A Quiet Place: Day One (2024) Movie Review

The anticipation for “A Quiet Place: Day One” is palpable, as this prequel to the original film takes us back to the chaotic onset of the alien invasion in New York City. Fans of the franchise are eager to see how it all began, and with Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn leading the cast, the expectations are sky-high. This film promises to deliver the same intense suspense and heart-pounding moments that made the original a standout. Join us as we explore whether “Day One” lives up to the hype and brings something fresh to this gripping story of survival.

Plot Overview

“A Quiet Place: Day One” brings us back to the terrifying start of the alien invasion. As a prequel to the beloved horror series, this movie shows us how the nightmare began in the bustling streets of New York City.


The story kicks off in New York City, which quickly becomes ground zero for an alien invasion. The crowded and noisy city is an ideal backdrop for the chaos that unfolds, contrasting sharply with the eerie silence that soon becomes a necessity for survival.

Key Events

  1. Sam’s Story:
    • The main character, Sam, is a terminally ill woman who finds herself amid this alien attack. She is not alone; her dedicated nurse Reuben and her service cat Frodo accompany her.
    • They embark on a seemingly simple trip to Manhattan, which quickly turns into a desperate fight for survival.
  2. Alien Invasion:
    • The alien creatures, sensitive to sound, plunge the city into panic. The once-bustling metropolis descends into silence and fear.
    • People have to figure out how to move without making any noise, which adds to the suspense and tension of the film.

Central Conflict

The heart of the conflict is the struggle for survival in a world where making noise equals death. Sam and her companions must navigate the dangers of both the city and these deadly extraterrestrial beings. Each step they take could be their last, making the quiet New York streets scarier than ever.

A Woman with Thorny Costume on Her Back Seriously Looking at the Bunch of Flowers she is Holding Photo by cottonbro studio

The combination of a terminally ill protagonist, a loyal nurse, and a city in chaos makes “A Quiet Place: Day One” a gripping prequel.

Cast and Performances

The new faces in “A Quiet Place: Day One” bring their characters to life with unforgettable performances. Each actor adds depth and realism to the chaotic world of the film.

Lupita Nyong’o as Sam

Lupita Nyong'o Photo by Erik Uruci

Lupita Nyong’o shines in the role of Sam, a terminally ill woman caught in the middle of an alien invasion. Her character’s vulnerability and strength create an emotional anchor for the film. Sam’s journey is far from easy; battling her illness while trying to survive adds a layer of complexity to her character.

Nyong’o’s performance is nothing short of mesmerizing. She captures Sam’s determination and fear with a raw intensity that grips the audience. She manages to convey a wide range of emotions, making viewers root for her survival. It’s hard not to be moved by her portrayal, as she brings a sense of realism and depth to the role.

What Nyong’o Brings to the Film:

  • Emotional Depth: Nyong’o shows Sam’s fight against both illness and terrifying aliens.
  • Relatability: Her portrayal makes Sam’s struggles and strengths feel real.
  • Engaging Screen Presence: Nyong’o’s acting draws the audience in, making us feel like we are in the New York under siege.

Nyong’o’s performance alone is a major highlight, giving the film an emotional core that resonates strongly.

Joseph Quinn as Lead Survivor

Joseph Quinn steps into the role of the lead survivor, whose character name isn’t disclosed, adding an air of mystery. His portrayal brings a rugged resilience to the film. As chaos unfolds, his character’s quick thinking and courage stand out, essential traits for surviving a silent war against sound-sensitive aliens.

Quinn’s ability to balance toughness with moments of vulnerability makes his character compelling. He complements Nyong’o’s Sam perfectly, creating a dynamic duo whose chemistry strengthens the narrative.

Quinn’s Performance Highlights:

  • Intensity: Quinn brings a focused energy, ensuring the audience believes in his character’s survival instincts.
  • Chemistry with Co-stars: His interactions with Nyong’o and others add layers to their relationships.
  • Versatility: From tense silence to sudden action, Quinn’s range keeps the audience engaged.

While the film is packed with suspense and horror, Quinn’s grounded performance ensures it remains relatable. His character’s journey through the chaos of New York gives viewers a sense of hope amid the bleakness.

Direction and Cinematography

Michael Sarnoski, the director of “A Quiet Place: Day One,” brings a fresh take on the beloved franchise. The direction and cinematography are crucial in making this film a standout. Let’s explore how.

Directorial Style

Michael Sarnoski’s approach to storytelling is meticulous and deliberate. He uses pacing to build unease and suspense, making sure every moment counts. The story unfolds slowly at first, immersing us in the characters’ lives before the chaos begins. This gives viewers a chance to connect with the characters and truly feel the tension as the alien invasion disrupts their world.

Sarnoski excels at using silence as a storytelling tool. In a world where sound can mean death, the absence of noise is as important as the sounds we hear. This creates a nerve-wracking atmosphere where even the smallest sound can escalate a scene’s intensity.

Key Points of Sarnoski’s Directorial Style:

  • Slow Build-Up: Starts with a focus on character development.
  • Use of Silence: Silence is leveraged to build tension.
  • Pacing: The story’s pacing ensures continuous suspense.

Sarnoski’s ability to blend character moments with horror elements ensures the film keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

Visuals and Atmosphere

Dirt road in the mountains with a fence Photo by utopia 36

The cinematography in “A Quiet Place: Day One” is nothing short of spectacular. Cinematographer Pat Scola’s work encapsulates the eerie atmosphere required for this apocalyptic thriller. The use of lighting, shadows, and tight camera angles heightens the tension, making every scene visually engaging.

