The only thing quiet in The Quiet Ones (2014) is the true motivation behind the film. From Hammer Films and the producers of 2012’s The Woman In Black and the unnecessary remake of the beautiful Låt den rätte komma in (Let The Right One In) (2008), with 2010’s Let Me In, I admit to expecting a better atmospheric horror ride.
At a glance, the film appears to fall into the documentary horror genre where the majority of the film is purported to be found footage or actual documentary film. Although films in this category existed before, they really gained speed after The Blair Witch Project (1999) garnered international fame through basic but solid filmmaking and very clever advertising.
It adds to this by claiming to be inspired by actual events – similar to the recently more popular hit, The Conjuring (2013), although details of the “actual event” are not easily found as they are for the characters featured in The Conjuring.
The Quiet Ones is the story of a Harvard professor and some young colleagues who are attempting to prove that possession is actually the physical manifestation of a person’s negative energy.
Too new age for you? Well, it actually works relatively well to set-up the suspicion in the viewer that there is more going on here than a psychological experiment. Professor Coupland’s processes are immediately suspect, even in the early 1970’s when modern rules for use of human subjects was not fully developed. Played by the great Jared Harris, Coupland ropes in a couple students and a young documentary photographer to assist in the voluntary imprisonment of a young woman with a mysterious background, played well but ultimately shallow by Olivia Cooke. The inspiration to the film – the Philip experiment – differs greatly from the film.
The film is a mixture of documentary style filming and regular movie filming cut together rather than limiting itself to only when the camera is on. And it works very hard to try and create a creepy atmosphere and tension, even adding in two potential love triangles.
But it ultimately fails in two ways.
First, the title of the movie only becomes apparent when it is blatantly stated by a character. I can’t say more without giving it away except that it wasn’t what I expected. In this case, that wasn’t a good thing.
And second, the climax and final reveal were disappointing, to say the least.
After all of that, you’d think I wouldn’t recommend The Quiet Ones. However, I did enjoy the film for something easy to watch late on a Sunday night. It didn’t require as much emotional investment as I’d expected and it does still provide a sufficient number of jumps to keep it above the average offerings in the horror genre – and especially the documentary/found-footage sub genre.
I do look forward to Pogue’s next offering and always enjoy Jared Harris’ contributions to any film or show, even if one of them is another unnecessary remake under the guise of “reimagining”.
Previews for movies mentioned in this review:
Unfortunately for Chloë Grace Moretz, this was the first of 2 unnecessary and unremarkable remakes of horror movies. Although beautiful, they offer nothing except to compound the evidence that Hollywood is only there for profit and that Americans are gullible. The other being 2013’s lovely but ultimately soulless, Carrie.