A Quiet Place: Day One review – "Lupita Nyong'o and Joseph Quinn are excellent in this gripping spin-off"

A Quiet Place: Day One
(Image: © Paramount)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Adding a dose of 28 Days Later to the mix, this is a gripping spin-off centred on a powerhouse performance.

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Lupita Nyong’o heads up this A Quiet Place prequel, which takes place – as the title suggests – on the day blind, violent aliens come bouncing down to Earth. The star is tremendous as Sam, an outspoken poet who is terminally ill and living in a hospice. She gets a chance for a trip to her beloved New York City when the hospice organizes a day out at a show. But – you guessed it – the show is interrupted by sirens, and an emergency that sends the city into a panic. 

Quickly realizing that the aliens are attracted to noise, the citizens hide where they can and try to keep schtum. We follow events from Sam’s perspective as they unfold in what feels like real time – and it’s gripping stuff. Like the previous two films, this finds the right balance between nerve-racking action and thoughtful character-building scenes. 

Day One is refreshing, too: Sam is in many ways an unusual hero for a mainstream thriller. She is emotionally strong, but physically ailing, and she is also accompanied by a winning companion: Frodo the cat, who immediately enters the hall of fame of great felines in cinema. Accompanying Sam everywhere (often on a leash), the black-and-white kitty shows intuition and loyalty, as well as remarkable restraint when it comes to vocalizing his feelings – any cat owner will recognize how fortunate this is in this particular apocalyptic predicament. 

Another spot of role reversal comes via Eric (an excellent Joseph Quinn), a frightened law student who looks to Sam to reassure and protect him. The pair have a tangible connection as they share whispered and signed details of their lives – and with the end of Sam's life looming, along with many others, there are poignant reflections on mortality, memory and how we choose to live – and die. 

The first Quiet Place movie not directed by John Krasinski (who has a joint story credit), Day One is written and directed by Michael Sarnoski (Pig). And while it shares plenty of DNA with the first two films, it has its own distinct character. It's a compelling and moving watch – and as always, you might want to choose your moments to grab the popcorn...

A Quiet Place: Day One is released in UK cinemas on June 27 and in US theaters on June 28. 

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