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'A Quiet Place: Day One' review: Thrilling prequel takes horror franchise back to its roots

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

 

The elevator pitch to the original “A Quiet Place” was simple: Don’t make a sound or else creatures, who look like a cross of the Demogorgon from “Stranger Things” and a Clicker from “The Last of Us,” will kill you. The John Krasinski-directed first installment was a box office smash and all but cemented the birth of a new franchise. Considering “A Quiet Place” took place several months into the post-apocalyptic world, it did leave plenty of questions. For starters, where did these creatures come from? Why are they so attracted to sound? “A Quiet Place: Part Two” explored this briefly during the opening prologue, but it still kept things rather mysterious.


I can’t say this latest installment: “A Quiet Place: Day One” answers any of those questions (though we do get some pretty rad close-ups of the monsters), but director Michael Sarnoski (who helmed the great Nicolas Cage indie “Pig”), manages to inject some freshness into a series that is losing some of its novelty. He delivers a human scale story inside a major franchise package, and it mostly gets the job done even if it can feel a little repetitive and tedious. Oh, and there is a cat named Frodo who absolutely steals the show.

 

As the title suggests, “Day One” goes back to the beginning and has minimal correlation with the Emily Blunt storyline, but we do get a fierce lead performance from Lupita Nyong’o who plays Sam, a cancer patient currently in hospice care. The good days are few and far between, but when her nurse Reuben (Alex Wolff) proposes going to a show in NYC, her only ask is they get pizza afterwards. 


Within an hour, the blind creatures are attacking and dismantling the city and Sam (plus her adorable kitty Frodo!) finds herself in the company of spooked British law student Eric (Joseph Quinn of “Stranger Things” fame and will star as Johnny Storm in the upcoming “Fantastic Four” movie) who must navigate this wasteland to safer havens. For Eric, it means getting out of the city, and for Sam, it’s trekking towards Harlem to snag a slice of pizza at the jazz club her father would take her too in her childhood. It’s meant to be seen as one last hurrah for someone who literally has nothing to lose.

 

Unlike the previous installments, where we’ve already seen folks adapt to their surroundings, we have to watch in real time characters like Sam and Eric understand the importance of not making a sound. It rides a familiar wave, but Sarnoski finds a nice balance in the smaller, intimate moments among two strangers who find themselves in the most unimaginable circumstance. There’s plenty of tension-fueled sequences too, including one in a subway station that sent a few chills down my spine. 


If anything, “Day One” solidifies there’s plenty of stories, with the right direction and screenwriting, that can be told within this massive sandbox and these creatures remain endlessly terrifying and fascinating. Adding Nyong’o and Quinn into the mix adds another welcome dynamic, and, again, enough can’t be said about Frodo the cat, a loveable feline who basically steals the entire movie.

 

Grade: B 

 

A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE is now playing in theaters.





1 comment

1 comentario


lesterforeman62
02 jul

I’m intrigued by the idea of seeing how people initially react to the creatures. Lupita Nyong’o as a cancer patient adds an emotional depth that I'm looking forward to exploring in "A Quiet Place: Day One." geometry dash

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