BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Quiet Ones
Intense New Slow-Boil Frightener Hit Hi-Def Home Video...
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Directed by John Pogue (Quarantine 2: Terminal) and based on a screenplay by Tom de Ville (adapted by writers Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman and Pogue), The Quiet Ones slow boils, building not unlike the thrillers and horror films of some 30 years back, when terror films exposed fans not to as much gore as possible, but instead to as much suspense and startling revelations, asking the question "What if?"
Loosely - really loosely - based on the Philip experiment, a 1972 parapsychology experiment conducted in Toronto in which a group of Canadian parapsychologists attempted to create a ghost, and thus proving their theory that the human mind can produce spirits, The Quiet Ones finds us in 1970s United Kingdom, with Oxford University Professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) trying to purge a young woman, Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke), of her psychosis. Through stress, hypnosis and routine, the Professor and his two assistants, Krissi (Erin Richards) and Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne), along with the experiment's chronicler Brian McNeil (Sam Claflin) take Jane to a secluded home in the countryside where they soon discover there's much more inside Jane than stress, fear, anxiety and anger.
Like other recent Hammer Films productions - 2010's amazing Let Me In and the brilliant 2012 film The Woman in Black - 2014's The Quiet Ones brings to life a different type of horror film, one that depends less on the seemingly popular blood and guts slasher formula and instead on the slow-building suspense formula that grinds the nerve endings until the only thing left to feel is fear. While some might consider The Quiet Ones slow at times, it's important to consider the temperance of the filmmakers as they ever so slightly reveal plot and character motivation. This builds mood and character instead of body counts and bloodshed and makes for a more stressful and internally strange scare versus the externally contrived frights forced from viewers of slasher films. That said, there are some scenes in The Quiet Ones where viewers begin to question where the film is going, why individual characters react a certain way and what motivates these characters. However, in a film of this sort, it's only natural the peaks and valleys of the film's plot rise up and descend down to finally find the climax that both seems realistic as well as leaves something to the imagination.
Throughout, The Quiet Ones depends on the dynamic character relationships between Professor Coupland (Harris), who's ready to sacrifice everything in order to accomplish his goal; his assistants Krissi (Richards) and Harry (Fleck-Byrne), young lovers who can't seem to find each others feelings; cameraman and chronicler Brian (Claflin), the only one willing to investigate the research subject thoroughly, and the research subject herself, Jane (Cooke), who both seeks to be rid of her personal demon as well as embrace it and use it selfishly. When revelations become reality and the truth begins to emerge, the Professor's beliefs begins to change and the entire team's motives become self preservation instead of research and experimentation.
Like many other psychological horror films, there's a lot of thought to glean from the film. While not really based on any real-life characters or story ("Based On A True Story" only goes so far), The Quiet Ones does force viewers to ponder what could be real were we to seek a higher understanding of not only ourselves and the plane of existence upon which we exist, but also the unimaginable planes of existence upon which the supernatural can and do collide with us. While truly we'll never know (no matter how many ghost hunting shows they put on TV!), the fact remains humankind seeks to understand the unexplainable and it always makes for interesting and engaging films.
The Blu-ray includes a number of bonus features, including an audio commentary with director/co-writer John Pogue and producer Tobin Armbrust, an engaging "Welcome to the Experiment: Making The Quiet Ones" documentary, an "An Ominous Opening" featurette and a number of deleted scenes and outtakes. The making of documentary is interesting as it shows the somewhat film limbo the film was stuck in prior to its completion. Likewise, the making of doc shows a bit of history to the real experiments performed back in the 1960s and 1970s, each seeking to find a rational explanation to the unimaginable. Otherwise, the deleted scenes are somewhat interesting for those looking to see what was cut and the outtakes are always good for a laugh or two.
Overall, The Quiet Ones delivers a slow-cooker of sorts, the kind that forces you to re-watch again, days later, to process and better understand what you've seen. While the screenplay delivers solid use of the characters and their varied roles, and the actors provide a sturdy cast for the film, the real star of the film is the subtle development of the film's hidden plot, the quiet questioning of what's really happening and the question "why does humanity continue to seek a rational explanation of the unknowable?" If the question's answer is anything like The Quiet Ones, it'll make for great entertainment, but it's doesn't end well for those involved in the discovery!
The Quiet Ones is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, sexual content, thematic material, language, and smoking throughout and is available on Blu-ray and DVD home video Tuesday, August 19 wherever fine home video is sold.
Last edited by JessHorsley; 08-18-2014 at 11:17 AM.
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Jess C. Horsley