Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to recuperate from a horrific car accident, Jessabelle comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return -- and has no intention of letting her escape.
New York police officer Ralph Sarchie investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rites of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.
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Two best friends see their trip of a lifetime take a dark turn when one of them is struck by a mysterious affliction. Now, in a foreign land, they race to uncover the source before it consumes him completely.
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In 1974, Oxford professor Joseph Coupland invites introspective lad Brian McNeil to film his experimental treatment of subject Jane Harper, aided by student assistants Krissi Dalton and Harry Abrams. Jane, a young woman with no memory of the past and repeatedly abandoned by foster families, believes herself possessed by a doll named Evey that gives her telekinetic power. Keeping her awake in an isolated house, Prof. Coupland intends that she puts her evil energy into an actual doll, thereafter destroying it to heal Jane. Amidst strange things happening in the house, Brian feels sorry for Jane and, researching her tattoo, learns an evil secret about Jane's past, and of Prof. Coupland's motivation. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / revised by statmanjeff
The Quiet Ones is a new British horror movie from the makers of The Woman in Black. Produced by the classic crafters of horror, Hammer Productions, the film follows an Oxford professor (Jared Harris), his tutees and a student cameraman (Sam Claflin) as they attempt to both prove and document the theory that supernatural powers are simply a manifestation of psychological trauma. They begin studying a young girl who believes she is possessed by an evil entity, and a strange relationship begins to develop between her and cameraman Brian as the professor's attempts to create a poltergeist take their toll.
In an era where endless Paranormal Activity sequels, squeezing every buck out of the found-footage genre and reliance purely on cattle-prod jump scares, it's refreshing to see a horror film that seems to have been made by people who understand how suspense works. In the same way that Woman in Black tricked you into thinking that it's going to be a run-of-the-mill horror flick set in a creaky old house but did something interesting, The Quiet Ones uses the 'house in the middle of nowhere' setting in a way that doesn't just turn the lights off and throw furniture around when things go wrong.
While rare (but noticeable), there are still uses of very loud noises out of absolutely nowhere to accentuate the scares, but asides from that, they are achieved through realistic and unobtrusive special effects, a sparing but effective use of a rumbling, mechanical musical score (there is something to be said for music that can make a scene of occult research feel intense) and an unflinching refusal by the camera to shy away from the horror. The camera-work is an interesting mix of live-action and old celluloid stock filmed from the perspective of the cameraman as he observes the increasing number of bizarre and terrifying events unfolding before the investigators.
As far as performances go, Jared Harris is well cast as the physics professor slowly declining into madness in a knowing manner very reminiscent of classic Hammer-horror and Sam Claflin builds a lot on his brief performance in Catching Fire, creating a very believable character struggling with his own beliefs as the absolute horror of the experiment becomes increasingly harder to deal with. Olivia Cooke is also very good as Jane, the tortured subject of the experiment, taking a very over-used character (the silent, unblinking possessed girl) and doing something interesting with it, alternating between an almost comatose recluse and a young woman dealing with adolescence and emerging emotions.
The running time of just less than 100 minutes means that some of the character development feels a little rushed, but it means that the film has adequate time to set up scares, deliver on the suspense, and create an intriguing story without feeling repetitive. Taking unexpected turns, featuring good performances and inciting real fear in the audience, The Quiet Ones is a very welcome breath of fresh air in mainstream horror movies, proving once again that constant scenes of exorcisms and annoying families with camcorders have become tired old tropes and that the best thing to do is wipe that all away and focus on believable characters and more interesting methods to create a genuinely tense atmosphere.
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