The Quiet Ones poses an interesting question in terms of mental illness, the supernatural and the middle ground that could exist between the two. All this, of course, masked as an intellectual horror film.
Jared Harris is Professor Joseph Coupland and he is conducting experiments on a troubled young woman named Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke). She claims to be possessed by an entity named Evie. But, is she mentally disturbed or is she truly taken over by a supernatural force?
The Quiet Ones is loosely based on a set of real experiments conducted in the '70s by a British professor who thought that if he could manifest a poltergeist, albeit in someone’s mind, that he could find the root to ridding the world of all supernatural evil.
Sam Claflin (Catching Fire) is in many ways our eyes and ears as the filmmaker Brian who is hired by Coupland to document the experiments. Many of these "experiments" are truly torturous, to be honest -- such as sleep deprivation, starvation and mental manipulation. But, in The Quiet Ones, there truly is a ghost of some sort. And it is not happy one bit.
Cooke is a discovery as Jane. The mental hula hoops she has to navigate with this performance are nothing short of a revelation. She plays Jane as a victim, a possible supernatural vessel, and in flirting with Brian, a manipulator of men. Throughout The Quiet Ones, you start to wonder who is playing who and to what extent they will push it in this mental menagerie that is essentially a game of supernatural chicken.
Director John Poque knows how to dish out the character development and the scares at such an even pace that the viewer hardly ever knows when either is around the corner. His cast is in top form, especially Harris, Claflin and Cooke. The veteran, Harris, commands every scene and carries the movie in so many ways. Harris plays the professor’s motives close to his vest and it is for the betterment of the entire film.
Most actors might try to work the scenes like their own acting master class with a role like that of Coupland, but not Harris. He is not quite good guy and not quite bad guy. Harris plays him firmly in the grey and as such, it is a perfect match for the tone of a stylistic horror film such as The Quiet Ones. One can feel the '70s dripping from every scene, but yet the film feels timeless in the way that the best horror movies achieve.
Our The Quiet Ones review finds that the film is a solid entry in the horror movie lexicon for 2014. For fans of the genre, they will leave happy (and slightly scared).
Want further proof Harris is one of our best? Watch Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows online.