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“A Quiet Place: Day One” Excels

Written by: Matt Patti | June 27th, 2024

A Quiet Place: Day One (Michael Sarnoski, 2024) 5 out of 5 stars 

Before the world went quiet in 2018’s A Quiet Place, something catastrophic occured to cause those events. We’ve seen flashes of this and heard anecdotes about exactly what happened on the day that would change the world forever, but it was never fully explored. Until now, that is. Director Michael Sarnoski (Pig) takes us all the way back to the origin of the alien creatures’ arrival on planet Earth through the lens of an entire sprawling metropolis, and two very different characters.  

About a year-and-a-half before the original A Quiet Place film takes place, New York is its typical bustling self. Sounds emanate from every direction, with cars and crowds abuzz. A title card reveals that the average everyday decibel level in the city is equivalent to that of a full-on human scream.  

Lupita Nyong’o in A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE ©Paramount Pictures

We are first introduced to Samira (Lupita Nyong’o, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) through the setting of a support group on the outskirts of New York City. She has been diagnosed with a deadly disease and has little time left to live. Samira seems to have accepted her fate, however, as she strokes the cat on her lap and jokingly a poem about how much this place and its people suck.  

She is invited by the group to a show in the heart of Manhattan. Samira doesn’t typically travel there, but at the promise of going to her favorite pizza place, she agrees. During the show, the performance is cut short by an emergency order to leave. Before her group bus can depart, however, Samira sees numerous meteorites falling down on the city. Chaos ensues as alien creatures descend on the city and a fight for survival begins.

l-r: Elaine Umuhire and Lupita Nyong’o in A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE ©Paramount Pictures

A Quiet Place: Day One easily caught my attention in theatres when I viewed the trailer. An origin story for one of the more unique sci-fi concepts out there intrigued me greatly, and I was all in from that moment. Frankly, all the filmmakers needed to do to ensure this film was a success is maintain the suspenseful sequences on which the other two films (including the sequel, A Quiet Place Part II) thrived.  

A Quiet Place: Day One succeeds there, but does much more than that. Sarnoski expertly intertwines an emotional, heartwarming story with edge-of-your-seat suspense in what might be the greatest entry to the franchise yet. Furthermore, A Quiet Place: Day One is so far a contender for film of the year, at least for me.

Joseph Quinn in A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE ©Paramount Pictures

It would have been easy to fill this film with stock characters and nobodies in NYC and just let the monsters tear them apart. Most times, that will still satisfy a general horror audience. But Sarnoski doesn’t do that. Instead, he introduces some very compelling, layered characters that are intelligent and crafty.

Lupita Nyong’o gives a truly exceptional performance and is the film’s standout, but the supporting cast also does very well, including Joseph Quinn (Netflix’s Stranger Things series) who portrays Eric, a law-school student residing in the city. Eric and Samira are quite opposites, with Samira being a more fearless, independent loner and Eric a completely terrified man seeking a companion during this chaotic day. The initial contrast between Eric and Samira eventually leads to some commonality, and their interactions, though mostly nonverbal, are always enthralling.

l-r: Joseph Quinn and Lupita Nyong’o in A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE ©Paramount Pictures

A Quiet Place: Day One also boasts some spectacular technical elements. The sound design is quite off-putting in the best way possible, and it accompanies dazzling visuals and effects. I saw this film in IMAX, and I can’t recommend it enough for the best overall experience.

As previously mentioned, this newest prequel continues on the tradition of heart-pounding suspense that the other films did so well. There are plenty of moments of silence that are nerve-wracking as the characters crawl past creatures, but the action set pieces when they’re running from them are just as intense. The urban atmosphere is the perfect playground for the alien creatures and city residents to navigate. 

Lupita Nyong’o in A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE ©Paramount Pictures

The real surprise of A Quiet Place: Day One is how much it really tugs at the heartstrings. Amidst the suspense-filled scenes and chaos, there are some satisfying feel-good moments and also some heartbreaking ones. Sarnoski does a phenomenal job getting us to invest in our main characters as well as Samira’s loyal cat, Frodo.

I’ve pondered any potential negatives about this film that I have, but quite honestly I have none. The smallest little nitpick might just be that there isn’t much of the “surprise factor” featured here that one might think in a day-one scenario. The characters catch on quite quickly to the dos and don’ts with these creatures, which actually ends up being to the film’s benefit as we have intelligent decisions being made more often than not.

Djimon Hounsou in A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE ©Paramount Pictures

Overall, A Quiet Place: Day One overachieves in every aspect possible when the filmmakers could have easily told a much simpler, less emotionally investing story. The cinematography, sound design, characters, performances, suspense, and heart contained in this film are all top-notch. While I was looking forward to this film for quite some time, A Quiet Place: Day One is even better than I expected, and one of the best horror films I’ve seen in quite some time.


Matt Patti has enjoyed voicing his opinions on films from a young age. He has lived in the Baltimore, Maryland, area since 2015 and is a graduate of Stevenson University’s Film & Moving Image program. Matt is currently back at Stevenson University, working as the School of Design, Arts, and Communication's Studio Manager.

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