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A Quiet Place: Day One ★★★



Released: 27 June 2024

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn

Film franchises at times can be strange breeds. Perhaps that is because whenever a beloved film adds a sequel, or a prequel, to its overall story there is a possibility we will feel let down by our own personal expectations. In 2018, John Krasinski’s post-apocalyptic horror A Quiet Place was an impressive hit, and due to it taking critics and audiences by storm enabled a sequel to take place. Thankfully, A Quiet Place II was another great addition. Several years later, Krasinski is back in the writing chair alongside Pig director Michael Sarnoski to create the film’s spin-off A Quiet Place: Day One.

As the title suggests, Day One brings audiences back to the very beginning, to the day the world became silent. Despite this scene playing out in Part II briefly, we are now in the thick of a manic Manhattan, New York – the city that never sleeps. Samira (Lupita Nyong’o) is battling terminal cancer and despite her pain she goes on one last trip with her fellow hospice centre residents, only on the condition that she can go and eat pizza in the city. But sadly, the pizza was never served due to the sightless aliens that have drastically fallen from the sky, slaughtering everything and everyone that makes any slight noise. As society attempts to stay quiet, Samira is comforted by her cat Frodo, who is arguably the star of the show. Despite the horror that is occurring, she refuses to give up her quest to get pizza. It’s during her journey she encounters Eric (Joseph Quinn), a law student from England who is struggling to come to terms with the new world around him.

The inhumane are not at the core of this tale, instead it’s the heart of humanity itself. Its message is clear, we must care for those around us. Its intimate narrative of a woman dying yet choosing her own path through destruction is both heartwarming as it is heartbreaking. Nyong’o helps to ground her character well. As an audience we feel Samira’s anger and sadness. Particularly when she reaches her destination of Harlem’s Pizza joint and it’s no more – there’s always the question with a hint of both exhaustion and utter sadness of ‘what now?’. The highlight of the film is not necessarily the story itself, but the characterisation of its protagonists. For a film not to deem its leads as romantic, just purely a friendship forming due to the unprecedented times of the world potentially ending is kind of rare these days. Most of the time romance sells, but both Samira and Eric’s relationship provides audiences with a sense that despite us all being strangers, we can all bond over something – even if it is horrific.

Sarnoski, who serves as both director and co-writer, chose to tell the story of how it all started relatively in the same way as Krasinski did with Part II but with a longer time frame. This spin-off offers no insight into why the aliens came or really any further information about them. This can sometimes feel like a concern, raising the question of why do we need this film? When really it doesn’t offer us much more than the previous A Quiet Place instalments. We do however have the opportunity through close-up shots to see how alike they are to both Alien Xenamorphs and Stranger Things Demogorgon in their grand demeanour. The entirety of Day One is visually impactful and arguably the most cinematography pleasing instalment within the film series. 

A Quiet Place: Day One is a fast-paced, anxiety inducing ride that keeps an element of heart at its centre. Spin-offs these days can generate a bad name for a franchise, but despite the flaws the film feels like a positive move in creating a promising film series. More Joseph Quinn please, that man is a star!

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