Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Quiet Ones (2014)

Inside voices dammit. Inside voices!

Man, I really wanted to like this film. I am old school horror, Y'all knows that. And Hammer Horror was a company that could be relied on in decades past for grand horror spectacles. So with their return to the genre with The Woman in Black a few years ago I was all kinds of ready for The Quiet Ones. Alright before we get into it, lets get the plot out of the way.

Plot - Two students (who appear to blindly follow - ), a professor Joseph Coupland (played by the always entertaining Jarred Harris), and a film guy - Brian McNeil (the very good Sam Clafin), go to a remote house to "cure" a woman, Jane (a very talented Olivia Cooke), who the professor believes is telekinetic and severing severe emotional issues. This results in a whole lot of crazy shit that seems to suggest she is possessed... but is she? Luckily the camera guy is there to capture it.

Ok. This movie started off fantastic. Solid opening sequence, I didn't really know much about the film so finding out it was set in the 70s - great. Finding out it was based on a true story... Ah, you know what I don't even wanna bitch about it anymore. Whatever, sure, this really happened. The set up is pretty cool with a small group deciding to carry on with "The experiment" involving the young troubled woman, after the university pulls their funding.

Where are my cookies!!!!!
And the camera guy comes along. So once they get out to the house, things really heat up. Ok I'm gunna say this out right... and I could be wrong, feel free to correct me... The film cuts from standard to hand held, featuring the cameraman's footage. Now... I think cameras in 1972 didn't exactly come with amazing mic built in. I mean I know its a little tiny bitty thing... but the whole movie I just kept thinking... where's the boom hahaha.

Moving past that, because hey, I could be wrong. The movie is actually pretty intense at the beginning. Hell, I'll even give it the first 3rd. The tensions between the crew and the professor over his increasing dangerous methods... Jane's decent into madness, and the strange connection forming between her and the camera man... all very good and intriguing. The problem is this film is 98 minutes and feels like two hours or more. The reason is the pacing is probably the first I have seen in a long while.

I notice... You brought your camera.
The movie basically follows this trend for the whole second half... Creepy thing happens... argue about whether its Jane or a possession or they should seek help... creepy thing happens... argue about if it's Jane or possession or they should seek help... That's it other than the last say 12 minutes. And the creepy things that happen sometimes just seem so thrown in that it breaks any momentum the film might wish to build.

I mean the professors determination, and desire to avoid the truth is so bat shit crazy that by the end of the movie you just don't care. Cults. Demons. Psychological issues, whatever, it just doesn't matter. And the one relationship they have somehow managed to make you care about, Brian and Jane, they completely screw up in the end. Right, twist ending, who didn't see that coming... what, no happy? Just stupid bad shit happening to everyone? Yup, ain't seen that before, glad you really threw me a twist there...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Hammer you should know better!

Listen as I sorta mentioned at the start, the acting is very good. Every actor gives their all. Olivia Cooke in the lead role is indeed a rare and captivating beauty. Hmm... "Rare and captivating" I've been reading too much lately haha. But she is amazing, and Sam Caflin brings a lot to the camera who can't help but fall for her. Hero syndrome I imagine... but they are good. The writing just lets them down often, despite their efforts to sell every shot.

This film was 40 minutes away from greatness, and then 5 minutes away from being above average... as it is, hardly worth mentioning. Yes there are a few scares, and genuinely creepy moments (A huge shout out to the lighting guy, especially in the very well shot attic scene). But it's just not enough and most of the scares are shameless jump scares anyway...

Le sigh.

Movie scale 2 out of 5 stars
Horror movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars

ONE LINE REVIEW: Close, but no Hammer. 


-Charles B. Boonsweet.

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