Film review: The Quiet Ones

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Inspired by a real-life incident – valuable currency for a horror film – The Quiet Ones relives a troubling case of demonic possession that claimed the lives of a team of scientists.

It’s immaterial that John Pogue’s film is grounded in the contentious facts of the infamous Philip Experiment, which saw Canadian parapsychologists test their theory that the human mind is responsible for manifestations attributed to ghosts.

Undated Film Still Handout from The Quiet Ones. Pictured: Jared Harris. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Entertainment One. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from The Quiet Ones. Pictured: Jared Harris. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Entertainment One. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

All blood-lusting audiences will care about is the number of jump-out-of-your seats shocks and wince-inducing scares that the director and his two co-writers, Craig Rosenberg and Oren Moverman, have crammed into 98 minutes.

Disappointingly, you can count them on two fingers.

Admittedly, the film does boast one devilishly teasing scene of impending carnage involving a character unwittingly resting her head in the wrong place, where clumps of her hair can be torn from her scalp. Pogue intentionally allows the scene to drag on, heightening our discomfort until we can barely look.

For the most part, though, The Quiet Ones resorts to staples of the genre – creaking doors that open of their own accord, figures emerging suddenly from the darkness – which can be anticipated.

However, the screenplay successfully transplants the malevolent mind games from Toronto to the dreaming spires of 1970s Oxford.