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Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

A Quiet Place: Day One

also known as “A Quiet Place: Part III,” “A Quiet Place Part III,” “A Quiet Place - Giorno 1,” “A Quiet Place: Tag Eins,” “Ciche miejsce: Dzień pierwszy,” “Fără zgomot: Ziua 1,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating for terror and violent content/bloody images.

Reviewed by: Aiden Sexton
CONTRIBUTOR

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teens Young-Adults Adults
Genre: Sci-Fi Apocalyptic-Horror
Length: 1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release: 2024
USA Release: June 28, 2024 (wide release)
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Featuring Lupita Nyong'oSamira
Djimon HounsouHenri
Joseph QuinnEric
Alex Wolff
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Director Michael Sarnoski
Producer Michael Bay
Vicki Dee Rock
See all »
Distributor
Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corporation. Trademark logo.
Paramount Pictures Corporation
, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS

“Stay quiet. Stay alive. Hear how it all began”

It seems like any other normal day for everyone in New York City. But something is afoot, as the telling opening title implies. “New York gives off an average of 90 decibels, which is the sound of a constant scream.”

“A Quiet Place: Day One” focuses on Samira, a cancer patient living in hospice with her pet cat Frodo (as a “Lord of the Rings” fan, this tidbit put a smile on my face). After reluctantly joining a group outing in Manhattan, people begin to spot meteor-like objects crashing into the roads around them. Monsters emerge from these objects and begin killing every human within distance, right before Sam is knocked unconscious. She wakes up later with other survivors who are attempting to get off the island via rescue boats before it’s too late.

I’ll cut straight to the chase by saying that I am not the biggest fan of “Day One.” This is coming from someone who absolutely loved the first two movies and rewatches them frequently. I really wanted this one to be good, but it greatly disappointed me.

It definitely didn’t help that I came into “Day One” with sky-high expectations. To be honest, I walked out of the theater feeling cheated, because it was not at all the kind of movie I expected to watch. As of now, my feelings are mixed in a murky, unsure way. Because of that, this review will be appropriately short. I’ll lay out my thoughts in a more detailed way below.

The Good

From a technical perspective, “Day One” is great. It was well directed by Michael Sarnoski, his second directorial effort after “Pig” (2021), starring Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff (the latter is also in “Day One”). “Pig” is a movie I really enjoyed, and so naturally I was excited to see how Sarnoski would helm this film. I’m happy to say that he does a great job. The cinematography is beautiful and immersive, and makes you feel like you’re in this world. The actors and sets look and feel dirty, which adds to the authenticity and tone.

Obviously one of the biggest differences between “Day One” and the first two movies is the setting. The first two are set in rural America, while “Day One” is in New York City. As a result, the set-pieces are much bigger and very impressive. We see many shots of monsters smashing cars, bursting into buildings, and scampering throughout tunnels. There is one shot from a helicopter of dozens of monsters running on the tops of buildings. The VFX are very well done, and feel much larger scale than the first two movies.

The acting is consistently good. I was especially impressed by Lupita Nyong'o, who delivers a subtle and searing performance throughout the runtime. Joseph Quinn and Alex Wolff are great too, as well as everyone in a supporting role.

The Bad

I hate to say this, but some of the biggest flaws have to do with some of the most important things the movie was supposed to do.

The story is very one-dimensional, and almost nonexistent. Take away the obvious survival motive that every character in this movie shares, and “Day One” has a severe shortage of compelling or coherent character motives. I was amazed to discover that a main motive is to find pizza. This becomes a driving force of the plot, and is not the most compelling plot impetus that could have been divined. And, without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that the last shot of the movie is very strange, and almost seems to thematically contradict everything that came before it.

I found the pacing very uneven. The first ten minutes are promising enough, and there is a sequence in the middle and near the end where I was genuinely interested. But besides those parts, the movie is quite dull, and at times it becomes unclear what’s at stake in the moment.

The characters are fine (saved by good performances), but they are very underdeveloped. I cared a little bit about Sam’s character after the minimal amount of information supplied, but it was not enough for me to be on board with the journey she goes on. Eric’s character is even more flat. He just kind of appears in the movie out of nowhere, and aside from a few lines of reflection about his past, we know absolutely nothing about him. There are pretty much no other characters in the movie that we know anything about, and thus there are very few people worth caring about.

Also, I did not find “Day One” nearly as white-knuckled as the first two movies. There are a few moments that are a little bit tense and/or frightening, but I did not find myself gripped by any of them like I did in parts 1 and 2. This is probably due to the poor characterization in the film. As for jump-scares, I counted five or six, and I think all of them miss the mark. I saw most of them coming a mile away. While there are many aspects of the movie that I simply didn’t like, the tension, suspense, and scares in the film are one of the few places where I think the movie truly came up short. They wanted to scare me and make me worry, but for the most part it does not work.

