The 2018 post-apocalyptic horror film A Quiet Place deservedly won critical raves and an Oscar for sound editing. Sound, and often the absence thereof, was used to build suspense and create extremely effective jump scares. The 2021 sequel followed the same basic rules. So it’s a bit jarring that the official trailer for the new spinoff film, A Quiet Place: Day One, is rife with the sounds of New York City streets. It’s written and directed by Michael Sarnoski, who co-wrote the original film with John Krasinski.
(Spoilers below for the first two films.)
As I’ve written previously, A Quiet Place had a simple premise: in early 2020, sightless extraterrestrial creatures wiped out most of the humans and animals on Earth. They hunt by sound thanks to their hypersensitive hearing and are difficult to kill because they sport tough armored skin. The film centered on the Abbott family, struggling to survive a few months after the initial invasion. Dad Lee (John Krasinski) was an engineer focused on keeping his family alive each day. Wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) was a doctor, pregnant with their fourth child.
Eldest daughter Regan was deaf—played by deaf actress Millicent Simmonds (who helped teach the rest of the cast American Sign Language since that’s how the Abbotts communicated when out in the open). Then there were her brothers: Marcus (Noah Jupe) and 4-year-old Beau (Cade Woodward), who was tragically killed early on by a creature, devastating the entire family (and the audience). Eventually, the family figured out the aliens’ weak spot (they were vulnerable to the high-frequency audio feedback of Regan’s hearing aid). Lee sacrificed himself to save his family, and the film ended with Evelyn, Regan, and Marcus armed and ready for an approaching pair of creatures.
Krasinski originally intended A Quiet Place to be a one-off standalone film, but it was a critical and box office hit, ultimately grossing $340 million globally against its modest $17 million budget. So naturally, there was a sequel featuring the surviving family members as they processed their loss and encountered other survivors, including Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a former family friend who lost his pregnant wife and two sons and became a bitter hermit. Regan decided to help the others defend themselves against the predators, and Emmett reluctantly joined her mission. Meanwhile, Evelyn and Marcus tried to keep the new baby safe and quiet while waiting for Regan and Emmett to return.
The pandemic delayed the film’s release until 2021, but it still grossed $297.4 million worldwide against a substantially larger $55 million budget. In my review, I called it “a powerful continuation of the original story that retains all the aspects that worked in its predecessor while exploring new themes and character development.”
The original film began in medias res over a month after the invasion. Krasinski briefly reprised his role as Lee in Part II’s opening flashback sequence, which gave us a brief glimpse of what happened on the day the aliens arrived. Day One is designed to be a standalone spinoff set in the same universe but following a different cast of characters, although Djimon Hounsou reprises his Part II role as the Man on the Island. There’s no official synopsis yet, just a single logline: “Experience the day the world went quiet.” Lupita Nyong’o stars as Sam, while Joseph Quinn—who stole our hearts as Eddie Munson in Stranger Things S4—plays Eric, a clean-shaven young businessman. The cast also includes Alex Wolff and Denis O’Hare in as-yet-undisclosed roles.
The trailer opens by briefly reminding us of what came before: the Abbott family on Day 471, before tragedy struck, followed by the survivors on Day 477, including a brief glimpse of Murphy’s Emmett. Then the clock winds back to Day 1 as Sam walks down the streets of Manhattan holding a pretty white cat. Naturally, all hell breaks loose as the creatures crash to Earth and promptly begin devouring any readily available humans. (They’re probably just cranky and ravenous after that interstellar journey.) There’s very little dialogue, and not much else happens, so we’ll have to see whether Sarnoski has successfully fleshed out a spinoff backstory for this fascinating fictional world.
A Quiet Place: Day One hits theaters on June 28, 2024.
Listing image by YouTube/Paramount