still make it feel natural. Both Lupita Nyong'o and Joseph Quinn do a really good job. Nyong'o's character is much more laid-back while Quinn's is much more anxious and panicky, and they convey both of those feelings through body language and facial expressions, which is just very difficult for actors to do.


The Sour


I am very unsure how I feel about this film as a whole.


The more I've thought about it, the more I like it, but I still think the final product is a bit of a mixed bag. The thing that bugged me the most is the way it plays with the rules of A Quiet Place. The films have always had a bit of trouble distinguishing how much noise needs to be made in order for someone to get killed, but it feels like this film especially really bends that rule for the convenience of the plot. It feels like the characters will make plenty of noise in this, but because they are our main characters and can't die, they won't get killed.


I also think that they really nerf the Death Angels for plot convenience as well. In all three Quiet Place movies, the Death Angels are shown to be incredibly fast and agile, but this movie makes their abilities inconsistent. There are times where they will be really fast, but when our main characters are in danger, it feels like they slow down because they can't kill them. There's a scene that's heavily featured in the trailer where Nyong'o and Quinn go into an abandoned office building and are being chased by Death Angels. A Death Angel crashes through the roof because it hears them, but instead of immediately jumping on them and killing them, it roars, giving them a chance to run. It's that type of stuff that really frustrates me, and it happens a lot in this film.


As much as I do like the two main characters, I do not buy into Joseph Quinn's motivation at all. There is no reason that he should be along on this journey. They give Lupita Nyong'o a clear motivation, but Quinn is just along for the ride, risking his life to accomplish this goal that he has no real personal investment in. I think they needed to do more to give him a clear reason as to why he was participating in this journey, because I just really, really don't buy it.


I also think that this film has the least tension of the Quiet Place movies. The Death Angels probably have the least screentime in this film than either of the other ones, and that just makes it feel less intense and edge-of-your-seat. The main Quiet Place films are non-stop nerve-wracking journeys. This has intense, exciting sequences, but as a whole, it feels relatively light compared to the other two. There are rarely any jump scares and there isn't a true feeling of dread and horror throughout, which is what makes the other two Quiet Place movies.


Final Thoughts and Score


I really like that A Quiet Place: Day One was something entirely different, but I don't think it reaches the thrills and heights of the other two. I had a lot of problems with it, but in the end, it was still good.


I am going Savory here. Age range is 12+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)


"A Quiet Place: Day One"


Fun Factor: 7/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Story: 6/10

Characters: 7.5/10

Quality: 6.5/10


Directed by Michael Sarnoski


Rated PG-13 for moderate bloody violence, frightening themes and images, language, thematic elements


Released on June 28, 2024


1 hour and 40 minutes


Lupita Nyong'o as Sam

Joseph Quinn as Eric

Alex Wolff as Reuben

Djimon Hounsou as Henri

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