The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ is a powerful drama in disguise

Photo Courtesy of IMDb
Djimon Hounsou and Lupita Nyong’o in “A Quiet Place: Day One”.

Rating: 9/10

The post-apocalyptic horror sci-fi movie series, “A Quiet Place,” returned to theaters this June with a third installment — “A Quiet Place: Day One,” a prequel to the two-part series. 

“A Quiet Place” tells the story of a young deaf girl and her family as they fight to survive in a world where predatory aliens run rampant. 

In the newly-released prequel, viewers get a first-hand look at the initial “Day One” of the alien invasion, following the main characters, Samira (Lupita Nyong’o), a terminally ill cancer patient and her cat Frodo, along with Eric (Joseph Quinn), a lonely law school student. The characters quickly realize that the aliens are blind and hunt using their adept hearing abilities. 

The movie, like its predecessors, is primarily silent. While the first movie in the franchise relies on American Sign Language (ASL) as its primary mode of communication, the prequel adds a method of conflict, as the characters struggle to communicate without a non-spoken language. 

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As the story progresses, the couple ventures through the city, avoiding aliens and near-death experiences at every turn, accompanied by what may be the world’s smartest cat. 

Determined to save her cat, Sam carries him on the journey inside of a tote bag. He becomes a wholesome addition to the cast, with entire scenes following his misadventures. Much to the audience’s surprise, Frodo plays a key role in the story and adds to the tension in the already high-stakes film. 

The movie does a phenomenal job of evoking the sense of fear and uncertainty that horror fans crave without using many extremely violent or gory scenes. With the movie’s setting being in a crowded city, viewers witness the destruction and panic the aliens cause — something that is not as present in the more rural environment of the first two installments. This makes for enjoyable action scenes and more complex attacks. 

The film makes use of similar scare tactics as the first in the series, with moments of intense suspense accompanied by dramatic sound effects and jump scares. The aliens’ ability to quickly run to the source of any slight noise leaves the audience waiting with bated breath at each move that the characters make. 

The movie also delves into deeper themes of life and death alongside the main story. Sam, who has, until this point, essentially been waiting to die in hospice, sees the apocalypse as a way out. However,  Eric is clearly terrified of dying, especially alone. Their opposite outlooks work well together, showing two strong sides of human nature as they embark on their journey. 

Underneath the intense action scenes, the film adeptly builds up the relationship between Eric and Sam as they make their way through the city. With Eric gaining a new appreciation for life, and Sam remembering what it’s like to feel alive again, the film grapples with complex themes of loneliness, fear and loss.

Viewers can easily relate to the fear Eric displays, not wanting to be left alone in the uncertainty of whether or not he will live another day, while also understanding the determination of Sam to die on her own terms. Through this, the film shows the complexity of human desires and motivations and pushes beyond the ‘jump scare’ factor that many horror films profit from. 

Both actors were well-cast for their roles and displayed intense emotions throughout the film despite their limited spoken lines. As the characters progress and learn more about each other, so does the audience, resulting in a genuine emotional connection which only adds to the movie’s powerful drama aspect. 

Overall, the movie serves as a worthy addition to the well-established series. Fans of the original movie and its sequel will no doubt be infatuated with this film as well. With its surprising emotional aspect, viewers will leave the experience not only scared but wiping tears from their eyes. 


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