REVIEW: The Quiet Ones

6 08 2014

The Quiet OnesI don’t quite know what I was expecting when I followed a group of friends to see “The Quiet Ones.”  When I looked it up on IMDb, all I really saw was Jared Harris from “Mad Men” and assumed it must be a prestige drama.  But as we walked in, I heard someone mention it was a horror film … and at that point, it was too late to turn back.

The films in that genre I like are few and far between, and most of those I can actually get behind are ironic or self-aware.  If I want to be scared, normally I go to more artfully crafted films like “Requiem for a Dream.”  A more atmospheric horror can get underneath my skin and chill me to the bone, leaving me terrified long after the movie ends.

“The Quiet Ones” is quite the opposite, resorting time and again to the oldest trick in the genre’s book: the jump scene.  You know the drill, where everything grows eerily quiet or tranquil, some strings begin to play, and then WHAM!  Out of nowhere, something jumps out and scares you.  It’s effective for an immediate jolt, though the scare dissipates the moment the surprise is revealed.

Was I scared?  Sure.  I’m not ashamed to admit that “The Quiet Ones” got the better of me on multiple occasions, and I quickly fell into a routine of plugging my ears and averting my eyes from the screen.  So in some small sense, the film is effective.

But “The Quiet Ones” fails to do anything else interesting and will likely be of little use to anyone other than adrenaline junkies who thrive off the jump scenes.   The plot of the film is really only filler to string together these jolts of terror.  And even though the story follows Harris’ Oxford psychology professor and a group of students (including one played by Finnick from “Catching Fire,” Sam Claflin) as they perform an experiment on a disturbed woman, the proceedings are void of any mental stimulation.

It’s just the same old schtick, destined for $5 DVD bins at the CVS checkout registers and BuzzFeed lists about other movie projects of “Hunger Games” cast members.  But if you’re only in it for the cheap scares, chances are the blandness of “The Quiet Ones” was never something that concerned you anyways.  C+2stars


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