This is a surprisingly good horror film and I’m glad I went to see it. I wasn’t really expecting much I went to see it purely cause I’d seen the poster on a bus and thought “oh new horror” and gave it a try. I am normally not that impressed with horror films these days the current crop have left me feeling disappointed and totally unafraid. From Mama’s cgi ghost to The Conjuring’s happy ending horror has been a bit of a bore. I am even finding it hard to find good horrors from the Asian market and I prefer their films. But alas there hasn’t been a Dark Water or Tale of Two Sisters in years. The Thai’s have been coming up with some good stuff like The Victim, House and Body 19 but these are still a few years old.
So horror has left me flat and as one of my fav genres that is a real shame. I love a good scare, decent drawn out frights and an unhappy ending cause nothing ruins a horror faster than “they all lived happily ever after” where is the fear in that, half the fun of a horror is the idea that it’s still out there and can come for you, not in some priest or shaman coming to the rescue. This was why the Conjuring was such as disappointment, not only because it has 2 jumps in its entire running time, it failed to set a strong paranormal presence or a chilling environment and then drifted down the demonic position route to end with an exorcism and a happy family. I mean Mama could have been good but I don’t want to see EVERYTHING!!! Keep some mystery about your creature or supernatural being don’t give me a giant whirling cgi creature and a sad melodramatic plot with a beautiful and touching ended, I don’t want to be moved I want to be scared.
Well The Quiet Ones did a lot better than these previous films. For one thing it was a slow build playing on that line between mental illness and paranormal. When is something a hoax or the real thing? You do spend a vast amount of the film trying to figure out if this is a haunting or just a tortured girl and a man possessed by his own research and theories. The film is supposedly set on true events or this case loosely inspired by events that apparently really happened but were found out to be faked. The plot is simple, Inspired by true events, THE QUIET ONES tells the story of an unorthodox professor (Harris) who uses controversial methods and leads his best students off the grid to take part in a dangerous experiment: to create a poltergeist. Based on the theory that paranormal activity is caused by human negative energy, the rogue scientists perform a series of tests on a young patient, pushing her to the edge of sanity. As frightening occurrences begin to take place with shocking and gruesome consequences, the group quickly realizes they have triggered a force more terrifying and evil than they ever could have imagined. (Cited from: http://www.hammerfilms.com/productions/film/filmid/364/the-quiet-ones).
So as a Brit myself I can attest to their being some freaky old buildings in the UK and ghost sittings have been publicised, were an old country that has seen a lot so I for one assume we must have some haunted sites (I will prove this at the end of April on a Ghost hunting expedition to Fort Horstead in Kent!!). So I don’t find it farfetched that someone would investigate this phenomenon or that an Oxford professor would research it, we love a bit of research and theoretical discovery in the UK. But what makes this a surprisingly good film I suppose is that I had seen so much poor horror I wasn’t expecting anything much but I was surprised to see what we Brits had to offer the Horror genre, after all it was the god of horror cinema Hammer that was helming this movie. Well the acting was good for one thing, Jarred Harris is a brilliant actor and he doesn’t disappoint. The build is slow and subtle mixing a couple of horror troupes like the lights going out and all we see is what the hand held camera of one protagonist sees.
The win comes in the fact that we don’t see much at all and proof that less is more. There are a lot of loud noises; I jumped so many times because of that, some doors opening and the occasional thing flies across the room. But not enough to truly make me go “omg it’s a ghost this place is so haunted, that girl is so possessed”. Really its one man possessed by his own thesis that fails to see that something supernatural may be occurring. You never really see what’s attacking them and it’s wonderful, strange marks appear, a lot of horrible screaming (which made me ask why these people kept running towards the screaming or banging noises if it was me I’d be running in the opposite direction) and two noticeable appearances of something that makes you go. WTF, something is not right. Not seeing the evil works so well its left to your imagination as a plot on cults and a demonic deity arises but it never goes into the troupe of being possessed by a demon and calling in the local priest who just happens to be well versed in dealing with this.
The OMG WTF moment, so brief but enough creep and random to make you go oh oh they are in trouble!!!
Maybe it’s a British thing but these characters get into trouble and don’t run to the clergy, first they think doctors, then they think, shit were in trouble. It’s not patriotic or family unit focused it’s just a mixed group that are in way over their heads. By the time it’s all going Pete Tong it’s too late there is no one to help them, some evil has been released and it’s bigger than any person. Us Brits don’t need a happy ending, were the makers of realistic film movements and non-mainstream social protagonists and thus not heroes and saviours, just people that can get into shit and not survive. So I was very happy with an ever body dead or mental ending because that’s how it should be. You provoke supernatural forces and they fight back, religion is not always the answer or there to save you.
I overall enjoyed the simple creep factor of this film, the loud jumps, the blurring of mental states and the feeling that no one is getting out of this unharmed and therefor it warns us not to go messing with the supernatural world because it is often beyond our understanding. This film was well acted, totally British, nicely scored and while didn’t always know where it was going it gave us the unhappy ending I’ve wanted from a horror for a long time.
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