The Quiet Ones (2014)
Editor’s Notes: The Quiet Ones opens in wide release today, April 25th.
Contemporary horror films have become a dime a dozen. You remember them in the moment, thanks to advertising campaigns and creepy trailers, but you will inevitably forget that they even exist (I had completely forgotten about The Apparition until it recently played on cable). There are standouts amongst the schlock, but for every Insidious, there are twenty more horror films like One Missed Call and The Devil Inside. John Pogue’s The Quiet Ones, which was just released in theaters, is another entry in the slew of throwaway horror films. It is moody and atmospheric, but it relies too heavily on the (extremely loud) bumps in the night.
It is moody and atmospheric, but it relies too heavily on the (extremely loud) bumps in the night.
The film follows Professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) who tries to manifest a spirit/poltergeist/thing (honestly, I’m not even sure how he labels this force) from a tortured young woman, Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke). Joseph enlists the help of his two assistants, Krissi (Erin Richards) and Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne), and a cameraman, Brian (Sam Clafin), to aid and document his sessions with Jane. The film unfolds like any clichéd horror film: the spirit makes noises, skeptics try to rationalize the phenomena, the members of explore dark hallways, and the audience continues screaming, “Don’t go in there! S/He’s gonna die!”
The creators of the film try their best to authenticate the story by using tactics that were done by better movies: claiming the film is based on a true story, intercutting the film with what looks like 16mm, setting the story in 1974, and ending the film with vintage photos of the “actual” crew that inspired the story. These tactics drag on through the film’s short runtime, making the audience jerk out of their seats, but never truly scaring anyone. Any residual effects of terror will inevitably wear off on the ride home from the theater, and you can be assured that you will have a good night’s sleep.
…Is it a possession film? Is it exploitation? In either case, the film creates a haphazard and poorly constructed story…
My personal issue with the film is its inability to conceive what it is. Is it a ghost story? Is it a possession film? Is it exploitation? In either case, the film creates a haphazard and poorly constructed story that isn’t based on any type of research (heck, you can watch “The E! True Hollywood Story: The Exorcist” to find out the stages of demonic possession). Jane Harper’s haunting/possession is less like those in traditional horror films and seems more like one from a cheap knock-off DVD in the $5 bin at Walmart. Moreover, the characters are poorly constructed and seem more interested in sleeping with/desiring one another rather than trying to locate the thing that is opening doors and crashing into walls.
Within a couple of months, people will forget that The Quiet Ones even existed. There is nothing remarkable about the film and its tactics will be recycled into new horror films, most likely under the moniker “From the ________ who brought you The Quiet Ones.” For those whose have shorter attention spans, The Quiet Ones will be a cheap way to spend a Saturday evening, but for those who enjoy the slow pace of 70s horror, The Quiet Ones will just be another sad reminder that the horror genre is on its last legs.