A Quiet Place: Day One

For an unnecessary prequel that adds nothing new to the franchise, A Quiet Place: Day One isn't half bad
73/100115223
Starring
Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn
Director
Michael Sarnoski
Rating
PG-13
Genre
Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
Release date
June 28, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Story/Plot
Visuals/Cinematography
Performance
Direction
Non-Wokeness
Rating Summary
A Quiet Place: Day One is a competently made film with superior performances and mostly good pacing. However, its scares, while well done, are all variations of the same beats and consequences with only minor environmental differences. When combined with characters that are not especially likable or engaging and a prequel script that fills in no blanks of consequence, A Quiet Place: Day One feels like a placeholder instead of an integral addition to the lore.
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In recent years, the “A Quiet Place” franchise has offered a fresh take on the monster/alien horror genre with its innovative use of silence-fostered tension. Day One attempts to carry the torch by showing audiences how it all began.

A Quiet Place: Day One

An angry and despondent cancer patient, Sam, who is spending her last days in hospice care, and a lonely law student, Eric, come together as the world as we know it ends. The unlikely duo must now navigate the deadly streets of New York City (nearly as deadly as in real life), avoiding unstoppable monsters while searching for a way out.

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A Quiet Place: Day One Review

Prequels are not a new phenomenon. There have been numerous films set before the events of the books and plays upon which they are based, but the first-ever prequel to another film is 1948’s Another Part of the Forest, a prequel to 1941’s Little Foxes. The impetus for such films is understandable both monetarily and artistically. Studios get a built-in audience that makes the film’s commercial viability that much more likely, and fans get answers to burning questions only hinted at in their favorite programs.

Unfortunately, the modern prequel, arguably starting with Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999), has become a cinematic crutch used by creatively bankrupt movie studios looking for a quick and easy buck. Their proliferation, along with unwanted and botched sequels and spin-offs, have ruined beloved franchises and cost companies like Disney billions of dollars.

This brings us to today. Set a little over a year before the events of the John Krasinski/Emily Blunt original, A Quiet Place: Day One may be one of the most unnecessary prequels ever put on film. It adds nothing to the lore of the original two in any meaningful way, as virtually every significant event or discovery happens off-screen. Have you ever wondered how it was discovered that the aliens used sound to locate their prey? Too bad. It happens off-screen. Were you hoping to watch the American military engage in what we know will ultimately be a losing battle against the invaders? Off-screen. Had you hoped to learn of the origins of some of your favorite characters from the original two movies? You guessed it – off-screen.

Instead, A Quiet Place: Day One introduces fans to two original characters: Sam, a cancer patient at the end of her life whose sole motivation is to experience a single moment of reconnection to her past before she dies, and Eric, an English law student who is alone and afraid. The result is a familiar film with less compelling characters than the original and a story that is thereby harder to bond with emotionally.

Nothing is made any easier by the choice of lead characters. The originals benefitted from the family dynamic that was central to the plot. Audiences needed little dialogue and less setup to identify with and be invested in the stakes immediately. Conversely, in Day One, Sam is an understandably angry and jaded woman who spends the entirety of her introduction being aggressively offputting. While friendly and helpful, Eric isn’t heroic or particularly skilled, and his panic attacks that happen at just the wrong time are offputting, even if they are understandable.

The film does a commendable job of finding moments to help the audience bond with the two, but it’s too little, and the moments often feel too contrived to elevate the film from popcorn flick to genre-defining. What it did get right was its choice of performers. Both Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn are excellent. They manage to give far more nuanced performances than the script calls for, and it is the two of them, as well as Michael Sarnoski’s generally good pacing and excellent sense of continuity, that pulls this film together.

A Quiet Place: Day One might not be worthy of an official recommendation as Worth it, but it’s certainly not boring, at least not often, and offers sufficient thrills to justify purchasing an IMAX ticket and some popcorn.

 

WOKE ELEMENTS

Putting the Male In Damsel
  • Eric’s character (a white male) is neither a coward nor incapable. His fear is proportional and understandable, but there are two moments when he begins to panic and needs Sam to be the rock that rescues him from his fear.
    • Conversely, Sam (a black female) is never out of control. That said, her particular circumstance lends itself to a nihilistic acceptance of her fate, making her behavior and general demeanor throughout the ensuing horrors more understandable.

