The Quiet Ones

The Quiet Ones

2014, PG-13, 98 min. Directed by John Pogue. Starring Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Laurie Calvert.

REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., May 2, 2014

Things just don’t go bump in the night in The Quiet Ones. They resound with the ear-shattering force of a sonic boom. But startling and scaring an audience are two different things. On that count, The Quiet Ones is a whimper of a horror film unworthy of the legacy of its production studio, Hammer Films. Purportedly “inspired by true events” – seldom a good sign in the genre – the movie recounts an Oxford professor’s unorthodox psychological experimentation (circa 1974) on an extremely damaged young woman named Jane Harper (Cooke). Jane isn’t simply a basket case who’s repeatedly attempted suicide and spent most of her adult life confined to mental institutions. In the view of Professor Coupland (played with creepy effect by Harris), she has an ability to manifest negative emotional energy in the disguise of paranormal events, such as telekinetically slamming doors and summoning other frightening visual and aural phenomena. The objective of his dangerous and unethical research (today we’d call it torture) is to disprove the supernatural and cure mental illness by extracting the bad juju from Jane’s recipient body and relocating it to another physical form for ultimate destruction. Re-reading this plot synopsis will not improve your comprehension of it.

What follows is a seemingly random series of events in which Jane bleeds, burns, or screams, accompanied by sound effects at full volume and a series of cigarettes chain-smoked by the madman in charge. There’s no sense of trepidation in The Quiet Ones, because suspense requires a cogent storyline to either create or defy the viewer’s expectations. This lack of plausible narrative is either the result of lazy filmmaking or shortcut editing. Either way, you lose. Even the appealing Claflin, who plays the naive and sensitive cameraman hired to document the proceedings, is unable to make this movie accessible on some level. Perhaps it was a strategic mistake for the Hunger Games sequel star to keep his shirt on during the filming of this movie. A glimpse of his bare torso might have made it momentarily interesting.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Jared Harris Films
Allied
WWII espionage thriller can't hold a candle to Casablanca

Steve Davis, Nov. 23, 2016

Certain Women
Wonderful performances imbue this subtle drama

Marjorie Baumgarten, Oct. 28, 2016

More by Steve Davis
Moffie
Brutality and sexual awakening in Apartheid-era South Africa

April 9, 2021

F.T.A
The suppressed anti-Vietnam war cabaret finally hits the spotlight

March 12, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Quiet Ones, John Pogue, Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Laurie Calvert

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle