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'A Quiet Place: Day One' Review

LightsCameraJackson LightsCameraJackson Critic “A Quiet Place: Day One” is the latest installment in Paramount’s popular sci-fi action horror franchise. 2018’s “A Quiet Place”, starring Emily Blunt and John Krasinski (with Krasinski also in the director’s chair) opened to $50 million, totaled $188 million domestically and earned Blunt the Best Supporting Actress SAG Award. “A Quiet Place: Part II” was supposed to be released in March 2020, but the COVID pandemic delayed it to May 2021, becoming the first film to cross the $100M mark in North America in over a year. (It totaled $160M.)

Plans were put into place for a “Day One” prequel (without Krasinski directing), even though “Part II” begins with a scene that takes place on the first day of the alien takeover, with fireballs coming down from the sky. And that’s exactly what we see happen again in the “Day One” movie, directed by Michael Sarnoski (of the 2021 Nicolas Cage drama “Pig”).

Soon, hospice patient Samira (played by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o), new friend Eric (Joseph Quinn) and a cat must grapple with trying to survive for as long as they can in a now collapsing New York City. Nyong’o’s performance is fine but not extraordinary. Frankly, the best thing she does is welcome audiences with a special intro by saying “Turn Off Your Phones and Be Quiet.” Can she do that before every movie?

I had issues with slightly gimmicky, core story aspects of the first two “Quiet Place” films, and I have even more problems with “Day One” — a standard suspense thriller with not much to say and hardly any new information and understanding of the situation, which is underwhelming. There’s also an over-reliance on the cat and the characters’ yearning for pizza in the emotions department. Lengthy scenes have endings you can predict many minutes ahead of time. The primary “suspenseful” element remains staying quiet… not making any sounds… so you don’t get killed. The action sequences aren’t surprising and only one or two actually hold your interest.

I wish “Day One” advanced things beyond a bit of a backstory of Djimon Hounsou’s character Henri (who was also in “Part II”). If there’s another chapter in the “Quiet Place” saga, it should be the final one, to wrap-up this franchise in a hopefully satisfying way. Krasinski doesn’t necessarily have to direct it, and Blunt and Cillian Murphy (who re-teamed for last year’s “Oppenheimer”) don’t have to dominate the screen time. But “The Final Day” makes a lot more sense than another unnecessary, repetitive, money grab side story that’s a slog to get through.

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LightsCameraJackson LightsCameraJackson Critic

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