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A Quiet Place: Day One – The Loudest Quiet Place Movie

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Art of Lily K
| June 28, 2024
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Making excellent horror movies is hard, nearly impossible. So many things can go wrong with them; one could even argue that it is the hardest genre to get right. 

So when a little movie called A Quiet Place rolled into the cinema in 2018, I sat down with no expectations. You can imagine my surprise when my breath got caught in my throat from the very first minute till the last. I am a sucker for creature features, and if excellent horror is hard to come by then creature horror falls into the nearly impossible category. There are – obviously – some fantastic ones like The Mother of Them All: Alien, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Cloverfield, Tremors, The Host, The Mist, and – of course – Aliens. A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place Part 2 joined this short list and became some of my favorite horror movies. And they’re not just horror movies; they’re horror movies with a big heart. 

I was surprised when they announced a prequel movie with a new cast. I got excited simply because of the title: A Quiet Place: Day One. Part 2 starts with a throwback to Day One, and honestly, it is my favorite segment out of all of them. The absolute thrill and fear of the unknown hit you like a train in those first ten minutes, and I still vividly remember covering my mouth in fear of breathing too loudly. That’s the effect this movie has. And that first ten minutes of Part 2 is why I was super excited for this prequel. I didn’t get what I wanted… but we still won. Big time. 

Heads up. SPOILERS ahead! 

Djimon Hounsou, Lupita Nyong’o and Alex Wolff

The protagonist of this movie is Samira (Lupita Nyong’o), who is spending her last days in Hospice care as she is terminally ill. However, when patients of the hospice home take a trip to the heart of the city to watch a play, all hell breaks loose with the arrival of the alien creatures with heightened hearing. 

Now, my only problem with A Quiet Place Day One is that I expected to see the same level of crazy adrenaline ride we’ve got in A Quiet Place Part 2. The arrival of the meteors and, therefore, the aliens are still chilling and scary as hell, but I felt like they chickened away from real chaos when they covered everything in ash. Sure, it still brings the goosebumps out, but there was certainly more here that they could have done. Not to mention that due to an explosion, our protagonist gets knocked out pretty quickly, so there’s not much “chaosing” happening. I was a bit annoyed, but I was still hoping, and rightfully so.

While the movie never reaches that first ten minutes of Part 2 in intensity and scare factor, it does have a big beating heart in the middle of it. That heart is Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn (and yes, the cat). The Quiet part, in this case, is the quiet story of a dying girl at the end of the world who just wants to get a pizza before her time comes. I admittedly cried at the end of the first movie, and I cried during part 2 as well, but I didn’t expect this movie to pull on my heartstrings this much. Lupita Nyong’o is an absolute revelation, as always, but what heightens her character’s story is the perfect pairing with Joseph Quinn’s Eric. Nowadays, it is really hard to see truly good duos on screen, but this movie succeeded. Eric is a beautiful contrast to Samira’s calm and determined behavior. He is the fear and the panic; he is basically all of us, while Samira is the voice of reason. 

Eric comforting Samira

Don’t get me wrong, this movie still has its thrilling moments. However, they made the mistake of showcasing too much of it in the trailers. This is why I don’t watch trailers nowadays. Sure, there were surprise moments, but… not enough, I would say. What I am trying to get to is that this isn’t really a horror movie. It has some scary moments, but the best comparison I could make so you all understand is Alien and Aliens. Alien is a true, real horror, slowly building up the suspension and fear. Aliens, on the other hand, is an action film with some horror elements sprinkled through it. Both are great films despite the quiet genre change. Quiet Place Parts 1 and 2 are horror movies, while Quiet Place Day One is a disaster movie with silent drama and some horror elements. 

By the last 15 minutes, I was silently crying, and I didn’t expect this entry to hit me in the feels so much. But I truly believe that it is what makes it stand out among its predecessors. Yes, we get a glimpse of what happened in a big city instead of a small town. Yes, there are plenty of moments where you are genuinely worried, but the real story here is with the two main characters. Eric’s decision to help Samira get her favorite pizza might come out of fear of being alone at the beginning, but it slowly turns into genuine care for a stranger by the end. Mutually. The last good ten minutes of the film are about how people can come together at the end of the world. It was nice to get a more heartfelt story instead of the age-old: humans are the real monsters storyline. We get that; it was told many times.

Visually, this movie DELIVERS. We see more of the aliens than before and even get up close and personal with them. And they are just as terrifying as a xenomorph. The creature design was 10 out of 10 in the first movie as well, but damn… I swear they made them look even better this time around. And the sounds they make are honestly something straight out of a nightmare. No wonder you still hold your breath whenever they are near… 

One more thing before I get to my final thoughts. Please give Djimon Hounsou a bigger role. I was so happy when it was announced that his character would return in this movie. He appeared in Part 2 as well, but he was barely on screen, which was very annoying. This man is such a good actor and a true gem, and he deserves much more recognition. Unfortunately – while I was expecting it – he once again had a smaller role here. Important, but small. I should really start a campaign: Give Djimon Hounsou more screen time! 

Stay Quiet!

A Quiet Place: Day One is a movie you don’t want to miss out on. It is so full of heart that it is overwhelming at times. It’s a very strong entry into this franchise, even if it did not live up to the expectations. My real “complaint” is that although it was present at times, it couldn’t bring in that atmosphere that made the first two so unique. I am still waiting to experience that absolute thrill AND fear that the first ten minutes of Quiet Place Part 2 were able to bring to the table. Fortunately for all of us, the Abbott Family – aka the protagonists of Part 1 and 2 – will return in a Quiet Place Part 3. Hopefully, we will get even more films in this horror/action saga. Samira, Eric, and Frodo’s (the cat) story will be a beloved part of the franchise nonetheless, giving a different taste to it all. Seeing the beloved family we’ve been following from the beginning will be a welcome experience. But given that part 2 ended with them sort of finding a solution to the alien problem, it will be very interesting to see how they will move forward. I hope it won’t mean that the movie loses its true horror nature and turns into an action flick. We shall wait and see how they will handle the change dynamics.

I highly recommend that all of you watch this movie on the big screen. It is truly a unique experience and one of the best movies of 2024 so far. 

Gets an 8 out of 10 soup on the Couch Soup meter, and I just can’t wait to get back to this Universe again. 

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