Review: A Quiet Place: Day One

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I'm not a huge horror fan; my tastes in the genre are very specific. If it's an Eldritch Lovecraftian tale, a lush gothic terror, or a pastoral folk horror? Count me in. Mainstream A-list stars and a hot TV actor/indie director making his first genre film using a flashy gimmick with lots of mainstream media buzz? Not interested. Nothing against it, it's just not really my horror film kink.

So when I went sat down in the cinema to watch A Quiet Place: Day One, I hadn't seen either of the prior entries, feeling due to the nature of the film I probably shouldn't. It's a prequel, it should stand on its own, and if there are Easter Eggs then good for those who find them, but they were not for me.

In the movie theatre

Despite a stacked cast, it's largely a two-hander with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o as Samira and Joseph Quinn still hot after his turn on Stranger Things as Eric shouldering the bulk of the story. Thankfully, my wife who I brought to the film (who hates horror and aliens but has never been to a pre-screening of a film and I thought it'd be a fun treat) was satisfied when she found out a cat named Frodo (featured on the obligatory swag) would be a major player in the film (played by two cats named Nico and Schnitzel which as a cohabitant of two cats I can confirm are both solid cat names) and was convinced to stay.

I'm always leery of films featuring gimmicks: a modern big cinema black and white, silent films, or 3D films in the 2020s can ensure that I'm going to be holding the trick up to a microscope. In this case, a film with minimal dialogue where the players are restricted from speaking freely, you better use it in the film consistently and it better be meaningful. And to the film's credit, it was. There was little in the way of non-diegetic music. Used sparingly and at particularly potent moments, it largely stayed true to the central conceit of silence. What minimal dialogue and diegetic music was in the film was often obscured with environmental noises, and the performers in the film carried a massive weight on their shoulders with solid, grounded, and human performances.

Most of all, what made this work were the stakes. This wasn't fighting the aliens or saving the world; this was a person in a dire position choosing how they desired their life to move forward and how they wanted to help those in their life. Like the film conceit, the story was quiet, a personal story that honoured the premise, giving us a film with some genuinely emotional moments.

I highly recommend A Quiet Place: Day One. Even my wife, who constantly teases me for my movies with unicorns and aliens felt "yeah this was really good", which from her is high praise indeed. I left the cinema moved but also knowing my cats would totally get me killed within five minutes of an alien invasion.

Tags: A Quiet Place: Day One, Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Michael Sarnoski, Nico, Schnitzel, Paramount, Paramount Pictures, A Quiet Place

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