May 30, 2014
"The Quiet Ones" is supposedly based on a true story about Jane Harper, a girl with strange telepathic powers. Set in 1974 in Oxford, this film follows Professor Joseph Coupland and his team of young collaborators, who keep Jane locked up in an isolated house, seemingly to seek out a scientific explanation to phenomena. However, it does not take long when the horrific phenomena takes on the team members themselves.
Playing the fragile test subject Jane is pretty Olivia Cooke. She has that wide-eyed innocence in her face which contrasts with her persona when the evil Evie takes possession of her.
We met Sam Claflin last year when he was cast as Finnick in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." In contrast with that former breakthrough role, Claflin does not show much confidence here, playing the naive cameraman Brian. He sensitively tries to keep balance between his duties as an objective technician with his growing concern about Jane.
Prof. Coupland was played with conviction and authority by Jared Harris. He captures that questionable character of this primary senior investigator, whose sense of research ethics seems to be misplaced. His young scientific associates Krissi and Harry were played by Erin Richards and Rory Fleck-Byrne. Despite their fun-loving personalities, they play characters who were serious in their scientific intentions at first, until the supernatural events turn their passion into confusion.
The horror aspect of this film may not too scary for today's standards. However, the tension is really built up so well, it is riveting. Occasional jump scares were delivered by perfectly placed musical cues and sudden sound effects. This film is more about delivering the total creepy and menacing atmosphere, rather than the usual cheap thrills or gore.
The main conceit of this classy horror film is its retro chic look of 70s England. The British actors all look so stylish, cool and attractive. The costumes, the attitude, the music were all captured on point for the period. For jaded horror film fans who want something different that looks and feels different, this may be for you. That this is the latest production of Hammer Films (of classic Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing horror films) may be another factor in its favor. 6/10.