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Home > ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ (2024): A Review

‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ (2024): A Review

‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ approaches the franchise from a different angle to create a unique experience.

Stay Quiet, Stay Alive

After two films occurring a year into the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the Quiet Place franchise, A Quiet Place: Day One takes viewers back to when the invasion started. Shifting away from life in rual America to the disorderly nature of New York City, Day One provides audiences a different view on the alien invasion.

The First Day

A Quiet Place: Day One is written and directed by Michael Sarnoski, based on a story by John Krasinski. The film follows survivors Sam (Lupita Nyong’o) and Eric (Joseph Quinn) as they try to safely and quietly find a way out of New York City after the aliens arrive. When A Quiet Place was released in 2018, there was an instant hook with the concept of survivors having to stay quiet in a world where aliens kill upon the slightest sound made. Horror movies thrive on creating interesting yet horrifying scenarios where audiences debate how they would try to survive in the film. Yet, A Quiet Place went beyond being simply a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller and left audiences with a compelling family for whom to root. The themes the film explored, such as guilt, forgiveness, and family values, became a surprising element for what was thought to be a simple creature feature. This emotional draw became the most notable aspect of the first two A Quiet Place movies, which carried over into the new film as well. 

Known for directing the 2021 film Pig starring Nicolas Cage, Michael Sarnoski brings his delicate and artistic directing style into A Quiet Place: Day One. While the movie can be chaotic at times when it depicts the alien attacks, it also pauses often to reflect on the characters and the new state of the world. There are long stretches of action-less scenes, which are rare for many current studio blockbusters, especially those from crucial franchises. This never necessarily made the film a slow burn but rather spaced out the action to allow time for the characters to shine. Similar to the first two movies, A Quiet Place: Day One seems less focused on the creatures themselves but instead is a character study of those navigating their way through the situation.

Visual Spectacle

Elevating the film was the cinematography. Pat Scola, who served as the cinematographer on Pig and the upcoming A24 film Sing Sing, captured the beauty of the disorder, making each shot a visual delight. Several wide shots help capture the demolition the invasion had on the city, providing a clear look at the threat the aliens impose on the rest of the world. With only a $67 million budget, the cinematography made the film look more expensive and grand in scale. Both A Quiet Place: Day One and last year’s The Creator, which had an $80 million budget, show that studios don’t need to break the bank to make something wonderful. 

Utilizing its budget to the max and expanding out into the city, the prequel is able to expand upon the world established in the first two films. From the initial concept of aliens attacking when one makes a sound, it’s able to make the concept not feel repetitive throughout the three films. By the end, A Quiet Place: Day One shows that there is more room for stories to be told in this world, possibly making more spin-offs about characters across the world. It lets the imagination run wild about what the invasion looks like in other parts of the world and how other countries deal with it.

Expressing Through Visuals

Whereas the original films had the Abbott family use sign language to communicate, thus providing a form of communication for the characters to deliver dialogue, A Quiet Place: Day One is forced to find creative ways to communicate with the audience. The majority of the time, communication came down to the actors’ expressions and demeanor. At times, the film almost feels like a silent movie, surprisingly leading to some heartful moments. In particular, there’s a scene that occurs in a bar without any action or tension and is purely dedicated to highlighting the characters. Through this brief, emotional scene, the film created one of the best scenes in the movie, only relying on the actors to convey everything through movements and expressions.

Aside from the creative communication, the film utilizes its city setting to its advantage. In the opening title cards, a segment notes the amount of noise New York City produces, setting the stage for chaos to ensue. Before the invasion begins, the sound design blends together all of the various noises in the city, including cars, construction, shouting, and more, highlighting the lethal threat that just being in the city imposes on its characters. Later, the film again brings attention to the noise level, contrasting the sound when the aliens arrive. After the initial impact and everyone learns that they need to stay quiet to stay alive, the outlook and vibe of the city change. 

All of these elements didn’t quite come near to capturing the excellent achievement of the first two movies, but they still show there’s gas left in the franchise tank. The story and characters are engrossing, differing from what the franchise has shown before. Adding to it, the film also has an elegant quality, as if A Quiet Place: Day One merged an art film with a franchise blockbuster. It allows the film to stand on its own, not relying on what’s come before to support it. If the studio plays its cards right, they can continue to tell more stories in this world.

See A Quiet Place: Day One in theaters now!

A Quiet Place: Day One (2024) Official Paramount Pictures Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Mason Kupiainen is a recent Butler University graduate with a degree in Creative Media and Entertainment. His work has been published in Butler Collegiate, The Mall, and Byte BSU. Along with written work, he has a videography portfolio with Indy Blue Video, Byte BSU, and Ball Bearings.

Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.