A Quiet Place Day One Review

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Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

The “Quiet Place” franchise returns with a story taking place on the first day of the alien invasion. We follow a different set of characters this time. The lead of this story is Sam, a terminally ill patient with little time to live. She attends a show in the city, only to find that New York has been invaded by creatures with ultra sensitive hearing. Sam meets Eric, a lonely law student who is trying to find his way during this crazy time. The two work together to try and survive the apocalypse, learning more about themselves along the way. 

Positives:

What excited me about the idea of a “Quiet Place” prequel was to see how everything went down. The previous films establish a world in which humans have been ravaged by these terrifying monsters. “Day One” gives us a glimpse into the day that started it all. I also liked how we saw the downfall in a large city, where swaths of people are panicking at the destruction happening around them. The sheer scale of the events happening are certain to cause tension with audiences viewing the film. This is a nice contrast to the sparsely populated world of the first two, trading a rural countryside for a dense urban area. This new setting opens up a fresh story for these characters. 

The new characters also add a fresh dynamic to explore. Instead of a family fighting for survival, we see a random pair of individuals who have to adapt and figure things out together. Their differences make for an interesting character study that was unexpected. My impression based on the trailers was a grand scale apocalyptic thriller. While I wish the film had more of those elements, I still enjoyed the story being told. Seeing two completely different characters find solace in the tragedy around them made for strong characters to root for. Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn provide nice performances to showcase these characters. They are forced to go through some very tense interactions with the creatures too. Being that there were a larger number of monsters in this story, we are privy to some big chase scenes and thrilling white knuckle moments. I especially enjoyed seeing the creatures climbing buildings at a rapid speed in their large numbers. They remained scary and maintained the mystique from the previous films. 

Negatives:

As much as I enjoyed the intimate character study in the film, I missed the large scale apocalyptic thriller that was promised in the trailers. Not to say we didn’t get glimpses of that in the film, but it ended up being quite different than the marketing campaign had indicated. The trailers teased answers to how the world had to adapt to survive to these creatures. Answers are the one thing I wanted from the film…but we get nothing new. I wanted to see where they came from, how people learned about the monsters, why the monsters attack people, etc. Like the other movies, “Day One” gives us little context to these questions and instead focuses on the situation at hand. I feel that a prequel’s job is to provide more context to an already established franchise. But instead we get an indie style character study that answers none of these questions. Again, the story itself wasn’t bad, but it’s not the story that was marketed and not the story I was hoping to see in a prequel. 

There were also some logic gaps and strange story directions that were hard to overlook. I’ve always thought the “Quiet Place” movies have struggled with this. The trend continues with a prominent cat, a character dynamic that didn’t always add up, and a side story about chasing pizza. Yes, that may sound confusing without any context but I will let viewers see for themselves. As cute as the cat was, I found it to be overused. It constantly survived when it shouldn’t have and was the source of some problems for the characters. Then again, it did help at times too. The journey for pizza also seemed jarring to the events happening around our characters. As much as Sam’s journey was temporary, Eric’s was not. I found their dynamic sweet sweet but I didn’t think their end goals matched enough to warrant a journey together. And why he’d join on such a ridiculous quest for pizza seemed ridiculous to me. There were also some sequences where the monsters were chasing our characters, clearly outnumbering them and having greater speed. But plot armor seemed to protect our character from outcomes that would normally kill them. This logic gap wasn’t as bad in the previous films because the family had resources to fight back and less monsters to deal with. 

Conclusion:

“Day One” is a solid prequel that gives us a fresh environment and more monster mayhem to enjoy. There is a strong character dynamic between the leads, offering a perspective on humanity that is welcomed during a time of crisis. But the lack of apocalyptic monster action was a bummer, especially since the marketing campaign focused on this. I also thought certain logic gaps and story directions didn’t push the story forward in a meaningful way. Maybe one day we will get a story that finally elaborates on the monsters. But for now, a small scale character study in a world ending situation will do the trick.