Speaking broadly, there is not anything in this film I can think of that is novel or new compared to the first two. As a result, there are many missed opportunities. For example, I was looking forward to watching everyone have to gradually learn that survival means being quiet. However, it seems that people pick up on this very quickly, and so it is not as interesting as it could have been. Also, I wish we could have seen more Djimon Hounsou in the movie, as he is the only human connection between “Day One” and the rest of the franchise. Biggest of all, in my opinion, we really didn’t learn anything new about the monsters that was not given in the first two movies.

The last negative thing I’ll put in this section is that there are almost no messages, either good or bad, to take away from the film. When it ended, I wished that “Day One” had given me something morally poignant or thought provoking to draw from it and think over (something the first two movies did excellently), but I did not get that from this film.

Content of Concern

I think the best thing I can say about “Day One” is that it has a minimal amount of bad content within it.

VIOLENCE: Moderate to Heavy. There are a handful of scenes where the monsters are reeking havoc amongst humans in the city. A few times Sam and Eric are chased around by the monsters. There is very little blood or gore in these scenes, but we see the monsters grab, drag, hit, and throw humans. There are probably 5 or 6 jump scares, 1 or 2 being false. A man covers another man’s mouth in order to keep him from yelling, and accidentally kills him by knocking his head against a wall.

LANGUAGE: Mild to Moderate. Most of the language occurs within the first two minutes of the film where Sam says “shit” 7 or 8 times in a support group. Someone later comments that he wishes she had not done that. I think I heard one use of the F-word early on, but it’s easily missed. Other than this I think there may be some mild name-calling. I was refreshed to not hear any vain references to deity.

NUDITY: Minor. Early on Sam is changing, and we see her lower back. A few times she places a medication patch on her abdomen.

SEX: Minor to none. Two unmarried people embrace on a street.

DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Mild to moderate. Sam depends on medical drugs for her well-being, and this results in Eric having to retrieve some for her to use. At one point she says, “Every muscle in my body is on fire,” and that drugs are the only thing that can help. There are also a couple times where they consume whiskey in an abandoned bar. There are some beer bottles lying around in places.

Occult: None.

Wokeism: None.

Moral Elements

There is very little to put here, either good or bad. The main message is unclear, but it seems to be about survival, friendship, and living life while the living’s good. More specifically, Sam does show a few acts of kindness throughout the film, such as when she gives food to two hiding children. Eric is a kind person as well, in one part risking his life to gather some important drugs for Sam. There is one part where people take refuge in a church, but nothing is said about it.

In terms of negative moral elements, the only thing I can think of is that there are a few times where Sam gets argumentative or frustrated with people.

Final Thoughts

I hated “A Quiet Place: Day One” walking out of the theater, but now that I’ve had a chance to cool down a little I think that that hatred is mainly due to imbalanced expectations that made me treat the movie a little unfairly. While it’s definitely not a bad movie by any means, it’s not great either, and it does not offer anything new that was not in the first two movies, the lone exception in my mind being that “Day One” shows what the invasion would be like in a big city.

Thankfully the offensive content in “Day One” is minimal, and therefore there isn’t much that would keep a Christian viewer from seeing it. At the same time, there isn’t any compelling reason to see it, either. It does nothing great nor terrible, and therefore it’s in a strange sphere of neutrality when it comes to being able to recommend it.

In my opinion, this is the “Quiet Place” sequel that did not need to be made. The only reason to watch it is if you’re a die hard fan of the franchise who simply wants to add this notch to your belt. Keep in mind, however, that it’s a big drop in quality from the first two entries. As a result, I can either recommend nor dissuade you from watching it. The decision lies with you.

  • Violence: Moderate to Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Moderate
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Mild to moderate
  • Profane language: None
  • Nudity: Minor
  • Sex: Minor
  • Occult: None
  • Wokeism: None
Q & A

Words of wisdom about discernment in making good decisions about personal entertainment

Learn about spiritual darkness versus light

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—As a fan of the first two movies, I really enjoyed this prequel. It was the story of one person, on day one, and the choices that she made. It was a human story with monsters thrown in. The main character is on hospice, and we learn in many ways throughout the film that her time is very short. In one of her poems, it is expressed that her life is down to seconds in the big scheme of things. This is the motivating factor for the decisions that she is making, including the search for that last piece of pizza that will likely ever exist on earth. It is a great summer popcorn flick that will draw you in emotionally and provide tense moments and a few jump scenes. Better still, it can be enjoyed by those who have not watched the previous two films.

From a Christian perspectIve, the film has little to no morally objectionable content. The characters express qualities of love, compassion, generosity, self-sacrifice, remorse, concern for others, etc… I highly recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Kay, age 60 (USA)

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