Movie Review - The Quiet Ones
The latest feature film from writer / director John Pogue, The Quiet Ones, finds itself among many other films dealing with the subject of possession released this year. And where many of these other movies have taken new and interesting approaches to the subject matter (like Inner Demons and The Taking of Deborah Logan), The Quiet One's takes a more classic approach, which actually helps it to stand out. The film is loosely based on the Phillip Experiment, a parapsychology experiment conducted in Toronto in 1972. The director does an amazing job of creating both a tone and color palette that perfectly evoke the era, as do the costume designers and music director. The movie is visually stunning, and although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I will say that I found the story itself to be slightly underwhelming. That being said, I still think this one is worth a watch, especially if you have a weak spot for possession films.
A young student, Brain McNeil, becomes interested in the experiments of one of his teachers, Professor Coupland, seeking to disprove the existence of the supernatural. Brian is invited to participate in the experiment by filming the entire process. There, he joins the professor's two other assistants, Krissi and Harry, and the young woman at the center of their experiment, Jane Harper. The subject is kept in a locked room with loud music playing during the day to prevent her from sleeping, in the hopes that the psychological agitation will result in increased activity. Coupland believes that Jane can physically manifest her negative energy and that he will then be able to remove it. But as time wears on, the line between experiment and torture begins to blur as the professor presses her harder. And as time goes on the group begins to wonder if they will be able to cure Jane, or if the professor could be wrong about the supernatural altogether.
The acting is truly remarkable from the entire cast, led by the always impressive Jared Harris (Fringe) as Professor Coupland. His plays the role with a nuanced subtlety that suits the tone of the film perfectly. Sam Clafin (The Hunger Games - Mockingjay) as Brian, is beautifully sympathetic with Jane; while Erin Richards as Krissi and Rory Fleck-Byrne as Harry both manage to portray a naive youthful loyalty to their mentor. But Olivia Cooke steals the film with her performance as Jane, who shows an amazing range going from shy and quiet to utterly terrifying in a matter of seconds.
The story itself is the tiniest bit predictable, and that could just be because this is just one of many possession films to be released in recent months, yet it doesn't really manage to add much to the formula. I'm not saying that's necessarily a terrible thing, but it left me wanting a little more in the way of individuality. I think the film did achieve that unique quality in terms of the tone, acting and direction, but the storyline just didn't quite stack up to some of its' many contemporaries. All in all, I would liken this to other films like The Lady in Black, and would recommend it to any die hard fans of possession films. It is now available on DVD and VOD. Cheers.