A Quiet Place: Day One Is A Surprisingly Decent Prequel Full Of Heart

Joseph Quinn as “Eric” and Lupita Nyong’o as “Samira” in A Quiet Place: Day One from Paramount Pictures.
Joseph Quinn as “Eric” and Lupita Nyong’o as “Samira” in A Quiet Place: Day One from Paramount Pictures. /

Films with minimal dialogue can be a hard sell. They face the extra challenge of presenting engaging storylines without the use of words to aid in conveying the emotions of each character.

The A Quiet Place franchise has always excelled in this regard, with each installment creating a compelling narrative through the cast's impressive physicality. The stakes are also high, keeping the audience invested in the characters, who find themselves existing among terrifying killer aliens. After all, these species arrived without warning and are taking over the world.

In A Quiet Place: Day One, viewers are transported back to where it all began, on what starts off as a seemingly normal day in New York City. Sam (Lupita Nyong'o), who is terminally ill with cancer, finds herself visiting The Big Apple—with her therapy cat Frodo in tow—after hospice nurse Reuben (Alex Wolff) takes some of the patients to the city to see a show. However, all hell breaks loose after they leave the venue and find that aliens have suddenly emerged. These extraterrestrials are starting to take over the city, killing anyone who makes even the slightest noise.

Even with the knowledge of how these creatures act from the two previous films, A Quiet Place: Day One still manages to launch viewers into an anxiety-inducing rollercoaster ride full of tension and uncertainty. From the moment these aliens arrive in the city, unpredictable chaos ensues. The film produces some notable action sequences among an impressive New York City backdrop and impeccable sound design that heightens the scares and the overall viewing experience. At any given moment, the audience is unaware of the whereabouts of these extraterrestrials, which only adds to the suspense.

The feature also impresses with the story’s emotional depth and the sentimental message that resides at the film’s core. Though Sam and Eric (Joseph Quinn) are introduced amidst disaster, their meeting feels like fate, with both leaving a last impression on one another. Their unforeseen introduction showcases the importance of good deeds, empathy, and kindness, while A Quiet Place: Day One also reflects how much we value cherished memories of loved ones and how we would do anything to experience those moments once again.

What elevates A Quiet Place: Day One the most is Nyong’o’s emotionally driven performance, which draws you in from the moment the audience is introduced to her character. Even in the absence of dialogue, we know exactly what Sam is thinking and feeling, which is a testament to Nyong’o’s outstanding acting abilities. Sam is resilient, strong-willed, and comforting to Eric, which makes viewers root for her character even more. Though she has been to hell and back and reflects a harsh exterior, underneath it all, she is sympathetic and understanding. Quinn and Nyong’o make for a good pairing, and their characters contrasting personalities and different approaches to an apocalyptic world add depth to the story and keep the narrative interesting.

Though that’s not to say this prequel is without flaws, A Quiet Place: Day One’s biggest downfall is that it doesn’t expand on the aliens’ origins or offer any new perspectives or details to the story, so be prepared to leave the viewing experience with no additional information regarding the creatures lore. The film’s characters also know almost instantly that keeping quiet will prevent the extraterrestrials from targeting them. Though this detail is necessary to move the story along, it doesn’t quite work in the narrative given that this feature showcases the first day of the alien invasion. The characters know nothing about the extraterrestrials behaviors, so having them learn this information so quickly feels a bit unrealistic and distracts from the story.

Though A Quiet Place: Day One is equipped with a few plot defects, Michael Sarnoski’s sci-fi horror film more than makes up for it with intense action scenes, deeply moving performances, and a poignant message that emphasizes the significance of human connection.

Oh, and brace yourself for the film’s last scene. It’s tragically poetic and one that you will think about for the rest of the year!

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