Movie Review: The Quiet Ones (2014)

Plot synopsis: A university professor (Jared Harris) and a team
of his students (Sam Clafin, Erin Richards) conduct an experiment
on a young woman (Olivia Cooke), uncovering
terrifyingly dark and unexpected forces in the process.
Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence
and terror, sexual content, thematic material,
language, and smoking throughout)
Director: John Pogue
Writers: Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman
Starring: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke
Despite its throat-scraping screams of terror, The Quiet Ones is absolutely mute when it comes to contributing to the horror genre in any meaningful way.

An experiment involving students at Oxford in 1974 leads a skeptical few to realizing that the force they seek to reduce to terms most familiar is far more sinister and deadly than they can imagine.

Wanna know what I can't imagine? Why a film with such fine and devoted acting can't do anything but occupy space as another "show up the skeptics" piece of cinema where the supernatural elements are over-utilized and where sudden shocks and cheap "jump" surprises typical of possession-style horrors unjustly dominate the screenplay.

It is one of the most well acted horrors in a long time, with Cooke as a perfect pick for her part, but it manages to throw out its nicely stirred pot of ingredients – with plenty of soft, erotic elements put in – and let it dissolve into another "mysterious cult / unknown demon" eye-roller.

The potential here was nothing short of amazing, the dimensional nuances so acutely honed, and yet it fast became just another lesson in how the scariest things in a movie are the things we don't see, the things we are made to guess and wonder about, rather than bizarre levitations or strange ancient markings. We've had enough of the latter.