…they would have had Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn play supporting players, and made the four-legged “Frodo” (played by the identical Nico and Schnitzel) the front-and-center star.

Imagine a major studio producing a $67 million franchise horror flick prequel and making it mostly or primarily about a cat….a fucking cat! Talk about a pure-genius move!

Silent, Stealthy Frodo vs. The Spider Monsters would have elevated A Quiet Place: Day One into the realm of major blockbuster art…a mind-blower that everyone would have to see and which would have easily become a Best Picture nominee.

The almost universal reaction to Edward Dmytryk‘s Walk on the Wild Side (’62) was that the black cat in the opening credit sequence was a far, far more compelling and fascinating character than the humans played by Laurence Harvey, Capucine. Jane Fonda, Anne Baxter and Barbara Stanwyck.

My immediate reaction during last night’s AMC Empire all-media screening was “this cat is Clint Eastwood…way beyond cool…no offense but my money’s on this guy and not the emotionally hamstrung, vaguely tiresome humans.”

I’m simply saying that as sufficient and approvable as Nyong’o and Quinn’s performances seemed last night, I identified more strongly with Frodo. Because he/she didn’t react with shock and tearful emotionality to those big brown spider monsters, and because this impassivity made him/her ten if not fifteen times more interesting. Plus the rooting factor would have been much greater because we know that left to their own devices, cats are much better at survival than humans….quieter, faster, able to hide better, never betrayed by emotion, etc.

I’m not putting down Nyong’o and Quinn. They’re excellent actors and very effective at inviting us into their emotional worlds. But they can’t compete with Frodo.

I’m not saying that A Quiet Place: Day One should have been entirely about Frodo, mind. Nyong’o and Quinn should have been given a certain amount of screen time, but as secondary or peripheral figures.