'A Quiet Place: Day One' reminded me why this is one movie franchise to always watch in theaters

Henri (Djimon Hounsou) covers the mouth of Sam (Lupita Nyong'o) and signals her to be quiet in the aftermath of the alien invasion in A Quiet Place Day One.
(Image credit: Alamy)

I've seen every "A Quiet Place" movie in theaters, and it never fails to be an immersive experience. The latest spin-off prequel, "A Quiet Place: Day One," was no different. As we watched the terrifying alien creatures with an acute sense of hearing violently descend upon the world, the rest of the audience and I collectively held our breath. Just like the characters, no one dared make a peep. 

Sure, keeping quiet during the show is expected for theatergoers (though, as anyone can tell you, that's not always the case) but this silence was different, more tense. You could feel how on edge everyone was, which became especially apparent as my husband and I went to leave after the credits started to roll. The door made a loud squeak that rang out throughout the theater, and we all collectively froze like deer in the headlights. It was bizarre to witness, almost as bizarre as the hint of relief in the laughter that followed. But it speaks to the level of immersion that seeing these movies in theaters can bring to the viewing experience. 

Set in Manhattan, "Day One" begins with text over an aerial shot of the city informing the audience that the Big Apple has an average noise level of 90 decibels, equal to that of a constant human scream. And of course, those words come back to haunt us later in the movie. 

Lupita Nyong’o stars as Samira, a surly patient at a hospice center just outside the city. She makes it clear early on that she's made peace with whatever time she has left on this Earth, which is an interesting take for a protagonist in an apocalypse film. Still, nurse Reuben (Alex Wolff) manages to convince her (along with her emotional support cat Frodo) to come on a field trip to the city with the promise of a New York slice, which is naturally when all hell breaks loose. 

A Quiet Place: Day One | Official Trailer (2024 Movie) - Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn - YouTube A Quiet Place: Day One | Official Trailer (2024 Movie) - Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn - YouTube
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Given the nature of these monsters' superhuman hearing, survival is inherently a communal act. We saw as much in the first two "A Quiet Place" movies, but never before have we witnessed so many strangers forced to work together to survive. They catch on to how the monsters work impressively quickly, but then again, I suppose you'd have to. In the first few hours after the initial invasion, Samira huddles with dozens of others in a silent theater, everyone still terrified and confused about what exactly is going on but nonetheless confident of one fact: to make a sound will kill them all. 

However, as the statistic at the beginning of the movie hints at, sometimes noise is a communal act as well. We see this as thousands of otherwise silent survivors make their way to a dedicated safe zone, their individual breathing, shuffling footsteps, and stumbles building into a collective cacophony that brings the hordes down on everyone. 

Part of the allure of horror films is the sense of audience participation; by witnessing these spine-chilling terrors and escaping unharmed, there's a catharsis to be experienced. Seeing the "A Quiet Place" series in theaters is the ultimate extension of this idea, which is why, so long as they keep making them, you'll find my butt in a seat on opening weekend — quiet as a mouse. 

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.