The Quiet Ones – Review

April 25, 2014 10:25 am

Hammer Films rarely produce a horror film that isn’t that scary. The Quiet Ones is the execption to their rule. In a way, however, Hammer Films does succeed in making an okay-ish film, despite its inherent lack of truly ‘jumpy’ moments. Sporting the ‘based on a true story’ tagline that by now should be classed as a cheap marketing cliché, The Quiet Ones tells the story of Oxford Professor, Professor Coupland (Jared Harris) as he tries to create a poltergeist alongside a small crew of students, one of which films the events of the film (how convenient).

The Quiet Ones seems to have an identity crisis as it tries to tread the water of being both a romance story and that of a supernatural thriller. Coupland’s experiment subject is a depressed young woman named Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke) who has forgotten all of her past and all that she knows now is that something horrible is troubling her and that she sees Coupland’s unorthodox experiment as the only way out. The issue with Jane Harper is that as far as seemingly possessed young women go, she presents no real conflict to the other central characters and is otherwise a perfectly complying subject. The main crux of the story is not that of her ‘possession’ or what appears to be a possession, but her developing relationship with the young camera man, Brian (Sam Claflin) and his pursuit to save her from Coupland’s experiment. Very rarely throughout the narrative does anything supernatural arise and threaten the experiment or the other central characters. To be fair, when they do arise, Director John Pogue handles these tense scenes very well. However, these moments are few and far between and do not last long enough to really satisfy fans of the genre.

quiet-onesBut perhaps, not being a conventional supernatural horror, a different narrative focus had to be taken. There is nothing to be taken away from Olivia Cooke’s performance, she played the character as it was written and did so extremely well. To be a sympathetic character rather than one to be revered in such a film is no mean feat. The instinctive reaction coming into a film marketed in this way is to fear her, but it eventually transpires that the reaction Pogue is trying to gauge  is that she is to be saved.  This sort of role-reversal for Jane Harper must and is counteracted with one of the films other characters.  The trouble is, when this does happen, and without going into too much detail, it does not feel like some sort of big reveal as it does feel contrived. The plot-twist isn’t so much subtly alluded to as much as it is slapping you in the face for the last half-hour.

Despite its lack of true scares, The Quiet Ones is an interesting cross-breed between a love story and a supernatural horror. The central relationship that develops between Harper and Brian – despite the most unusual circumstances, is the main crux of the story and is crafted in such a way as it is not too up-front but enough to solidify itself as the narratives main plot point. Whilst this probably won’t end up topping the list as best horror film of the year anywhere, it will likely satisfy the general audience goers but true fans of the genre may leave a little disappointed.

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