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“A Quiet Place: Day One” Explores the Franchise’s Origin

In 2018, the first “A Quiet Place” was released, captivating audiences as a post-apocalyptic horror movie in which deadly monsters killed anything that made a sound. The film included minimal spoken dialogue, using sign language as a primary way for the main characters to communicate with each other. 

Now, six years later, audiences get to see the day the world ended in “A Quiet Place: Day One.”

While the movie features entirely different characters, it occurs in the same universe, specifically in New York City. The story follows Sam (Lupita Nyong’o), a terminally ill cancer patient visiting the city on a hospice outing, and Eric (Joseph Quinn), a young British man in the U.S to study law. The two meet after extraterrestrial creatures crash into Earth and slaughter the citizens of New York. Realizing that the creatures are attracted to even the smallest noise, everyone must stay as quiet as possible to stay alive. 

“A Quiet Place: Day One” is the third movie to be released in this particular post-apocalyptic series, but chronologically, it takes place first. Despite being a prequel, the movie maintains the same sparse-dialogue tactic that made the first “A Quiet Place” unique. The emphasis on silence extends even to the movie’s score, of which there is very little. Large segments of the movie are almost completely quiet, leaving the audience in the same terrified silence as the characters. Not only does this build immersion, but it also makes even the smallest sound feel ten times louder. The silence that follows any sound only serves as sickening suspense while the characters and viewers pray that a monster does not hear. 

This effective use of silence does several things that enhance viewers’ experience. 

First, the jump scares are far more startling than a normal slasher film. Many horror movies utilize an instrumental score in order to evoke emotion. The audience can see a jump scare coming when the instrumentals become more dissonant and eerie. In “A Quiet Place: Day One,” the only prelude to attacks is any sound a character makes, followed by a frozen silence that is suddenly shattered.

Second, any dialogue used in the film is used with great intentionality. Spoken lines hold significant emotion and importance, considering even the smallest sound could mean game over. 

Third, the film’s writers, director and crew had to convey as much as possible using only visuals, resulting in an intricately detailed set. Unlike many apocalyptic films, characters don’t comment on the world’s devastating mass casualties or destruction. All that needs to be said is already apparent in the blood-painted cars, the single dirtied shoe laying on its side in the street and the abandoned belongings on the sidewalk. The movie is a fantastic example of effective visual storytelling.

The creature design of the monsters stands out in “A Quiet Place: Day One.” Audience members get to be much more up close and personal with the monsters and their physiques and abilities. From close-ups of hoof-like feet stepping between bodies to full-body shots of the creatures scurrying up and down buildings and snatching a person in the blink of an eye, the visuals make the creatures truly terrifying. This is the result of very well-done special effects that keep viewers immersed in the story. 

Though “A Quiet Place: Day One” sets up the first two movies, it stands independently, and viewers who have not seen the other films can still enjoy this one. Tonally, while it is still a horror movie, there are still several lighthearted bits peppered throughout that offer more variety to the film than nonstop scares. The main characters also lack the groan-worthy poor decision-making that many horror movies tend to include, making audiences more inclined to root for Sam and Eric. And, of course, Sam’s service cat is sure to be a fan-favorite. 

Our rating: 4.5/5 stars

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