The film uses natural lighting to create a realistic and immersive environment. The contrast between light and darkness plays a pivotal role in conveying the characters’ emotions and the perils they face. The dimly lit scenes, paired with the eerie quiet, make every creak and whisper feel ominous.

Why the Visuals Stand Out:

  • Natural Lighting: Enhances realism and immersion.
  • Tight Camera Angles: Build a sense of claustrophobia and tension.
  • Use of Shadows: Shadows are utilized to convey danger and fear.

The cinematography not only beautifies the visuals but also complements the storytelling, ensuring the audience is constantly engaged.

By incorporating these elements, “A Quiet Place: Day One” effectively captures the audience’s attention, maintaining a high level of suspense throughout its runtime.

Sound Design and Music

Sound is a key player in the “A Quiet Place” franchise, and “Day One” continues to utilize it masterfully. From pin-drop silence to tension-building scores, every sound in the film serves a purpose.

Silence and Suspense

The use of silence in “A Quiet Place: Day One” is crucial in creating suspense. Much like the original film, silence here speaks volumes. The eerie quietness of New York City, once filled with bustling noise, now covered in a blanket of silence, intensifies the feeling of dread.

The film explores the contrast between silence and sudden loud noises to jolt the audience. For example, a character moving stealthily through a silent street only to accidentally knock over a can amplifies the sense of danger. This method is reminiscent of the original film’s approach, where even a slight sound could mean life or death.

By utilizing silence, the film draws viewers into a state of constant alertness, making every moment feel loaded with potential terror. It’s like walking on eggshells, where the audience, much like the characters, is constantly on edge, anticipating when the next loud noise might bring chaos.

Musical Score

The musical score in “A Quiet Place: Day One” enhances the emotional and thrilling aspects of the movie. Composed by Alexis Grapsas, the music blends perfectly with the sound design to heighten the film’s tension and drama.

The score often features minimalist, haunting melodies that complement the movie’s quiet moments, building up to more intense compositions during critical scenes. This balance ensures that the music never feels intrusive but rather an integral part of the narrative.

Effectiveness of the Musical Score:

  • Emotionally Resonant: The score underscores the characters’ struggles and triumphs, adding to the emotional depth.
  • Heightens Suspense: During key moments, the music swells, amplifying the tension and fear.
  • Supports the Atmosphere: The melodies and rhythms reflect the movie’s somber and foreboding atmosphere.

The music in “Day One” does not just accompany the scenes but actively shapes the viewer’s experience, ensuring that the tension remains palpable throughout the film.

Interior of cozy studio with bed and couch decorated with vintage furniture and vinyl records Photo by Charlotte May

The careful balance of silence and sound in “A Quiet Place: Day One” is not only a technical achievement but also a narrative one. It keeps the audience engaged and on edge, making the film a thrilling addition to the franchise.

Themes and Messages

“A Quiet Place: Day One” delivers not only on suspense and thrilling scenes but also on deeper themes that resonate with the audience. It goes beyond just being a horror movie to explore complex human emotions and societal issues.

Survival and Resilience

Survival is at the core of the movie, echoing the struggles faced by the characters. This isn’t just about physical survival but also emotional and psychological resilience. Sam, our protagonist, exemplifies this through her fight against a terminal illness while confronting the alien threat. Despite the overwhelming odds, her determination to live another day is inspiring.

  • Daily Survival: Every choice and movement is a gamble with life and death, highlighting the primal human instinct to survive.
  • Inner Strength: The movie shows that survival is not just about strength but also about wit, courage, and mental fortitude.

Human Spirit and Connection

The film emphasizes the power of human connections in times of crisis. Relationships become lifelines. Sam’s bond with her nurse Reuben and her cat Frodo provides emotional support, making their journey less about individual survival and more about collective endurance.

  • Companionship: The bond between Sam and Reuben illustrates how companionship can fortify one’s ability to face adversity.
  • Family and Trust: Trust and loyalty are central, showing that in the face of fear, human connection remains a beacon of hope.

Silence and Fear

A unique theme of this film is the powerful use of silence. Unlike the usual horror movies that rely heavily on jump scares and loud noises, “A Quiet Place: Day One” uses silence as a terrifying aspect. This not only heightens the fear but also conveys the vulnerability of humans in this new, silent world.

  • Silent Threats: The aliens’ sensitivity to sound makes every small noise potentially deadly, reflecting how small actions can have significant consequences.
  • Psychological Impact: The constant need to be silent affects the characters mentally, showing the psychological toll of living in fear.

Societal Breakdown

The rapid descent of New York City from a bustling metropolis into chaos underscores how fragile societal structures can be. The film paints a picture of how quickly normal life can disintegrate in the face of an unparalleled threat.

  • Fragility of Normalcy: The sudden shift from everyday life to survival mode shows how delicate our societal norms and structures are.
  • The Human Condition: It explores the raw, unfiltered human condition when stripped of societal comforts and necessitates the rediscovery of primal instincts.

Gray and Black Wooden Wall Photo by cottonbro studio

Hope and Perseverance

Amidst the terror and despair, the movie also carries an underlying message of hope. The resilience and courage shown by the characters provide a ray of hope, symbolizing that even in the bleakest situations, there is always a reason to keep going.

  • Light in the Darkness: Characters often find small moments of joy and normalcy, serving as a reminder of what they are fighting for.
  • Unyielding Will: The film portrays an unyielding will to survive, suggesting that hope is the most powerful weapon in the face of fear.

Through its themes, “A Quiet Place: Day One” captures the essence of human resilience and the enduring spirit that strives for survival against all odds. It’s a powerful tale that goes beyond mere alien horror to delve into the profound aspects of what it means to be human in the direst of times.