The Quiet Ones
Hammer's latest horror gets too bogged down in cod-scientific mumbo jumbo
The return of Hammer films has so far been a mixed bag; The Resident was barely released, their Let The Right One In remake flopped, and only period ghost story The Woman in Black hit the mark. The Quiet Ones is another uncertain entry, with journeyman writer / director John Pogue offering a demonic possession story that’s set in 1974 Britain, but is very much part of the modern Insidious demonic possession cycle.
Jared Harris plays Professor Coupland, an academic with an interest in the paranormal as part of his vague search for a ‘cure for mental illness’. He enlists a group of students including cameraman Brian (Sam Claflin from The Hunger Games) and hot-pants sporting Kristina (Erin Richards) and invites them to a remote house where they conduct experiments on the brainwaves of troubled Jane (Olivia Cooke). The experiments get out of control, and Brian documents the action in found-footage style as Coupland struggles to control the group.
Aside from the deafening bangs and crashes on the soundtrack, there’s not much to see in The Quiet Ones; stranded in a dull-looking house, and with little action, Pogue’s film gets bogged down in conversation and cod-scientific mumbo jumbo. There’s far too much backstory and exposition about Jane’s past to be shoe-horned in, none of which carries much weight when the abrupt and baffling ending arrives.
Whatever audience is attracted to the Hammer brand post-The Woman in Black is likely to be unimpressed by The Quiet Ones; despite the period Oxford setting, it’s a bland entry in an oversubscribed genre, and considerably less effective than numerous American counterparts. It may not be a stake to the heart of the new Hammer, but the tired ghost-train shocks of The Quiet Ones offer little to encourage the studio’s revival.
Limited release from Fri 11 Apr.