• Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE – Silence is Golden, But Can This Series Still Deliver?

ByTaylor T Carlson

Jun 27, 2024
A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE is directed by Michael Sarnoski. It stars Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn, and Alex Wolff, and is the third theatrical release in the A QUIET PLACE franchise.

Sam is a terminally ill poet living in a hospice facility. During an outing with her group, the alien invasion begins, with creatures attracted to sound overrunning New York City and laying waste to the urban jungle. Sam finds herself face to face with the threat and aligning herself with a young law school student from England, as the two band together to stay alive amid a growing threat.

The first two films in the A QUIET PLACE franchise surprised me, breathing new life into horror and science fiction despite PG-13 ratings, with star/director John Krasinski proving himself something of an unexpected visionary. I was especially curious when I heard the third theatrical film would be a prequel/side story of sorts, showing the invasion and this alien threat from a different perspective than that of the Abbott Family. Unfortunately, DAY ONE is dead on arrival. The leads have no chemistry, their priorities are questionable, and the filmmakers didn’t understand that a film in the A QUIET PLACE film needs to be, well… quiet. Many scenes likewise feel out of place. There are still some effective moments of terror and mostly good pacing in the 100-minute running time, but it pales in comparison to the movies where Krasinski was in front of and behind the camera.

The problems with DAY ONE begin at the beginning. Lupita Nyong’o is a talented actress… but even she can’t rise above what she’s given here. Right from her opening scene, the character is bitter and unlikable. Giving her a terminal illness and a cute cat don’t hide this. When she finally does meet up with the other lead in the film (which happens far too late in the running time as is), the two simply don’t have any chemistry and their scenes together feel awkward. Even before the title card appeared on screen (which in many ways felt like it was setting up a totally different movie), I was dreading having to spend another hour and a half with this unlikable character. Nyong’o has beauty, talent, and everything one needs to be a phenomenal actress. She’s proven herself many a time on the big screen. But even the world’s most talented actors and actresses can’t rise above screenplays where they’re made unlikable and unsympathetic.

The characters in the film, again particularly Nyong’o’s character, have questionable priorities. The character, who once again is in hospice care and is terminally ill, acts like a bitter spoiled child when she’s told she has to return to her care facility without getting the pizza she wanted. When the aliens invade and lives are literally ending before her eyes… she only cares about getting the pizza. I’m not making this up. What should become a quest for survival becomes a quest for pizza. Whether this is intentionally or unintentionally hilarious will depend on the viewer… but regardless of your stance, hilarity doesn’t have a place in a story like this one.

A major problem with the movie is the overuse of musical score. A movie called A QUIET PLACE needs to back off on the music, letting the ambience of nature and the big city be the score. The filmmakers here clearly don’t understand this. There are a handful of scenes where the music is certainly appropriate, but we shouldn’t be bombarded with score in a movie that makes the necessity of silence its central theme.

Many scenes in the movie feel out of place and unnecessary. A scene in an abandoned bar featuring card tricks feels emotional and resonates somewhat… but feels like it belongs in a different movie entirely. A handful of moments like this pop up throughout; the stuff before the title card is particularly cringe worthy. Again, this screenplay could’ve used a few more revisions before the filming began. There’s very little cast in DAY ONE aside from two or three “main” characters, although one character who appeared in A QUIET PLACE: PART II reprises their role in this prequel, giving some continuity to this universe. I just wish that character had gotten a little more to do; it would’ve been more interesting than going on a quest for pizza with unlikable leads that lack chemistry.

That said, the film isn’t a total loss. The filmmakers do an interesting job changing the venue from rural to urban, and the creatures are still scary, even if people do seem to discover their attraction to sound too quickly and conveniently. There are a handful of scenes that are quite intense and memorable, and despite a PG-13 rating, the movie does still manage to conjure up terror when it’s called for.

A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE is a massive disappointment after two solid installments (fear not; a proper sequel to those films is still on the way). And it only leaves this fan wanting more of the Abbott Family. Anthology-style films set in this universe have potential, but only if they learn from the mistakes of DAY ONE. Rent this one when it comes out for home viewing, but don’t rush to the theater.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.