Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, sexual content, thematic material, language, and smoking throughout. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: April 25, 2014 Released by: Lions Gate Films
This new B-movie schlocky horror has some audio/visual flair of the retro variety but ultimately can't conjure up a crafty chiller.
The Quiet Ones (inspired by actual events in Toronto that had less satanic embroiled within it) stars Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, and Olivia Cooke and pits the scientific against the supernatural as director John Pogue infuses the recent found footage craze with the exorcism and poltergeist lore.
At Oxford University in 1974 Harris's chain-smoking psychology professor Joseph Coupland enlists amateur cameraman Brian (Claflin of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Snow White and the Huntsman) to help make a breakthrough on mental illness. Coupland's hypothesis considers demonic possession or a telekinesis (think Carrie) as a projection of internal instability.
Such is the case of the controversial experiment he plans off-campus at a remote run-down country abode after funding is dropped among local resistance. It involves locking Jane (Cooke of the small-screen Bates Motel) who's assured to be unwell by the randy, arrogant doctor in a locked room listen to loud music
(as British bands like Slade and T-Rex get to appease to an old-school horror vibe).
Jane's 'alter-ego' in Evey comes on as more than a freakish sinister phenomenon as Pogue invokes the rattling gotcha moments as a coven backstory begins to be shaded as Brian begins to be drawn to Evey. Especially as a creaky, spooky occurrences through markings and a doll as the proceedings gradually dim for Coupland and his lascivious acolytes as the detail to the post-hippie era is well-accoutered.
Yet, the slick sheen of the production burnished in tobacco browns with unexpected beaming flares from Brian's large video recorder doesn't render much genuine fright at least not steeped in gore similar to the approach of the more ominous, time and viewpoint rotating "Oculus". It doesn't help that the characters are for the exception of Coupland and a rather arresting Jane rather bland and one-dimensional similar to the bulk of the dialogue.
Harris and Cooke (who looks to have aplomb in the genre, not just of the Linda Blair variety) seems to relish their roles the most as the former teeters along mad scientist territory probably not as well as Vincent Price would have back in the day. Claflin through the naive A/V guy isn't nearly that interesting and won't ingratiate a crowd that the film is being positioned to influence.
With more experimental cutting edge and less adherence to convention The Quiet Ones would have made a more sonorous impact than on the eardrums and having some of the better qualities, ala Paranormal Activity rather than The Apparition.
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