Three Oxford University students tag up with cigarette abusing teach Dr. Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) to document a young girl (Olivia Cooke) who is either A- Possessed by an evil spirit or B- Has some Carrie like powers that can be explained via science. Yup it doesn’t go too well....
I was stoked to see THE QUIET ONES
. I mean it’s from one of my favorite horror studios; Hammer Films
who came back from the dead strong with Let Me In
and The Woman in Black
(the less said about The Resident, the better). It also stars the lovely and talented Olivia Cooke, whom I am a big fan of due to her role in Bates Motel
. So I went in there wanting to love the movie, and although it was decent, I can’t say it left much of a mark on me.
THE QUIET ONES did have a lot going for it. It sported a potent initial premise (which reminded me of The Legend of Hell House
a bit) that offered up a handful of back-handing twists. The setting and time frame were endearing as well with the decrepit Gothic-ish house hitting the creepy bulls-eye as our main location while the 1970’s period was ideally conveyed through the appropriate costumes, music, set designs and even an old school visual style. With its sly use of conventional filming mixed in with some unsettling,"found footage like" 16 MM footage of the horror at play, THE QUIET ONES came off as a film that could have been shot in the 70’s and that’s probably the best compliment I can give it.
Then we had the cast which was simply fantastic and basically MADE the movie! Jared Harris was at his scumbag charismatic best as the obsessed doctor. He did overdo the “cigarette acting” though (I was getting cancer watching him puff away scene after scene after scene), but hey it was set in the 70’s and peeps smoked like champs back then, so all good. Olivia Cooke gave a sexy, stirring and eerie show as the girl who may or may not be possessed. She was so good here and gave layers to what could have been a one-note role. I expect an even greater career ahead for her! Erin Richards (who was so hot) and Rory Fleck-Byrne (dug that crazy white boy Afro) lent ideal support as the on and off student love birds while Sam Claflin was terrific as the emotional camera man with a conscience. He actually reminded me of a young Henry Cavill and basically acted as the heart of the film. Who knew?! Tag to all that a moving love story that crept up on me (I wish it was explored further), dread filled cinematography by Mátyás Erdély that horror-ed this one up and a fascinating (yet, again, underdeveloped) theme of science versus the supernatural and you get an okay little horror film.
It’s a bummer though because THE QUIET ONES could have been so much more. I hated how it cut corners to keep that PG-13 rating. When you have a scene with a naked girl being terrorized in a tub; you’re supposed to see something. I’m not saying that because I am a perv (okay, I am on some level) but cutting around nudity in a horror scene that was obviously supposed to have some neuters the scene in question. That’s not the Hammer I know. On top of that, for the first hour or so, the movie wouldn’t let its scare sequences breathe and kept on cutting them too short. Just when shit started getting interesting – BAM – the scene would end abruptly. The result? Loud noise boo scares aside; the flick wasn’t too frightening. Lastly, it felt like the story was stalling during its middle section. Do an experiment; something happens, cut it short... rinse and repeat. The story wasn’t moving forward and it got a tad redundant after a while. Instead of killing time, they should have delved in the meat of story/characters more, but that's just me
So, on the whole, even though THE QUIET ONES was fairly engaging throughout with some stellar performances, I can’t recommend it as big screen fodder and I doubt I will remember it in 3 days or ever see it again. So what are you gonna do? Tap or pass?
They kept frustratingly ducking the female nudity in the name of that PG 13 rating. If you don’t blink though, you’ll see half of some dude’s butt-crack. Bah!
THE QUIET ONES kept my interest, was well shot, had a spooky mood to it, was brilliantly acted (Olivia Cooke truly shined here) and had a couple of visceral twists in its back pocket. Too bad that the flick kept ruining its own scares scenes by cutting them too short, that the "stalling heavy" middle section got redundant after a while, that it didn't explore its themes/love story enough and that it pussied out too much in the name of nabbing that PG-13. Now that I think of it, without that superior cast, the flick wouldn't have worked – the actors were my numero uno anchor as to keeping me in this one's game. In short, The Quiet Ones was a decent time waster, no more, no less.