Monday, July 08, 2024

Movie Monday: A Quiet Place: Day One

On the 4th of July, with temperatures in the high 90's here, we escaped to a movie theater to see the third movie in John Krasinski's Quiet Place series, an origin story called A Quiet Place: Day One. First, let's get some misconceptions out of the way. I don't like horror movies. Although these movies are about an invasion of gruesome aliens that hunt by sound, like its predecessors, this movie is a quiet (very quiet!) character study, with plenty of emotional depth, insights about humanity, and heart. And, yes, there are some gross and very dangerous aliens, too. Check out my earlier reviews of A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place Part II (I just reread them both and rewatched their trailers, and I would definitely watch the movies again!). Although John Krasinski helped to write this third movie, he and Emily Blunt and their film family do not appear in it, and he doesn't direct it. It's a new take on the setting and premise of the series.

The movie opens in a quiet nursing home environment, during a group therapy session. Sam, played by Lupita Nyong'o, is younger than many of the other residents and somewhat flip and disdainful of the group session. We soon find out that this is hospice care and Sam and the other residents are dying. While Sam seems brash and uncaring at times, she has a cat named Frodo that she clearly loves and is attached to, and it's obvious that her coolness is merely a shield to protect her. Reuben, played by Alex Wolff, is a nurse at the facility who leads the group session and convinces Sam to come with the group on an outing to see a show in the city by agreeing to her plea for real New York pizza afterward. She figures this will be her last trip to the city. Their bus takes them to the city, but the show has barely started when the alien invasion hits. Everyone runs into the street to see the fireballs fall from the sky and the gruesome aliens emerge. It soon becomes clear that the aliens hunt by sound, and people quickly learn to be quiet in order to avoid them. Announcements tell people to head south to South Street Seaport to board boats, but Sam has her own private mission and moves against the flow of people, heading north and clinging tightly to Frodo. She meets a British man named Eric, played by Joseph Quinn, who is also alone in the city, on a business trip, with no family or friends nearby. The two of them (plus Frodo) struggle to stay safe from the aliens, as Sam single-mindedly pursues her mission.

Michael Sarnoski helped to write and directd the movie and said in an interview that John Krasinski gave him almost total freedom to come up with a unique take on this apocalyptic world. What he came up with is brilliant because Sam has a very unique perspective during this disaster: she knows she is already dying (soon). And the focus here is squarely on the characters, especially Sam and Eric, as they are bonded by their terrifying experiences and confide in each other, as people tend to do in this kind of intense situation. The actors are all excellent, but Lupita Nyong'o's performance is especially good. It is a thriller, yes, with plenty of fast-paced scenes, but it also has a laser-focus on these two people, with plenty of emotional depth and heart. I cried at the end. For scaredy cats like me, while technically alien invasion movies are usually classified as horror, this doesn't feel like a typical horror movie, and my husband and I both noticed that there is no gore and the violence mostly happens off-screen (though those aliens are pretty disgusting up close). It's a unique movie experience, like the first two movies were, though with its own new twist on the theme. We both enjoyed it very much.

A Quiet Place: Day One is currently in theaters, which is the ideal way to see all three movies, if you can. It can also be purchased on YouTube for $25 or pre-ordered on Amazon for the same price. The first two movies are available on Amazon, Paramount+ and other services.

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