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September 5, 2014

Movie Review: The Quiet Ones (2014, Blu-ray)

Oh, the 1970s. Filled with feathered hair, bell bottoms, and unsanctioned experimental medical treatments of psychotically tortured young women. The Quiet Ones brings us Joseph Coupland, a British abnormal psychology professor who truly believes ‘troubled’ people can manifest their negative energy through telekinesis. Once they do that, they can put it...somewhere and it can be destroyed permanently. Hence, Professor Coupland would be able to cure mental illness forever.

No small feat, that.

Coupland has already signed on two students, Harry and Krissi, who truly believe in Joseph’s theories and work. Brian joins last and his job is to film everything. What is everything? Professor Coupland already has a patient, Jane, and they will be performing experiments so she can finally rid herself of whatever is plaguing her.

Too bad the University thinks Coupland is cuckoo for cocoa puffs and pulls all funding. But that doesn’t deter our intrepid professor. He procures some run down abandoned house in the sticks and continues torturing poor Jane until she gives up the goods (I mean teleplasm not sex, you pervs) on the part of her psychosis she has named Evey.

As the experiments continue, Brian begins to develop feelings for Jane. Some of them are love and attraction but another is also growing concern as it’s obvious Jane’s body is taking quite a beating. Exhaustion, cutting, burning, not to mention her psyche being fractured and bombarded with guilt trips from the Prof.

Brian is determined to save Jane, despite Coupland’s douchebaggery, and does a bit of research on her and this Evey. Seems some of the manifestations that come through the experiment seem to be less Jane’s mind and perhaps an actual entity named Evey. What he finds is mind boggling but even that can’t prepare them for the full truth.

The Heimlich maneuver didn't go as planned that evening.

I’m still processing how I feel about this film. Parts of me thoroughly enjoyed it. The acting has been far superior to much of the crap I have to wade through in this job. Jared Harris plays the Professor and I just adore him. He’s got such great range and has played a lot of characters I’ve enjoyed over the years. Sam Claflin played Brian and though he’s been in two movies I’ve seen (and hated) I couldn’t remember him. Believe me, after this I won’t forget him. Brilliant actor who made it easy to relate to his character. He reminds me of a British Desmond Harrington (who starred in Ghost Ship which was written by John Pogue who directed The Quiet Ones!). And let’s not forget Olivia Cooke who played Jane. Impressive performance.

The film did a decent job of creating an unsettling atmosphere. That whole feeling of isolation - the location of the run down house, the team being on their own with no support, the Professor in his single-mindedness to prove his theory - is almost hammered into our brains so we don’t forget it. I wouldn’t say it was creepy but definitely fidget inducing. I also liked the idea of science utilizing telekinesis as a legitimate way to rid a person of psychosis. It was kind of like watching The Ghostbusters if they weren’t a gang of goofballs.

You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Aside from that, though, the film felt rather lackluster. It relied a bit too much on jump scares, the subtle ambient noises building to ear bleeding levels then suddenly dropping out or even just loud sudden noises (usually the sudden burst of EMF screeching). After the tenth or eleventh jump, I started getting irritated (because I easily fall for all the shit. Every. Fucking. Time.)

Though the acting is great, the characters themselves are mostly assholes. It’s hard to really care about what they’re doing to Jane when it’s all in the name of science and they can’t step back for two fucking seconds to realize there’s a tortured human being at their mercy. They’re also very cliche and fit into a picture perfect hierarchy: father figure Professor leading the scientific charge; his two unquestioning minions, one of whom is getting a little hanky panky with the Prof on the side; the skeptic. And though there’s some epic slaughter near the end, the actual end itself was a major let down.

Taking all into consideration, this is an average film that's worth at least one watch. Maybe two but just for the performances.

2.5 Hatchets (out of 5)

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