HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Quiet Ones
HTS Overall Score:76
It’s that time of year once again. That time when the horror entries go from a trickle, to a steady stream, to a downright deluge come October. It’s the time of year where I love to watch a creepy movie late at night, with all the lights in the house turned off and the sound turned up. I have to say I love a good scare (I would play Doom 3 only late at night with all the lights turned off as well, headphones on and I ended up waking me wife up a few too many times with a startled scream). Horror movies come in many different flavors, almost the Baskin Robbins of the film industry, we have torture movies, slashers, Supernatural, paranormal, found footage, ghost stories, hoax horror films, psychotic villains, the list goes on. My least favorite subset of horror happens to be the paranormal ones, as they are usually cliché ridden and just not scary. I went into my viewing of “The Quiet Ones” with very low expectations and came out pleasantly surprised. Sure there’s some clichés and the film relies on jump scares much of the time, but if done properly those jump scares can be quite effective. Especially since the film didn’t really let you know if the paranormal force was real, made up, or actually an evil entity till the very end.
The story revolves around the attempted rehabilitation of one Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke) by an Oxford professor, named Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris), during the mid-1970s. Jane supposedly suffers from a mental ailment, one that has frightened off adoptive family after adoptive family as Jane manifests certain “abilities” under stress. Dr. Coupland firmly believes that Jane’s powers are a manifestation of the mind, an extra sensory power that she has created and manifested through the subconscious. With proper treatment and experimentation the good Dr. believes that he can cure Jane’s psychosis and thus finding the cure for mental illness the world over. Bracketed by his assistants Krissi (Erin Richards) and Harry (Rory Fleck Byrne), Dr. Coupland sets out on the experiment in his Oxford estate. Wanting to document the process he brings in young Brian (Sam Claflin), an up and coming film student to film and record all of the goings on in the house.
Things start out ok, Dr Coupland subjects Jane to many a night of sleeplessness and hypnotisms in order to try and get her to manifest her abilities. So far it’s just been a few instances of unexplained occurrences, but as time goes on Jane starts to manifest, giving name to an entity that is supposedly of her imagination, calling her alter ego “Evie”. As the days go on Evie starts to come out more and more, so much more that Jane’s little alter ego starts to show things, things that can be documented on camera. To make matters worse the Dr. shows an unhealthy obsession with his patient. At first it seemed like he was looking for her well-being, but Brian begins to notice things about him, his refusal to believe in anything other than his theory, the looks he gives Jane, his inappropriate relationship with Krissi, all start adding up to something, especially when “Evie” starts burning sigils on Jane’s body, sigils that Jane should have no knowledge of. Delving deeper into the past, Brian finds out things about Jane, about why she can’t remember anything beyond a few years ago, findings that will shake the good Dr. to his core or send him over the edge. This all leads up to a twisted third act that finally answers the question we’ve all been asking. Is Evie a manifestation of the human subconscious, or is she something more?
“The Quiet Ones” is not a perfect film. There are some cliché’s in the horror universe that just can’t be ironed out of the final script, and it’s certainly no “The Conjuring”. It’s set during that same 1970’s era, but the pacing doesn’t quite live up to that incredible horror film. However, there’s enough creep and questions to keep the viewer guessing till the third and final act. Dr. Coupland is so sure of his method, so sure of the paranormal being explainable by science, that you almost begin believing it yourself. I had a few problems with the 1st couple acts, but overall I had a very good time, and by the end of the film I had a wicked grin over my face as the last few moments are deliciously creepy and sent a chill up my back.
The first act is a bit drawn out and is really just introducing us to the characters, to Dr. Coupland, setting up Brian’s lack of belief in the paranormal and situation ourselves with the damaged goods that is Jane. As the film progresses things start to become more real to the participants of the experiment and questions start being asked. Everything still is within the realm of possibility, but the third act is really where the fun begins. Brian starts asking questions and starts digging into the past, unearthing some very disturbing facts that both Jane and Dr. Coupland are blissfully unaware of. From there it’s a straight shot to the finish, running over some well used horror techniques, but enjoyable nonetheless. The majority of the scares tend to be of the “Jump” variety, but instead of being useless joke scares most every one of the scares is really a frightening or unnerving experience, instead of misleading us with the jumps, it actually misleads us with our core beliefs in the film. It’s not stellar film making, but as a minor paranormal film it does a good job of steering us away from the ludicrous and the stupid holes that so many others before it have fallen into.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, sexual content, thematic material, language, and smoking throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=24801[/img]The image for “The Quiet Ones” is a bit of a mixed bag, as it attempts to blend a 1970’s atmosphere with a bit of “handicam” style filming. The film is split up with some of the scenes being shot in your standard 3rd person point of view and shows a very excellent image, while the other portion of the film is shot from the point of view of Brian as he films the experiment from a handheld video camera. The portion shot from the 3rd person point of view is quite good and shows a remarkable clarity, with lots of fine detail showing through. The color palette tries to emulate the slightly washed out and boosted contrasts of being filmed in the 70’s with lots of pastels and dirty browns covering the film. There’s a few instances where the film shows some inherent softness and lack of focus, but close ups look incredibly detailed and crisp. The handicam footage is shown as a 4x3 image inside the 16x9 frame and has had plenty of post processing to make it look it it’s a grungy, speckle covered old film camera, which gives it an almost “found footage” type of feel. Black levels are excellent in the standard filming scenes, showing lots of detail and still remaining inky black, while the handicam sequences carry a lot of crush and a distinct lack of detail in the blacks.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=24809[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track is certainly a forceful track, if nothing else. The movie employs a lot of jump scares and during those sequences the LFE pulsates and throbs with an incredible weight behind it, smashing things around the room and assaulting the viewer with an oppressive low end. When not employed as a scare tactic it fades into the background, hovering just out of sight until it leaps out to say “Boo!” again. Dialogue is crisp and clean with only a few moments where something was unintelligible, mainly due to the English accents. The surrounds are used very frequently to immerse the viewer in the experience, pulsating with about as much energy as the LFE track has. My only complaints with the surrounds are that there is a distinct lack of detail, everything in the film pulsates with that energy that I mentioned, but tends to be used as a heavy mallet, beating you over the head with a roar of sound, but one that’s hard to distinguish individual noises from. It’s GOOD, but the lack of detail between noises tends to draw it down from great.
• Audio Commentary With Director John Pogue and Producer Tobin Armbrust
• "Welcome to the Experiment" : Making "The Quiet Ones" Documentary
• "An Ominous Opening"
• Deleted Scenes
“The Quiet Ones” was actually a very pleasant surprise for me. Paranormal horror movies are a dime a dozen and usually are so cliché ridden that they become a joke in and of themselves, but this time the clichés were blended rather decently with a few surprises that allowed the viewer to suspend disbelief long enough to all the story to take on a life of its own. Some things are done right, some things are done wrong, but in the end it’s a very watchable movie amidst a sea of unwatchable takes on the genre. The audio and video are quite good, and even the flaws are mainly artistic in nature so I’d definitely recommend a watch for those who love the horror subset of film.
Starring: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cook
Directed by: John Pogue
Written by: Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Blu-ray Release Date: August 19th, 2014
Buy The Quiet Ones Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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