THE QUIET ONES (2014)
What horror fan isn’t happy that Hammer is back in business making horror flicks and they seem to, so far, be trying to deliver them in that old fashioned gothic horror style they are famous for. The latest flick from the legendary studio is The Quiet Ones a supernatural chiller about a young woman named Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke) who, upon appearance, is possessed by an angry spirit named Evey. But, her doctor, a Professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) believes the supernatural is simply manifestations of an unbalanced mind and intends to use Jane in experiments to prove that Evey is a manifestation of Jane’s own psychosis… or so he thinks. He brings along students Brian (Sam Claflin), Harry (Rory Fleck-Byren) and Kristina (Erin Richards) to assist and document his experiments in a secluded old house after being thrown off campus for his unconventional methods. As the experiments probe deeper and Brian documents with his camera, Professor Coupland may have to face some horrifying facts about the real truth of what is psychological and what is supernatural.
The Quiet Ones is an interesting supernatural thriller to a degree and has some spooky moments but, doesn’t really get scary and seems to get a little too theatrical in it’s final act for it’s own good. The film is set in the mid 70s and supposedly based on real experiments but, the film, directed with some atmosphere by John Pogue, never really pulls us into Jane’s torment or really makes good use of it’s story. Four writers are credited and maybe that’s why it seems to be a supernatural soup that someone keeps throwing ingredients into in the form of plot twists that aren’t all too surprising and sudden jolts of horror elements we’ve all seen before such as CGI vomited entities, popping light bulbs and boiling baths.Then, there is various human melodrama such as, is Brian falling for Jane, is Coupland shagging a student and what is his obsession with Jane anyway? None of the answers to these questions is either all too unexpected and some ultimately don’t really have much baring on the plot. It’s no surprise that we start to see Coupland as more Frankenstein than Freud and his motivations are quite cliche’ as these flicks go. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds. It can be entertaining at times and it’s never dull. It also has some spooky moments but, it’s never innovational or rises about the traditional cliche’s to tell it’s tale. Even the use of Brian’s film footage to give us a camera POV throughout seems convoluted and doesn’t really serve much purpose other than to try to add a little found footage element to the film. And that’s what brings this fairly well-acted and atmospheric chiller down, is that we’ve seen it all before and it comes to a predictable and familiar conclusion which is sad that none of the four writers could add a little innovation or originality even with it’s fact-based premise.
Pogue’s cast all are fine and do good work. Cooke makes a very sympathetic Jane but, can also be creepy when she needs to be. We like Jane and feel sorry for her as we’re not sure if Coupland’s experiments are doing more harm than good. As Coupland, Harris is effective as a man on the border between dedicated professor and mad scientist. Obviously he has personal reasons for his obsession and Harris convey’s to us that something is behind the man’s experiments before the plot reveals it. Sam Claflin makes a noble and likable hero in Brian and Richards and Fleck-Byren are adequate in their roles, though they don’t seem to add up to much when all is said and done.
So, in conclusion, The Quiet Ones is a moderately entertaining tale that doesn’t really make interesting enough use of it’s story and chooses to stay familiar and cliche’ despite the efforts of four writers working on it’s supposedly fact-based script. It has some effective atmosphere and performances and achieves some spooky moments but, never goes anywhere all that interesting with it’s story elements. I was never bored by watching it, but, also found very little of it memorable except for a couple of poor CGI effects that stuck out very badly in a film that seemed to use in-camera effects otherwise. Not a total loss but, very disappointing considering the directions it chose to go with it’s premise are ones already well traveled in the genre.
2 and 1/2 haunted heroines.