‘Quiet Place: Day One’ Offers Hope in Days of Despair

Prequel doesn't expand franchise canvas but Lupita Nyong'o saves the day

The 2018 smash “A Quiet Place” left viewers with endless questions.

Who are these alien creatures that conquered the Earth? How did they crush the collective might of the world’s military defenses? And, most importantly, why did they take over the planet in the first place?

The film’s 2020 sequel offered few answers. The prequel, “A Quiet Place: Day One” delivers even less.

That’s frustrating, full stop. So, too, is how the creatures no longer terrify us like they did the first two times around.

What the prequel has is a powerful story of human connection amidst the chaos. Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o plays the most unlikely heroine in recent memory, and watching her rekindle her humanity is the best part of this solid, if unnecessary prequel.

A Quiet Place: Day One | Final Trailer (2024 Movie) - Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn

Nyong’o stars as Sam, a young woman living in a Big Apple hospice center. She’s sharp-tongued to the core, so when her center’s day trip ends abruptly she can’t hide her disappointment.

She was promised a slice of New York pizza, for crying out loud. We feel her pain.

The disruption proves more than disappointing. It’s a full-scale alien invasion, and Sam is separated from her fellow patients as everyone seeks cover.

The “Quiet Place” sequel teased this scenario – aliens hunting down humans without mercy. Now, we see more of that carnage.

Can Sam live through the initial invasion? Will she go it alone, or will a clingy law student named Eric (Joseph Quinn) accidentally doom her?


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“Pig” director Michael Sarnoski stages a few strong set pieces, but the goal isn’t piling on sci-fi wonders. He has little dialogue to work with beyond another wave of “shhhhhs!” So he focuses on movement, sound and characters making their way in a terrible new world.

Sam, who spends most of the film chasing after her cat Frodo (get it?), is dying with or without the aliens’ help.   She’s no Girlboss warrior. She wouldn’t mind another Fentanyl skin patch to ease her cancer pain.

She’s still more resourceful than Eric.

He’s so stunned by this series of events (can you blame him?) that he seems destined to make enough noise to doom them both. His evolution is slow and realistic. So is how Nyong’o shows Sam as not just a survivor, but a soul seeking a reason to live under any condition.

Great performances are rare in the horror genre. “Day One” boasts not one but two.


Still, the franchise’s future seems uncertain given the events of the prequel. The “keep quiet or else” mantra has a definite expiration date. The creatures are ubiquitous now, meaning they can’t strike fear in our hearts as before.

The power dynamic between aliens and humanity is so one-sided that it threatens the tension inherent in the saga. How many movies can focus on characters running away for 90-plus minutes?

Sarnoski solves this problem by thinking small. Doing so not only creates a credible prequel but a rewarding final act. That’s increasingly rare in the genre.

So are prequels worthy of their source material.

HiT or Miss: “A Quiet Place: Day One” does little to expand the budding franchise. Instead, it focuses on human connections in ways sure to satisfy.

One Comment

  1. So basically a quick cash grab capitalizing on the success of the first one, without anything really new or novel to say.
    In Hollywood, they call this a Tuesday.

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