The Quiet Ones – UK, 2013 – reviews

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The Quiet Ones is a 2013 British horror film produced by Hammer Films and directed by John Pogue (Quarantine 2: Terminal). It stars Jared Harris, Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesHunger Games), Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards (Open Grave), Rory Fleck-Byrne (Vampire Academy), Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel) and Laurie Calvert.

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Scripted by Craig Rosenberg, John Pogue, Oren Moverman and Tom de Ville, the film is set in Oxford, England in 1974 and was marketed as being based on a true story.

An unorthodox professor uses controversial methods and leads his best students off the grid to take part in a dangerous experiment: to create a poltergeist. Based on the theory that paranormal activity is caused by human negative energy, the rogue scientists perform a series of tests on a young patient, pushing her to the edge of sanity. As frightening occurrences begin to take place with shocking and gruesome consequences, the group quickly realizes they have triggered a force more terrifying than they ever could have imagined…

Based on the theory that paranormal activity is caused by human negative energy, the rogue scientists perform a series of tests on a young patient, pushing her to the edge of sanity. As frightening occurrences begin to take place with shocking and gruesome consequences, the group quickly realizes they have triggered a force more terrifying than they ever could have imagined…

As frightening occurrences begin to take place with shocking and gruesome consequences, the group quickly realizes they have triggered a force more terrifying than they ever could have imagined…

Reviews:

“The film is most worth seeing for its two central performances, with Harris arrestingly enacting a ruthless man of science whose fixations he makes understandable, if not forgivable. And as the object of Coupland’s not entirely noble attentions, Cooke is very believably haunted and disturbed…” Michael Gingold, Fangoria

 

“Mixing creaky haunted-house and exorcism tropes with a nod to the contemporary found-footage subgenre, the film relies on high production values and sense-battering shock tactics to make up for wooden performances and an illogical, silly script. As an exercise in retro pastiche, it impresses. But as a postmodern genre reinvention, it fails to deliver.” Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

“The 1970s setting offers a retro feel that should strike appealing chords for fans of old-school horror, but there’s little here that’s exactly new or fresh, indicating a challenge for Lionsgate to make the film’s voice heard above the din.” Charles Gant, Variety

“Yet there’s interesting stuff here, in the mad paranormal science deemed reasonably credible 40 years ago and the assumption that telekinesis is empirically acceptable. Paradoxically, those frustratingly regular moments of rattling chaos are also when the film is at its most genuinely unnerving. Messier than recent Hammer output, but effectively chilling when it’s not making us feel the noise.”  Owen Williams, Empire Magazine

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” … the horrors of human fallibility give way to more predictable and silly upsets (yes, it’s our old friend telekinesis!), and though Harris and Cooke are wonderful together, other cast members — notably Erin Richards as sexy posh girl Kristina — are a problem. I’ve long had a theory that bad thesps have the ability to neutralise fear. Richards’ powers are off the chart.” Charlotte O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard

“… hackneyed stuff and nothing to get fans of the genre-jumping in their seats. Cooke is terrific, and so is Harris, who came to a memorably sticky end as Lane Pryce in Mad Men and seems destined for one here, too.” Brian Viner, The Daily Mail

” …well-acted, nicely shot and possessed with enough ideas of its own to distinguish it from the supernatural chiller crowd. Had it balanced its scares with its plot more effectively, it could have been an even more effective piece of modern horror.” Ryan Lambie, Den of Geek!

“Hammer’s latest is an enjoyably half-baked foray into the paranormal which mashes together ideas from Peeping Tom, The Exorcist, and Dennis Wheatley in a random fashion. In case we’re in any doubt of the early 1970s setting, Erin Richards wears hot pants and mini skirts while the sound of Slade is never far away – and nor is that of the screaming.” Geoffrey MacNab, The Independent

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