‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ Movie Review: A Heartfelt Alien Thriller

A Quiet Place: Day One Movie Review

Going into the Wednesday night press preview of A Quiet Place: Day One, I initially had my reservations. Historically, mid-week previews aren’t usually a sign of high-quality cinema. However, this prequel to the beloved franchise managed to break that mold, leaving me pleasantly surprised. The film, driven by stellar performances from Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn, offers a fresh take on the alien invasion narrative, although it does fall short in expanding the lore of the creatures we’ve come to fear.

The film follows Sam (Lupita Nyong’o), a terminally ill cancer patient, who resides at a hospice with her loyal service cat, Frodo. Convinced by Reuben, a compassionate care worker, she reluctantly joins a group outing to Manhattan with the promise of getting pizza. The excursion takes a dark turn when meteor-like objects crash into the city, unleashing hostile aliens we’ve seen in the franchise’s previous films. 

Check out the trailer below.

A Quiet Place: Day One Movie Trailer

A Quiet Place: Day One Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

The strength of A Quiet Place: Day One lies in its performances. Nyong’o as Sam and Joseph Quinn as Eric, an English law student, deliver memorable and heartfelt portrayals that anchor the film. Their chemistry and individual character arcs bring considerable depth to the story, making it more than just another alien invasion flick.

However, I was hoping for more insight into the alien lore. There is one scene that introduces a new element about the creatures, but it doesn’t contribute in any meaningful way to the overall storyline. Additionally, the cat, Frodo, deserves special mention—its rare to see a feline have such a compelling onscreen presence.

The Script

What makes A Quiet Place: Day One so engaging is its focus on the human spirit and the quest for meaning even in the face of impending doom. The script, co-written by Scott Beck, John Krasinski, and Jeff Nichols, shifts away from the purely survivalist tones of the previous films in the franchise and delves into a more personal narrative.

The story is not just about escaping terrifying extraterrestrial creatures; it’s about a terminally ill woman, Sam, seeking fulfillment in her final days. The film’s script deftly combines moments of intense alien-induced peril with quieter, more introspective scenes that explores Sam’s inner turmoil and her evolving bond with Eric, a fellow survivor. The beauty lies in how these characters navigate their fears and hopes, adding layers of complexity to their journey.

The decision to set much of the action in Manhattan, a bustling city that quickly turns into a dystopian nightmare, amplifies this feeling of urgency and chaos. But, more than the external chaos, it’s Sam’s internal struggle and unyielding desire to experience one last piece of normalcy—a slice of pizza from her childhood—that makes the plot truly moving.

Eric’s character, on the other hand, introduces a dimension of vulnerability and raw human emotion. Their interactions, dialogue, and shared journey create moments of genuine connection that ground the fantastical elements of the story in real, relatable human experiences. 

A Quiet Place: Day One
Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Performances

Both Nyong’o and Quinn give standout performances here. Nyong’o’s portrayal of Sam combines weary cynicism with a newfound zest for life, making her journey deeply moving and her character easy to connect with.

Quinn, as Eric, offers a tender vulnerability that’s rare in male leads of action films. His character’s fear and sensitivity provide a refreshing contrast to the chaos around them. And their dynamic is further enriched by Frodo, whose expressive presence adds an unexpected layer of emotional depth to the film. (I’m not a cat person, but I would adopt this cat in a heartbeat)

A Quiet Place: Day One Movie Review

Overall Thoughts

A Quiet Place: Day One surpasses expectations by focusing on its characters rather than relying solely on alien-driven horror. It marks a shift from the family-centric dramas of its predecessors to a personal tale of redemption and connection.

While it doesn’t elevate the franchise’s lore in any significant way, the film’s character-driven story, coupled with strong performances, makes it a solid watch. The unique setting of a pre-alien invasion New York City provides a fresh backdrop, even if the film doesn’t fully exploit this potential. 

A Quiet Place: Day One Movie Review

Grade: B+


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