Synopsis: Tucked away in an estate outside of London, Professor Coupland along with a team of university students conduct an “experiment” on Jane Harper, a young girl who harbors unspeakable secrets. What dark forces they uncover are more terrifying than any of them expected.
Release Date: April 25, 2014 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller
Hammer Films is one of the legendary horror production companies, having built their reputation picking up where Universal left off with classic monster movies like The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, and The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb. Hammer has evolved over the years, but the company recently proved that they still had what it takes when they released The Woman in Black in 2012. Now, theyâve followed that up with The Quiet Ones.
Taking place in the early seventies, The Quiet Ones stars Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) as Professor Joseph Coupland, a teacher at Oxford university who asks audio/video enthusiast Brian McNeil (Sam Claflin from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) to document his newest experiment, shooting every minute of the methodology with a movie camera. Joseph’s project involves the researching and eventual curing of a girl named Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke from “Bates Motel”) who is showing signs of ghostly possession. Rounded out by a pair of Joseph’s students, Krissi (Open Grave‘s Erin Richards) and Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne from Vampire Academy), the team gets to work. As the experiment progresses, Brian notices that Joseph’s methods of research are rather unorthodox; he seems to be bent on torturing Jane instead of helping her. Soon enough, Brian realizes that Joseph is not the scientist that he thought that he was, but Jane has her own set of secrets as well. Brian has to figure out who he can trust so he can learn who he should help.
The Quiet Ones begins with the standard horror movie disclaimer that the film is “based on actual events.” The truth is that The Quiet Ones is based on the same case of paranormal manifestation and psychic manufacturing as that mercifully forgettable film from 2012, The Apparation. The Quiet Ones does a much better job of adapting the “facts” into an interesting film, thanks to the slick direction of John Pogue (Quarantine 2: Terminal) and a competent script by Pogue, Oren Moverman (I’m Not There), and Craig Rosenberg (The Uninvited). It’s a compelling story, and one that hasn’t been told a million times over, despite the sharing of its source material with an inferior film. It’s a mixed bag of horror ingredients; it’s got little elements of psychological and supernatural terror combined with aspects of haunting and possessions, all simmering in a pool of good old-fashioned bloodshed. Even though it is set in the seventies, The Quiet Ones is still a modern take on an old fashioned ghost story, and it does what it does well. In short, it’s another triumph for Hammer Horror.
Brian’s movie camera is present in just about every scene of The Quiet Ones, so the inclusion of his footage is entirely organic. John Pogue and cinematographer Matyas Erdely (Miss Bala) manage to blend the 16mm footage in with the higher quality material, allowing the film to shift effortlessly between traditional filmmaking and a found footage approach. Mixing the two allows The Quiet Ones to keep the best aspects of both methods; the movie is not as jumpy and nauseating as a standard faux-documentary, but looks more authentic and unsettling than a slick Hollywood production. The amateur camera work of Brian’s footage allows certain things to be hidden from the viewer, but the film does not suffer from the same motion sickness inducing shakiness that turns people off from found footage films. Photographically, The Quiet Ones walks a thin line, and balances upon it pretty well.
There aren’t as many scares in The Quiet Ones as there should be in a Hammer ghost story, and even fewer of them are genuine. Through skillful manipulation of the camera and its frame, the film manages to build a decent amount of tension and suspense. However, most of the scares come from simple loud noises on the soundtrack, a technique that is effective for the first couple of jumps, but gets annoying at about the halfway point of the movie. When the film is still doing it after that, the audience starts to have the worst response possible; they expect the loud noises, and nothing more. There is a bit of knuckle-biting to be done during the film, but all of the loud jump scares ruin any real chance of experiencing true terror.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): John Pgue
- Screenwriter(s): Craig RosenbergOren MovermanJohn Pogue
- Cast: Jared Harris (Professor Joseph Coupland)Sam Claflin (Brian McNeil)Erin Richards (Krissi Dalton) Rory Fleck-Byrne (Harry Abrams)Olivia Cooke (Jane Harper)
- Editor(s): Glenn Garland
- Cinematographer: Matyas Erdely
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Lucas Vidal
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA