The Quiet Ones
Cert: 15 / 98 mins / Dir. John Pogue
The greatest weapon in director John Pogue's arsenal of scare-tactics, is the audience's uneasy fear that they're going to leave the cinema with perforated eardrums. Whereas most standard modern horror films make heavy-handed use of the **quiet… quiet… LOUD** technique, 'The Quiet Ones' opts for **normal-volume… normal-volume… FUCKING EXCRUCIATINGLY LOUD**, with no apparent trace of irony. As the film takes place in 1974, a handheld 8mm camera stands in for the modern-day camcorder, and other than providing an excuse for one of the characters to be there, and making half the film look like it's been Instagrammed, adds little as we never stray into 'found footage' territory.
So, after a brief opening act where the writers (four of them, mind) have got Jared Harris to mechanically explain who everyone is and what the story is going to be, the film slides into an extended second act where LOUD NOISES happen routinely for over an hour with absolutely no plot development. In the last twenty minutes, the same crack-commando-writing-squad notice that there's been no expansion on the central conceit, i.e. the possessed girl herself, and quickly shoehorn in a backstory that's supposed to feel like a twist, but comes off more like an sorry excuse. The screenplay also makes it apparent early on that there is (within the confines of the film itself) an actual supernatural element to the case, so that there's no suspense or doubt in the audience's mind of where things are headed, and by the time that The One With The Camcorder™ starts explaining to The Girl One™ and The Posh One™ that it could be a hoax, it just feels like wasting valuable screentime.
Speaking of the cast, Jared Harris appears to have been brought onboard because the budget wouldn't stretch to John Hurt; Sam Clafin is a budget Jack Davenport; Erin Richards a knockoff Alice Eve; and Olivia Cooke a cut-price Christina Ricci. The only consolation is that if the film had been made in the US with that alternate cast, it would still be every bit as dreadful.
Oh, and fyi, THIS is "the true story" that inspired the film. Which is a bit like saying that Noah was inspired by a rainy day at the zoo*1.
By trying to invoke the spirit of its heyday, Hammer is closer to demonstrating why it fell on hard times in the first place. Innovate, guys, don't excavate. The Quiet Ones has nothing to say, and it's saying it TOO LOUD. Boring, annoying and laughable in equal measure, this is a Brit-horror for anyone who loved The Conjuring. That should tell you all you need to know. It's not a good ghost-story, and it's not a good film.
I found out after the performance that my local is showing this instead of The Raid 2. The word 'livid' does not come close…
Well, the trailer's not scary either, so yes.
Telly. Do not pay to see this.
Why? I mean, other than money, WHY?
*1 Although frankly, it would have been more credible to put the title card "Inspired by actual events" in front of the Noah film, even with the stone-Megatrons.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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