‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ Review: Is The Prequel Better or Worse?

In ‘A Quiet Place: Day One,’ the story is set to revolve around a unique character – a cat. While Lupita Nyong’o delivers an outstanding performance, her character’s feline companion is poised to steal the spotlight and become a major talking point.

In the ‘Quiet Place’ universe, where aliens with heightened hearing but poor vision wreak havoc on Earth, the presence of a cat isn’t unprecedented. Remember Jones from ‘Alien’? He was part of a movie that significantly influenced this franchise, one where extraterrestrial invaders also displayed a relentless killing instinct. John Krasinski’s ‘A Quiet Place’ (2018) and its sequel ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ (2021) established the basics: these creatures are blind but have extraordinary hearing and a strong aversion to water.

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However, unlike Jones, who played a minor role in ‘Alien,’ the new feline hero in ‘Day One’ is central to the narrative’s theme of family, whether biological or chosen. Directed by Michael Sarnoski, this prequel introduces Frodo, a support cat to Samira (Nyong’o), a poet in a New York City hospice, enduring severe cancer-induced pain. Samira is never without Frodo, taking him even to a puppet show where they encounter a man (Djimon Hounsou) familiar to fans of the second movie. When the alien invasion starts, he quickly highlights the need for silence to avoid detection.

The aliens, arriving via meteorites, waste no time in starting their deadly rampage. We get a good look at these monstrous beings, reminiscent of nightmarish Giacometti sculptures, but Sarnoski keeps their backstory minimal. ‘Day One’ avoids the trappings of a typical origin story, focusing instead on the immediate terror and survival.

Quiet Place Day One Review
Image Courtesy: IMDb

Samira’s goal is simple yet poignant: to visit her favourite pizza place, a symbol of what could be her last meal. This journey through a devastated landscape teeming with lethal creatures is fraught with danger, but she finds an ally in the stranded Eric.

Sarnoski portrays the ruined New York City with restraint, avoiding graphic depictions of mass casualties. However, the setting of a destroyed New York has become somewhat cliché. Perhaps future disaster films could explore new locations to avoid repetitive imagery of crumbling landmarks and subway chases.

Quiet Place Day One Review
Image Courtesy: IMDb

The action sequences, while competently executed, feel like obligatory checklist items. The movie excels in quieter moments, bookending the chaos with serene, reflective scenes.

‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ truly shines whenever Nyong’o’s face dominates the screen. She channels the resilience and determination of a post-apocalyptic heroine from a silent film era, conveying profound emotion with minimal dialogue.