The Quiet Ones

Olivia Cooke and Sam Claflin in The Quiet Ones (Tiger Shark Productions Ltd/Chris Harris)
Olivia Cooke and Sam Claflin in The Quiet Ones (Tiger Shark Productions Ltd/Chris Harris)
What it's about:

A university student and some classmates are recruited to carry out a private experiment–creating a poltergeist. Their subject: an alluring, but dangerously disturbed young woman. Their quest: to explore the dark energy that her damaged psyche might manifest. As the experiment unravels, along with their sanity, the rogue PhD students are soon confronted with a terrifying reality: they have triggered an unspeakable force with a power beyond all explanation.

What we thought:

First off, I really am impressed with the horrors that have been coming out of the demented minds of Hollywood’s underbelly. The Conjuring managed to make a scary piece of genius by just casting some good actors, and The Quiet Ones could have followed the same path – if only they had stuck with the original game plan before falling into an occult trap.

As loosely based on a true story as is ethically possible, the screenplay was inspired by the Philip experiment from 1972, when a group of researchers attempted to prove that ghosts were a manifestation of the human mind by materialising their own ‘fake’ ghost – complete with a made-up personality and past. This ‘ghost’ then became so real that it allegedly answered their questions and could influence the environment around it like dimming lights and lifting tables.

None of this, however, was shown in the movie. The only resemblance the plot had to the actual experiment was the idea that ghosts were thought up by us and, if focused enough, could produce a physical entity. The Quiet Ones, however, tuned the Hollywood dramatics to full volume and created a character plagued by her ‘entity’. The professor treating her tries to prove that it is only a sickness of the mind and could be removed like a cancer, curing the patient.

If only it could have stayed on that course. Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes, Made Men) is a good actor and the rest of his ensemble were not bad either, which only had one blonde bimbo instead of the usual entourage found in slasher flicks, and the demon girl was someone you actually felt sorry for instead of being petrified of seeing her in your dreams (the girl from The Ring haunts me still). But no, they couldn’t explore the powers of the human mind. They had to turn it into devil-worship. Damn.

Although pretty predictable, there were some twists that was interesting, for example the secret of the professors’ first patient – a boy we are introduced to early on in the plot. At first you think one thing about his role in the story, but I was quite surprised.

The Quiet Ones would give you a good scare (especially if you want your date to cling to you) but for the horror aficionados I would advise some caution, but not to discount it completely. It’s good to have a change from the slasher flicks. It is time for a new generation of screams and thrills, and although The Quiet Ones might have taken the genre a step back, at least it’s still on a path.