I Love The First Two Quiet Place Movies. Why Day One Is Going To Have A Hard Time Winning Me Over

 Lupita Nyong'o in A Quiet Place: Day One.
Credit: Paramount Pictures

I’m one of those “I don’t like horror” people, meaning I’m the guy that “real horror fans” hate. I’ll claim I don’t like horror movies, and then I’ll come out and happily talk about how much I loved the first IT movie or that I’m a big fan of Jordan Peele. Maybe to most people, there’s no real difference between these films and your average slasher, but to me, I feel like there is. This difference is exactly why I love both A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place Part II, but I have significant reservations going into the A Quiet Place: Day One release date this week.

I’m interested in seeing A Quiet Place Part III if that day ever comes, and there could be any number of spinoffs that might also be something I’d like to see. But an origin story for this particular film franchise may have stripped out everything about A Quiet Place that I love.

John Krasinski in A Quiet Place.
John Krasinski in A Quiet Place.

The Quiet Place Movies Were Unique Theatrical Experiences

A Quiet Place was a massive box office hit when it was released, and a big part of the reason for that was likely the word of mouth that came from people seeing the movie in theaters. The theatrical experience of A Quiet Place was unlike almost anything I had ever seen, or in this case heard... or I guess actually not heard before.

A Quiet Place was built on its silence. The monsters followed sounds, and so the characters did all they could to be as quiet as possible. It was a unique angle for a horror movie, one that will likely make for an equally unique Halloween Horror Nights house at Universal Orlando this year.

A Quiet Place virtually required silence from its audience, so much of the movie takes place with little to no noise that silence is simply required for an audience to hear everything that is there to be heard. Still, A Quiet Place got engagement from its audience on a whole other level.

The screaming and jumping that comes with many horror movies is part of what I don’t love about that genre. I’m easily startled by jumpscares, and it’s difficult to eat popcorn when you’re afraid you’re going to spill it all over yourself when the monster jumps out to eat somebody. At the same time, the screaming and jumping are part of the communal experience of horror films. Viewers are expected to do that sometimes and it’s part of the fun. If everybody is scared together, everybody is having fun.

But A Quiet Place asked people to be quiet. It was like the audience was afraid that if they made too much noise, the people on the movie screen would be heard. People who might otherwise have let a yell out in a different horror movie tried to stifle it. We all tried to support each other and will each other to remain silent.

Something about that experience was a big part of the reason that A Quiet Place was so much fun to see. The filmmakers knew this, with the release of A Quiet Place Part II, being held off so that people could see it in theaters rather than simply releasing it digitally as so many films did during the pandemic theater closure.

Djimon Hounsou and Lupita Nyong'o in A Quiet Place: Day One
Djimon Hounsou and Lupita Nyong'o in A Quiet Place: Day One

A Quiet Place Day One’s Origin Story Status Puts It At A Disadvantage

The problem is that A Quiet Place: Day One, by virtue of its premise and place in the story, strongly indicates that all of the focus on silence will be significantly downplayed, if not missing entirely. It’s not to say there won’t be scenes where people are very quiet to avoid being killed by a monster, which happens in most horror movies at one point or another. However, the movie’s overall atmosphere of silence will probably be gone.

A Quiet Place: Day One is basically an alien invasion movie. The monsters are going to come and the humans are going to fight, run and hide in equal measure. The Quiet Place: Day One trailer shows us more scenes of the creatures killing people than both previous films combined have. That’s not surprising or even a bad choice; it makes sense considering what’s happening.

But we have to guess that the fact that silence equals protection isn’t something humanity is going to easily be able to discover. It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing people would even guess at first. Even if some people can sneak past monsters by being quiet, that’s a far cry from discovering they are without sight.

And even if some people discover the truth, disseminating that information to the world is going to be difficult. Assuming the title of A Quiet Place Day One is mostly literal, and the movie only covers the first day or so of the invasion. That’s just not enough time for people to make too many groundbreaking discoveries about their attackers when billions of people are just trying to survive. If that were to happen, in order to shift the movie into a more familiar A Quiet Place vibe, I’m not sure it would work right as a story.

Lupita Nyong'o in A Quiet Place: Day One
Lupita Nyong'o in A Quiet Place: Day One

I Have My Doubts About Day One, But I Hope I'm Wrong

So A Quiet Place: Day One feels like it’s going to be a more traditional horror movie. i.e. film where a group of main characters try to avoid getting killed by a big scary monster. Some will succeed, others will fail. That doesn’t mean it will be a bad movie. It could still be a very good version of that sort of film. It just doesn’t sound like A Quiet Place, but instead like every other horror movie ever. I'm not excited about that sort of movie.

I could be wrong, and I hope I am. I watch every movie hoping to like it, so I’ll be optimistic when I see A Quiet Place: Day One. Perhaps there’s a way the movie will thread this needle and find the way to tell an origin story without losing what made A Quiet Place special.