‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ Review: Lupita Nyong’o Commands the Screen – The New York Times

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The chills are more effective than the thrills in this prequel to the “A Quiet Place” franchise.

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The cat. It’s all about the cat.
No matter what else happens in “A Quiet Place: Day One,” no matter how sensational Lupita Nyong’o is — and she is — her character’s feline buddy is going to take over the story and, likely, the discourse around it.
Mind you, there also was a cat, Jones, in “Alien,” a movie that’s a major influence on the “Quiet Place” universe — one in which aliens land on Earth and massacre everybody for no reason besides sheer killing instinct. John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” (2018) and “A Quiet Place Part II” (2021) laid down the basic parameters, mainly that the creatures’ extremely developed hearing makes up for their blindness, and they hate bodies of water.
But Jones was peripheral to “Alien,” the masterpiece that kicked off a franchise revolving around body invasion. Our fearless new hero is very much embedded in the theme running through all three “Quiet Place” movies: the importance of family, whether biological or chosen.
In Michael Sarnoski’s prequel, Frodo (played by both Nico and Schnitzel) is the support cat of Samira (Nyong’o), a New York City poet living in crippling cancer-induced pain in a hospice. She takes Frodo everywhere, including an outing to a puppet show, where the audience members include a man (Djimon Hounsou) whom viewers of the second movie will instantly recognize. When the invasion begins, he is quick to impart the importance of making as little noise as possible to avoid alerting the attackers.
Somehow borne on meteorites (don’t ask), the aliens immediately get down to their gruesome business. The movie allows us a few good looks at the toothy monsters, who made me think of hellish Giacometti sculptures. But otherwise Sarnoski (who made the endearing Nicolas Cage drama “Pig”) does not add all that much crucial new information to their basic character sheet — “Day One” is refreshingly free of origin story explaining.
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