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James Carrick

James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.

11 comments

  • Aloysius T. McKeever

    June 28, 2024 at 7:01 pm

    I loved the first two films..

    I found this one to be boring.

    Good cinematography.
    Good sound design.
    Good performance by the films lead as she’s great at emoting.
    Choosing the pet to be a cat was a great choice (silent assassins ) . A dog would have gotten everyone killed in a second.

    But the movie meanders on. The tension doesn’t land at any point . The friendship element of the story is ok but very on the nose and predictable. I simply didn’t buy it. Also the guy was an emotional mess and clearly had massive anxiety issues . Pay off was blah . The whole movie was just simply boring.

    Also so dour!

    Reply

  • Patrick

    June 29, 2024 at 6:50 am

    I walked in the movie theatre. Sat down. Ate some popcorn and watched some of the movie. About 10 minutes towards the end I Was awaken by my wife’s sniffles. I then sat through the ending, stood up as the credits rolled and left the movie theatre. And Other than reading this review I would’ve most likely forgotten I had even watched this movie. Which felt more like a community college writing assignment than it did an addition to a major motion picture franchise. Just another boring saga in this era of film making I like to call the dark ages of cinema. Nothing good will come out of the years 2020 to present. Other than Oppenheimer (which would’ve failed in 2015) there will be nothing rewatched or referred. Just an endless loop of sequels, prequels, and reboots. Forced diversity is the name of the game and I picture the writing teams of these films consisting of the same spectrum of skin color and gender as the Burger King Kids club . Movies teetering between bait and switch woke and downright booooring.

    11

    Reply

    • F*&k Atheism

      July 5, 2024 at 4:54 pm

      Forced wokeness is the name of the game you mean. That and the values wokeness represents such as hatred, intolerance, being pro degeneracy and anti Christian.

      Reply

  • Aloysius T. McKeever

    June 29, 2024 at 1:41 pm

    James

    May want to specify on your new audience woke meter . I assume it’s scored like yours where zero is all the way woke and 100 is all the way based but it’s not clear.

    Great addition to this site !(This site is easily one of my favorites )

    Reply

  • Cameron

    July 1, 2024 at 9:52 am

    I was a big fan of the original but found the sequel underwhelming. It felt like a pilot episode for a television spinoff series. Day One feels much the same.

    As a standalone experience, Day One starts strong. I was compelled by Sam and Frodo’s journey early on, however, my interest waned as it continued. Eric’s introduction proves more distracting than interesting. And overall, for a movie titled “Day One,” you’d expect more about the creatures, their attack, and our global response to it than what we’re given.

    Instead of Eric, I think Sam should have been outfitted with a radio dropped by one of the killed responders allowing her to communicate with, or listen to, military personnel. This would have provided more exposition about these details and created ways to build additional suspense, dread, hope, etc.

    Reply

  • Jevgeni

    July 1, 2024 at 3:14 pm

    There are two more horror movies in cinemas at the moment – Wake Up and Double Blind. Has anyone seen any of these? Are they worth watching, James?

    Reply

    • Jevgeni

      July 2, 2024 at 3:45 pm

      I just watched Wake Up. Good movie, no wokeness to speak of except the diversity casting. I liked how there was no clear-cut bad guys. There was a group of radical environmental activists who vandalize a store and become the prey of a killer, and then we have a regular guy who gets pushed over the edge by witnessing the death of his brother and becomes a killer. Basically, it’s a film about mental health and trauma. And a bit of consumer culture satire. Recommended!

      Reply

  • b

    July 3, 2024 at 7:56 pm

    Sure is a different summer compared to last summer with all these movies getting based ratings. Hopefully this is the new norm and the woke plague is over.

    Reply

  • Ktuff_morning

    July 11, 2024 at 8:30 am

    Is the black woman god? Does she assert dominance over the white male? There’s no way she isn’t. You seem to suggest it but your language is soft. You’re not becoming woke are you? I guess I’ll never know because no way am I sitting through that bilge.

    Reply

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