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The Quiet Ones – 5

Director – John Pogue

Cast – Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Laurie Calvert, Aldo Maland, Max Pirkis

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I honestly did not pay any attention to this film before it came out, and I did not even know about it until the day it debuted in theaters. Despite my love for the roles Jared Harris plays I just felt like this film would be a disappointment. The storyline interested me because it takes place in the 1970s and I cannot recall a POV footage horror film set in that era, but I still had my doubts. Sure enough, I waited until this hit the discount theater, and even with the much lower prices I feel like I wasted my time with The Quiet Ones.

Professor Joseph Coupland and a team of student assistants conduct an experiment on a young woman with strange abilities, uncovering a terrifying paranormal force they are not equipped to handle.

The story, with four credited writers, took off quickly and set us into the tone of the film. The characters are introduced and it is made obvious that Professor Coupland will be the hardline researcher who will stop at nothing to achieve the results he desires. He has one of his film students document the ordeal, and much to my surprise the film shifted from traditional third-person format to POV format without notice. Normally the third-person scenes showed what was happening to the cameraman during the paranormal experiences, so I did appreciate this “different” approach to the found footage sub-genre. I liked the setting, from the 70s time era to the spooky home the researchers move to when their funding is pulled, but that is about all I liked about this story. The characters are unlikable and there is no one to root for, not even the “possessed” girl with the antagonistic abilities. Their mission is also one that feels unfulfilling. For the longest time you can never really tell what they hope to accomplish. It feels they are trying to help the girl get rid of the demon’s grasp, but you know there is an underlying purpose. The problem is that neither of these ideas are executed well or to potential, and instead they take away from one another. It is not a bad idea, but the poor writing execution made it a counter productive one. I cannot say I have not seen this happen before when a screenplay has four credited writers.

Director John Pogue did a decent job with the film’s locations and atmosphere, but more times than not the execution of the story was poor. The acting performances are brash and lack the compelling elements that draw in the viewer. As usual it was a joy for me to watch Jared Harris do his thing, but even his performance felt forced to endure the poor character-writing. I wish that I could say that despite all of this the horror was worthwhile, but it was not. We are given plenty of the usual cliché jump scares, and there was never a time when I felt my body tense up because of good pre-scare execution.

Overall, The Quiet Ones is a film hardly worth discount prices that suffers from both poor writing and directing execution. Story-wise it is unfulfilling, the direction fails to bring it to life, and the scares are of the cheapest variety.

Rating: 5/10

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