The Quiet Ones (2014)

The Quiet Ones (2014)

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He quickly lost interest in the lecture and his thoughts turned to the Hunger Games instead.
He quickly lost interest in the lecture and his thoughts turned to the Hunger Games instead.

Twitter Plot Summary: Retreating to a creepy old house, a professor studies a girl who is purportedly possessed and resolves to cure her with science.

Five Point Summary:

1. An experiment? On a girl, you say?
2. Heading to a creepy abandoned house. Yeah, wise move.
3. Manifestation!
4. The relationships are getting very confusing…
5. Yep, very obvious. Oh well.

Hammer made a successful return to film production with the 2010 remake of Let The Right One In (renamed Let Me In) after 30 years in limbo. Since then they have released four films including this, The Quiet Ones. Mixing “found footage” with traditional direction, our story takes place in the 1970s as local cameraman Brian (Claflin) takes on a job for Professor Coupland (Harris) who is conducting an experiment to try and cure a young girl of her possession/manifestation of her fears. He believes that such cases of possession have a basis in science and can be expelled under the right conditions – good luck with that, prof. When the professor loses his university funding he retreats to an abandoned house with Brian, test subject Jane (Cooke), and two students assisting with the study, Krissi (Dalton) and Harry (Fleck-Byrne).

Where The Quiet Ones fails is in its insistence on using the old faithful routine of unnecessarily loud sound effects to elicit a few jumps from its audience, and in a script that does nothing new. The merest noise is enough to justify being cranked up on the audio track by 1000%, making you jump involuntarily rather than through fear.

Then there’s the story itself, rife with cliches that we’ve seen a thousand times before. There’s nothing original about this tale, one of spiritual possession, satanic emblems and creepy old houses bathed in darkness. The few genuinely good moments – a brief instance of silence punctuated by a creaking door, uncertainty over whether the test subject is truly possessed, random acts of possible poltergeist activity – are lost in the mire. And this is the true disappointment – that the script isn’t enough to match the performances, that the staple genre cliches get in the way of you enjoying the story and stop you from being genuinely scared.

Something something something... evil baby doll.
Something something something… evil baby doll.

As the plot develops it runs through the gamut of stereotype scares. Needless trek into a dark attic? First person footage to make it feel like you’re living the sequence? A random door creaking just because it can? All present and correct. There’s some genuinely good buildup in the opening half – strange occurrences, doors opening by themselves, the constant reminders to not talk to Jane or look into her eyes – but all are ultimately without purpose. I did however enjoy the performances – Claflin is spot on as the conflicted cameraman, Cooke is fantastic as the possessed test patient, and Jared Harris is always value for money. He exudes the qualities of a prim and proper school professor yet has an edge to him that implies he could snap at any moment.

There’s also unnecessary drama regarding the relationships between several of the characters that doesn’t add value and mostly confuses the issue. Yes there is conflict as a result, but the whole possession thing should be enough without needlessly complicating the narrative. Have basic distrust amongst the group, of course, but this story goes a step too far and interlinks everybody. Furthermore if you don’t see the ending coming, you really need to see more horror films.

Score: 2.5/5

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