Monday, May 5, 2014

Post Mortem: The Quiet Ones

     A thriller to say the most, a horror film to say the least, The Quiet Ones paints itself as a new film about a girl that is haunted by some eerie spirit that just won't let her go. The patient, Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke) is a young woman who can make things happen with her mind, which has the scientist in charge of her therapy, Professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) convinced that her paranormal happenings can be channeled away from her physically and psychically, which will purge her of her mental illness. Dr. Coupland approaches cameraman and film student Brian McNeil (Sam Clafin) to film the entire experience. He agrees and so they take to studying the girl and what causes her to react.

     They start this off by depriving her of sleep and keeping her in a locked room, with only a doll. Jane is innocent enough, almost to the point that she is a child, and she falls quickly for the cameraman, as he does for her. Brian, throughout the film tries to get Jane out to see professional help, something other than the inhuman experiments that the Professor is performing (one of which leaves her burned, yet another leaving her hands seared from holding her doll). Eventually she begins exhibiting signs of being haunted, and they catch these hauntings on film and camera. The movie ends on a twist where we learn that Jane isn't haunted, but is possessed by an ancient god that was implanted in her by a secret cult many years ago. They learn this after she psychically brands several people with the symbol of the cult.
     This film is agonizingly slow at first, and builds tension throughout. The screenplay was originally written by someone else before three others got their hands on it, altering it in ways that would make it into this poor excuse for horror. I imagine the original writer is mighty upset about what happened to his work, but what can you do? The tension builds to small outbursts of paranormal activity, before being drained like a lanced boil, leaving us with naught but a sour infection instead of the chills a horror film is supposed to induce. I watched this movie with another person who has, throughout his life, been heavily involved in theater and acting. Besides the Professor, the acting was sub-par and muted, where it could have been far more drastic and yielded far better results.
     The Quiet Ones is a film that goes silently into the night, never to return to memory save for when Netflix or Redbox inevitably garner it for a time. Then it will be relegated to the fringes of our memories, the very vestiges of our consciousness.
     And we will be better for it.  

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