Film Review – The Quiet Ones
The Quiet Ones
My writing reviews of horror films is one of trepidation and gullibility. I do not like them unless seeing them with a bunch of friends, I am easily scared, and I usually fall for all of the tricks in the horror film book. Enter The Quiet Ones, a film I only really volunteered to see (by myself) because of the actors (Jared Harris and Sam Claflin) and the English setting.
The Quiet Ones is set in the 1970s and is inspired by actual events. It centers around “The Experiment.” Professor Joseph Copeland (Jared Harris) is studying and teaching paranormal psychology at Oxford. With the help of two students, Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne) and Krissi (Erin Richards), and newly acquired cameraman/documenter, Brian (Sam Claflin), Copeland experiments on a young girl named Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke) who presents with a supernatural element emanating or following her around. Copeland is determined to cure Jane and this figment of her imagination. He is convinced that she is not haunted by a demon or ghost. He uses the phrase “Cure a patient, save mankind.” I have no clue what that even means, but he believes Jane is that one patient. Originally, The Experiment is housed on-campus, but when funding is pulled, the group relocates to a house in the country. This is where the bulk of the film takes place.
From the beginning, the question of ethics in this experiment bothered me. Yes, I know this is fictitious, but I believe Oxford in the 1970s had research standards. Keeping a girl locked up and testing her constantly for paranormal activity gives me pause. Granted, when they relocate to the country house, that may have been Oxford cutting ties with Copeland. Brian is the only one who questions what is going on with Jane and sympathizes with her. Apparently, no one else has any morals. You know from the beginning that Brian that will save her and ultimately derail The Experiment.
The film moves at a slow pace and feels much longer than its 98 minutes. The story is a series of small tests on Jane trying to evoke her “Evie” or the name she gives her manifestation that haunts her and those around her. The results of each test get a bit more frightening. It isn’t until Brian decides to do some research on Jane and her new burn scar that things speed up. Things speed up so fast and violently that it is off-putting. The film saves all of the big scares and reveals for the last twenty minutes. I have a feeling most of the audience will be lost in boredom before that hits.
Most of the film is maddening because of the decisions made. Let’s move to a house in the middle of nowhere. Let’s not get Jane help with any injury she receives. Harry, Krissi, and Brian utter the words “doctor,” “professional help,” or “hospital” so many times, but no one ever does anything. Copeland is determined to keep her hidden away.
The Quiet Ones is another sub-par horror that relies on the distressed, haunted, possessed, and helpless girl as its central figure of intrigue. For once, I would like to see a guy in that role. The meaning of the title is not even mentioned until towards the end and it comes out of nowhere. This is another horror film that does not do anything new for the genre. To add insult to injury, the film ends on a very similar note to Paranormal Activity. If bangs, knocks, muttered words, and falling cameras are what gets you into that terrified mood, then by all means, The Quiet Ones is for you.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbnFb3yX4Zk&w=560&h=315]