The Reel Review

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A New Yorker dying of cancer finds herself on the run after alien creatures invade earth, going on a lightning-fast, deadly rampage, hunting by sound. Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn star in this third installment in the Quiet Place sci-fi/horror franchise, a prequel which sheds light on how the alien invasion started.

Lupita Nyong’o in A Quiet Place: Day One

While there are plenty of scares and horrifying close-ups of our terrified stars surrounded by monsters, at its heart, A Quiet Place: Day One is about the importance of living in the moment when faced with imminent death and surrounding yourself with those people, things and memories that bring you joy. Nyong’o’s Sam has one dying wish – to revisit the Harlem jazz club and pizza parlor that she frequented with her father as a young girl, monsters be damned. Quinn (Stranger Things, Overlord), as a British law student who befriends Sam on her odyssey, is excellent, but this is Nyong’o’s moment to shine. Alex Wolff (Hereditary) is Sam’s hospice nurse, and in a nice nod to his appearance in A Quiet Place: Part II, Djimon Hounsou has a small role as a theatergoer and alien attack refugee.

Joseph Quinn and Lupita Nyong’o in A Quiet Place: Day One

Just as he did as writer/director of 2021’s Pig, which starred Nicolas Cage as a truffle hunter devastated over the kidnapping of his beloved pig, Michael Sarnoski injects a lot of thought-provoking messages about processing grief and loss. While it will frustrate moviegoers looking for a repeat of the prior two films, this makes his unexpectedly sentimental horror/thriller a fresh take on the genre. At times there isn’t much of a story, and the use of the cat at times, while cute, is a bit twee, A Quiet Place: Day One is the rare horror film with a sentimental edge, making it a creative and heartfelt standout.

REEL FACTS

• Lupita Nyong’o says she was terrified of cats and couldn’t even be in a room with them prior to this film. She underwent cat therapy, being around cats at her home in Los Angeles for several days, to overcome her phobia. She now has a pet cat.

• Initially Paramount executives wanted a CGI cat to play Sam’s beloved Frodo, but relented when co-writer/director Michael Sarnoski insisted on using a real cat, using two kitties to play his feline star.

• Although set and filmed in New York City, some scenes in the movie were filmed in London.

 

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