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A Quiet Place: Day One

If you admire the premise of the three Quiet Place installments—that to utter a sound will bring ugly aliens to deliver your end, then you’ll be intrigued with the third, A Quiet Place: Day One. Although I prefer to have more than two characters together holding off the aliens, this origin story has the advantage of fleshing out the characters of two protagonists, much as a solid Twilight Zone episode might do.


As an essentially two-hander does, we find Samira (Lupita Nyong’o) and Eric (Joseph Quinn) quietly trekking to East Harlem to grab an illusory pizza as she did with her father years ago. Although the two, and her darling black and white cat, become close in their epic struggle to survive, writer/director Michael Sarnoski does not let cliched romance interfere with a plot, not terribly innovative except for the mandated silence, that deftly shows the necessity of cooperation without blather to survive in any conflict.



The strength of the duo is Samira, whose intelligence and courage finally let a woman do the heavy lifting. That’s not to say Eric doesn’t contribute to their survival; it’s just to say she is allowed to be the stronger component. Do not forget that beautiful cat, whose intelligence is extraordinary.


The Quiet Place franchise, set in motion and continued under the inspiration of John Krasinski, is unique among horror films, of which there are even current exemplars like the Godzilla and Omen stories, by its rather low-key presentation. The ugly aliens occur more in this third story, but generally they lurk in the background because of the danger we humans bring with our incessant talking as on cell phones, even when we walk and drive.


Pleasant it is for communication to be done without cells and to rely on facial movement and emotion separate from useless bloviation. The horror is our inability to restrain ourselves from talking when listening would solve many of our thorniest problems.


Another of the allegorical hits here is an awareness that any invasion, such as Vietnam to the current Far East, stresses the need to know the oppressor especially through language. A Quiet Place: Day One has many pleasures despite the terror that invasion brings. We learn from good horror flicks and hold off the horror that might come because we respect quiet and listening.



A Quiet Place: Day One

Director: Michael Sarnoski (Pig)

Screenplay: Sarnoski

Cast: Joseph Quinn (Overlord), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Run Time: 1h 40m

Rating: PG-13



John DeSando