In Review: The Quiet Ones

by Daniel Goodwin on 04/04/2014


After justifying their reanimation with decent adaptations Let Me In (2010) and The Woman in Black (2012), Hammer’s latest film, The Quiet Ones, is a lopsided swerve into hack banality. Despite an intriguing central concept about real-life experiments on personality disorders, an area that has not proved the basis for a truly interesting horror since the excellent Session 9 (2001), The Quiet Ones also mixes telekinesis and demonic possession into the equation for, what should be an alluring concoction, but one that is sloppily executed with botched results.

Oxford Professor Coupland (Jared Harris) gathers a gamut of renegade students to develop and harness a poltergeist from a teenage girl’s (Olivia Cooke) alternative personality in attempt exorcise it and cure her disorder. After the department’s finances are pulled the gang gather in an appropriately eerie estate to conduct further experiments, trigger a flurry of jiggery CGI fright sequences and uncover some hidden secrets about each other in the process (basically who fancies who).

Director John Pogue (Quarantine 2: Terminal) needlessly hews exhausted clichés from similar, better pictures to deliver a slice of lugubrious tripe. Rather than generate fears from the plot, characters and performances, The Quiet Ones resorts to unimaginative boo jumps while riffing on traits from 70’s horrors such as The Omen (1976), The Amityville Horror (1979) and The Exorcist (1973), which it directly references, along with the found-footage films of recent years.

Despite some nice editing, sound design, and a few interesting shots in the opening, like so many modern, mainstream horrors The Quiet Ones is a weary and predictable slog through template plotting with flat characters, abysmal performances and shoddy visual effects. Harris as the chain smoking Professor injects pantomime elation while the grating, younger cast struggle to convincingly harvest drama from the source .

Hammer CEO Simon Oakes recently stated recently that the revamped studios MO was to produce the kind of films they would have continued making in the 1970s had they not closed their doors at the time. But instead of clinging to their past, Hammer should be looking to the future and ways to develop original, interesting concepts that would genuinely terrify a modern audience who are thoroughly desensitised by dated ghost train antics and Hammer’s trademark kitsch.

Daniel has awarded The Quiet Ones one Torch of Truth


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