Wednesday 10 July 2024

REVIEW: A Quiet Place: Day One (2024 Film) - Starring Lupita Nyong'o

A Quiet Place: Day One

Review by Jon Donnis

"A Quiet Place: Day One," directed by Michael Sarnoski and based on a story conceived with John Krasinski, is the third instalment in the A Quiet Place film series. This prequel, which ventures into the early days of the alien invasion, stars Lupita Nyong'o as Samira, a terminally ill woman navigating the chaos of New York City as blind extraterrestrial creatures with an acute sense of hearing descend upon the metropolis.

The plot centres around Samira, a pessimistic cancer patient residing at a hospice just outside New York City. Convinced by her nurse Reuben to join an outing to a marionette show in Manhattan, Sam reluctantly agrees. The excursion quickly turns catastrophic when meteor-like objects crash down, releasing hostile extraterrestrial creatures. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Sam is knocked unconscious and later awakens in the puppet theatre alongside other survivors. The group, including the returning character Henri (Djimon Hounsou), must stay silent to avoid detection by the sound-sensitive invaders.

As the military bombs bridges around Manhattan to contain the creatures, tension escalates within the group. When a panicking survivor is accidentally killed by Henri, the stakes of maintaining silence become tragically clear. The subsequent power outage and activation of an emergency generator result in Reuben's death, forcing Sam to flee towards Harlem with her cat, Frodo. The military announces an evacuation from South Street Seaport, but the noise from gathering crowds attracts the creatures, causing a deadly stampede. Sam, separated from Frodo, encounters Eric, an English law student. The pair navigate the dangers together, including a perilous journey through a flooded subway, highlighting the constant threat posed by the creatures.

Lupita Nyong'o delivers a standout performance as Samira, imbuing the character with a profound sense of vulnerability and resilience. Despite the more dialogue-heavy script compared to its predecessors, "A Quiet Place: Day One" remains a largely non-verbal film, utilising silence to maintain an atmosphere of suspense. The first half-hour is particularly gripping, almost flawless in its execution, setting a high bar that the rest of the film strives to meet.

Visually, the film excels with impressive effects and well-designed aliens, maintaining the franchise's standard. However, while the film attempts to pivot towards human drama over sci-fi horror, this shift may not resonate with all viewers. The narrative focuses more on personal struggle and survival, potentially alienating fans expecting a deeper exploration of the alien invasion's origins. Moreover, despite the commendable performance of Nyong'o, other characters feel underdeveloped, making it difficult to invest emotionally in their fates.

Clocking in at 99 minutes, the film occasionally drags, suggesting a tighter 80-minute runtime could have delivered a more concise story. Additionally, while the previous films thrived on palpable tension and scares, "A Quiet Place: Day One" falls short in generating the same level of horror, feeling more like a drama set against an apocalyptic backdrop.

A Quiet Place: Day One is a respectable addition to the franchise, though it brings little novelty. Fans of the series will likely find enjoyment, particularly in Nyong'o's compelling performance, which anchors the film. However, it lacks the tension and terror that defined its predecessors, offering instead a more subdued, character-driven narrative. I would score it a solid 7 out of 10.

Out Now in Cinemas