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MOVIE REVIEW: Highlighting the Need to Scream: a review of ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’

‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ carves a space for itself to be a lovely story about one woman’s determination to taking charge of her life in a time of doom. It’s inspiring. It’s hopeful. It’s realistic. It’s a good time in the cinema.

I really felt that ‘A Quiet Place’ was a complete movie all on its own so when the sequel came out, I was very resistant to it. When I saw it, it was enjoyable but it’s been four years since its release and I barely remember anything about it. I still remember how ‘A Quiet Place’ made me feel, though, and quite a number of sequences from that movie. So, when I saw the trailer for ‘A Quiet Place: Day One,’ I wasn’t sure how to feel. Casting Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn and Alex Wolff definitely help but how does a prequel to the movie really help the lore? What new thing can they say about these aliens and this invasion that the first film didn’t tackle so beautifully already? I was very resistant to this movie.

To my utter surprise, the film directed and written by Michael Sarnoski (on a story by Sarnoski and John Krasinksi) finds completely new ground and takes the setting into a completely different direction. Set in the same universe as ‘A Quiet Place,’ the film happens at the time of when the hearing-dependent aliens arrive on Earth, with the film’s focus on what it calls “one of the noisiest cities in the world,” which is New York City.

Lupita Nyong’o as “Samira” in A Quiet Place: Day One from Paramount Pictures.

In this movie, we follow Lupita Nyong’o, who plays a cancer patient Sam, who is staying at a hospice. She has a service cat (named Frodo) and she is generally very bitter about life and her condition. She’s constantly lashing out, even at her nurse (Alex Wolff). On a trip to the city with other patients at the hospice, Sam finds herself in the middle of an alien invasion. As the world meets the horrors of this vicious, brutal alien species, the terminally ill Sam decides a different path than that of safety.

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

Surprisingly, ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ ends up becoming a character study. What is a terminally ill person supposed to feel or strive for in an apocalyptic setting? Her outlook in life is already poor, and things just got worse. Nyong’o imbues Sam with a strong determination despite her calm and clear mind about her present reality. It makes her character so compelling, considering she’s not the nicest person in the world. Sam is in so much pain that she struggles even to walk without her medication. Her outlook is dim but now she’s being forced to keep quiet or else she’ll meet a violent end at the gaping maw of the alien species.

Alex Wolff as “Reuben” and Lupita Nyong’o as “Samira” in A Quiet Place: Day One from Paramount Pictures.

It’s from her perspective and that of Eric (Joseph Quinn), a man with anxiety, who follows her because of his attachment to Frodo. Together, they navigate the ruined city streets of New York – find their way underground and in empty buildings in an effort for Sam to reconnect with the things she’s lost because of her condition. Throughout this odyssey, the film highlights our own need for release, for catharsis. It is so wonderful dramatized in one scene that involves the rain. The ways by which Nyong’o and Quinn manage that scene completely removed all my hesitation for this prequel. Somehow, ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ managed to contextualize the noise and the silence and our very own need for catharsis and release.

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Djimon Hounsou as “Henri”, Lupita Nyong’o as “Samira” and Alex Wolff as “Reuben” in A Quiet Place: Day One from Paramount Pictures.

While the film has its beautiful, tender moments and a wonderful existential exploration of one’s mortality, the movie isn’t without its thrills and spills. There’s a lot of destruction here as the aliens rampage through the city and ravage most of the people onscreen. Part of the film’s DNA are the scenes when the scene goes completely silent and there’s only live sound of what is happening onscreen and the whole cinema just slips into silent attention. Our breaths are all held hoping that our silence will help the characters on screen. Tension is created as we see potential objects that can cause noise appear in sight. It’s a magical back and forth created by the film for the audience and it’s lovely.

Lupita Nyong’o as “Samira” in A Quiet Place: Day One from Paramount Pictures.

The film has one unnecessary jump scare, though, but other than that, everything else works marvelously for the narrative.While the film isn’t particularly profound, it is surprisingly touching and heart-warming. ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ carves a space for itself to be a lovely story about one woman’s determination to taking charge of her life in a time of doom. It’s inspiring. It’s hopeful. It’s realistic. It’s a good time in the cinema.

My Rating:



A Quiet Place: Day One is now showing! Check showtimes and buy tickets here.

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Movie Info

A Quiet Place: Day One
Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
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