A Quiet Place: Day One Review | An Engrossing Thriller That Impresses You With Its Craft Choices

Usually, when you watch horror films, there is a tendency from a certain category of the audience to make sounds or comments in order to hide their inability to manage the tension. When I watched John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place back in 2018, I remember a fairly occupied theater maintaining a pin-drop silence. When it comes to the third part, which is a prequel that takes us back to the day when it all began, this quality of keeping the audience on their toes is not lost. And with tension in almost every minute of the movie, I would say rarely you get to watch a movie that is bloody good in terms of craft, but you just want that movie to get over at the earliest.

So, it is pretty obvious from the title that the movie is talking about the day it all began. Sam, our leading lady is a cancer patient who is not at all optimistic about the future. On the day of the invasion, Sam reluctantly agrees to attend a puppet show with her hospice mates. What we see in the movie is how Sam survived the first attack of the creatures and how humans initially responded to this mega invasion.

There is this beautiful scene in the movie when Sam and Eric, an English law student whom she finds during her efforts to stay safe, are in Sam’s apartment. In order to enter that apartment, they are timing the gap between lightning and thunder to kick the door. Later, when they both get a breathing space to understand reality, we see both of them doing the same timing thing in order to cry their hearts out. The movie is basically celebrating the human nature to survive. But since the backdrop doesn’t allow it to be vocal about it, director Michael Sarnoski, who has also written the screenplay based on a story he and John Krasinski wrote, uses these emotional moments with detailing to build the world and show the resilience of the people. Even in those slightly cheesy scenes where Eric takes Sam for a Pizza date, A Quiet Place: Day One makes sure that we as an audience are vigilant.

Lupita Nyong’o is really good at performing the part of Sam. The challenges she has in terms of acting are pretty similar to what Emily Blunt may have faced, as the voice part is extremely minimal and they have to express their angst and despair through eyes. Nyong’o has used her eyes pretty effectively in the movie to make us empathize with her character. Joseph Quinn, as the fragile and vulnerable Eric, was able to pull off the characteristics of that character convincingly. Djimon Hounsou reprises his role from the second installment.

In the movie’s first half, the effort is not to make it visually grand. The visual grammar of the film decides to stay close to the central character, and the camera is basically following Sam from close proximity. It actually helps the movie to create extreme levels of tension, without really showing the scale of the catastrophe. The camera always has this POV shot nature, and that truly helps the movie in building the tension. Rather than large-scale visual effects of buildings and bridges collapsing, it is the sound design, practical effects, and minimalistic visual effects that make the experience a lot more real.

The craft choices they have made in A Quiet Place: Day One are something that will give a high to any cinephile. Michael Sarnoski’s film has done complete justice to the franchise and makes sure that the minimalism and tension-building are done with similar finesse.

Final Thoughts

Michael Sarnoski's film has done complete justice to the franchise and makes sure that the minimalism and tension-building are done with similar finesse.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.