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A Bleak But Mostly Brilliant Blockbuster — A Quiet Place: Day One (Film Review)

3 min read

It feels extremely rare to have a big blockbuster come out as extremely bleak as the spin-off to the A Quiet Place franchise, titled A Quiet Place: Day One. When it comes to most blockbuster movies, they want to appeal to as broad of an audience as possible (which is now a common trend in Hollywood) so it feels weirdly refreshing to see a huge film backed by a studio to tackle the idea of the extinction of humanity and how to find that humanity in such horrific times. 

As the title suggests, A Quiet Place: Day One takes place on the day that the aliens came to Earth. However, instead of following the Abbott family, the film follows Sammy (Lupita Nyong’o, Us) as she must venture through New York City to find safety as the world seems to be falling apart around her.

The A Quiet Place franchise is one which lends itself to spin-offs. In the core two movies we follow one family, whereas here we see how the entirety of one of the most populated cities in the world collapses. This is shown particularly quickly as the film gives a fairly basic setup to its central character before throwing her (and the audience) into this scenario which involves a genuine fight for survival. As this film shows, particularly more than Parts I and II, it involves a lot of thought for the average person to be able to survive — especially in a world forced to go mute. Writers Sarnoski and Krasinski very carefully set-up what our two lead characters’ objectives are and how they both can help each other to stay alive and try to escape the city. 

There is also no other way to say it… this is genuinely one of the bleakest blockbusters from a major studio in years. There have been many disaster movies to release over the years but not one to deal as heavily as this one with themes of humanity’s extinction and how there is a new predator at the top of the food chain. However, it balances that with hope and how there can be humanity found within times of desperation. This becomes extremely prevalent in the second half where there is some more lighter moments which allow the characters to be able to breathe and let viewers see them as someone not consistently being attacked by violent creatures. This is easily the highlight of A Quiet Place: Day One as it helps the film feel more balanced, which is definitely needed since it has an extremely tight 99 minute runtime.

The only major fault with the film is that it lacks any resemblance of character development besides the very brief standard set-up which is seen at the beginning. Aside from a few lines of dialogue, it is very surface-level as to why characters are so drawn to doing specific things and what their eventual end goal is. This is a glaring issue within Joseph Quinn’s Eric, as for the bulk of the movie, he is given very little character growth, or any development for that matter. It’s understandable that this is a film all about characters trying to survive in the moment but it makes some motivations feel half-contrived just to keep the story pushing forward. 

However, A Quiet Place: Day One is one of the best franchise spin-offs in recent memory, even if it is a little rough around the edges. The sound design on display is technically marvellous and the use of visual effects on the creatures is incredibly impressive for a film south of $70 million. It may have a few too many conveniences in the story department but that doesn’t stop it from being an incredibly tense thriller that is able to have a great balance of emotion and heart at the centre of it. 

A Quiet Place: Day One is in cinemas from June 28th. 

A Quiet Place Day One is in cinemas now.