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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

A Quiet Place: Day One (M) - 100 minutes

It could have been renamed how to avoid a “cat”astrophe – such was the screen time given to a moggy.


A Quiet Place: Day One is an origin story.


That is when the blind but noise-sensitive deadly creatures that were the essence of A Quiet Place (2018) and Part II (2020) invaded New York City and the world.


More specifically, the focus is on a woman named Samira (Sam), as portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o, who is struggling, in pain and on meds in a hospice outside the city.


In short, the cancer patient has basically given up on life.

On the proviso that he get her a pizza, Sam reluctantly agrees to let a care worker, Reuben (Alex Wolff), take her, along with other patients, to a show in town.


That is when the aliens (they do remind me of the critters in the Alien movies) start arriving, appearing as comets from the sky.


Even the slightest noise can trigger them in numbers and they leave a path of destruction in their wake.


Buildings are torn apart, cars destroyed and overturned, and there is debris everywhere.


At first, Sam and Reuben remain holed up and silent in the theatre, but that doesn’t last too long.


Soon enough, Sam is on the move with Frodo, her cat.


There is an all-points bulletin to evacuate the city and head south via boats on the waterfront (the creatures can’t swim).


But Sam still wants her pizza … in Harlem, as a nod to her late father.

She goes it alone … with Frodo, although the puss wanders off, only to return with a deeply fearful young British law student, Eric (Joseph Quinn) in tow.


She tells him not to follow her, but he doesn’t listen.


The rest of the narrative is devoted to the pair of them as they navigate the Manhattan streets, buildings and subway system.


Of course, there are many close encounters with the creatures, who strike with speed and force.


With a story by John Krasinski and Michael Sarnoski (Pig – 2021), the latter writes and directs Day One.


First up, you can readily see this film without having seen the others in the franchise and it still makes sense.


Secondly, it is suitably intimidating and scary (there are several truly frightening scenes). The creatures are large, lightning fast, ugly and slimy.


Lupita Nyong’o is excellent in the lead. She plays Sam as strong-willed and disciplined. Her eyes speak volumes.

As Eric, Joseph Quinn masters fear, as well as care, to ingratiate himself into Sam’s life and give her something she desperately needs – renewed joy.


Alex Wolff is the responsible one as the carer who recognises Samira’s need to find something extra to press on regardless of her condition.


Djimon Hounsou, who featured in Part II as the leader of an island colony of survivors, gets a smaller role as Henri here.


As to Sam’s carer cat Frodo – what can I say? Simply, that he is a born star who seems to love the camera, while the camera loves him.


Visually, from the opening aerial shot of the city, the movie is striking.


Cinematographer Pat Scola (who worked with director Michael Sarnoski on Pig) captures the destruction, desolation and desperation that follows with distinction.


The contrast between sound and silence is critical to the impact of the picture and this is where music by Alexis Grapsas (Pig) also has an important role to play.


A Quiet Place: Day One had me engaged from the outset.


Like the strong showing of Emily Blunt as the titular figure in instalments I and II, the potency of Lupita Nyong’o’s acting gives this third instalment bite.


Rated M, it scores a 7½ out of 10.


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