Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Quiet Ones (2014)

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. The Quiet Ones is another in the long line of movies that people can point to and use as an example of all that is wrong with modern horror. There are, of course, many fine examples to counterbalance this awfulness, but it can often be easier to remember the bad than the good.

Jared Harris is Professor Joseph Coupland, a man convinced that if people can cure one person who seems to be affected by supernatural forces then that could lead to a cure for the masses. He aims to test his theory on a troubled young girl named Jane (Olivia Cooke), and enlists some students to help him. Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne) and Krissi (Erin Richards) are there to, apparently, help with the scientific side of things, while Brian (Sam Claflin) is asked to document everything on film.

It's hard for me not to use this review as an excuse to string together a lot of expletives. Hammer have gone from being "the studio that dripped blood" to "the studio that dripfed audiences jump scares" and those responsible for dross like this are, as far as I'm concerned, tarnishing a good name that was once, despite some ups and downs, synonymous with fine British horror.

The script by Oren Moverman, Craig Rosenberg and John Pogue (who also directed) alternates between uninteresting moments, horribly unbelievable moments, and those jump scares that I just mentioned. It's based on an original screenplay by Tom de Ville, although with all the rewriting done I can only imagine how far removed this is from the original work. As for Pogue's direction, it's mediocre at best.

Claflin tries hard in his role, at least remaining earnest in most of his scenes, but he can't do enough to make up for the lack of presence that Fleck-Byrne and Richards have. He also can't distract viewers from the fact that Harris and Cooke end up desperately overacting to make up for the fact that their characters are so poorly written.

Basically, nobody comes out of this looking good. I would feel sorry for the cast if most of them didn't seem to be compounding the script problems. And I haven't even mentioned the ridiculous finale, another insult that throws in a couple of "twists/revelations" that will only come as a surprise to the youngest, and most naive, horror fans. And I actually mean pre-teens.

Technically competent is about the nicest thing I can say in my attempt to end this review on a positive note. But it's definitely not worth your time.


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