Overview: It should have been called The Forgotten Ones because you’ll forget about it by the next day. Lionsgate; 2014; Rated PG-13; 93 Minutes
Go Big or Go Home? They Went Home: PG-13 horror movies are tricky business. There are plenty of great horror movies that don’t rely on gore or jump scares to illicit an audience reaction. There aren’t many great PG-13 horror movies because there’s not much to play with in such a general rating. It can be done though (Poltergeist did with a PG rating), and James Wan’s first Insidious is a recent entry in the genre that doesn’t berate you with excessive jump scares, or dismembered body parts. Insidious builds tension behind a curtain before bursting at the seams with old-fashioned horror movie filmmaking.
The Quiet Ones attempts to explore the classic by placing itself in the 1970’s. The costume and set design are good but there’s never a moment to soak it in. Perhaps if the movie wasn’t split between shooting in high definition and 16mm “found footage” style it would be easier to enjoy those components.
The Excessively Loud Ones: Tension is nonexistent. In place of that slow burning pace that makes the prolonged scares even better, we’re attacked with jump scares and loud noises. Any tension the movie does build is ultimately squandered by the constant barrage unnecessary and cheap scares that the movie doesn’t actually earn. The fake-out scares are poor disguises for actual horror elements. Raising the volume on certain scenes doesn’t make them anymore frightening. It just makes them more annoying. And that’s the most offensive part about this movie: the sound design.
It’s odd that this movie is so loud – not just because of the title either. A small horror movie like this would benefit by taking it’s time to appreciate the aesthetic and the characters. Who needs investment when you can have cheap tricks to “frighten” the audience? (Take a shot whenever there’s a jump scare. I DARE YOU) Dubstep would be more preferable than this sporadic assault on your auditory perception. It’s either quiet and low-key, or so loud that even the most seasoned movie veteran will question if they’re “getting too old for this shit.”
The Good-ish: Sam Claflin and Jared Harris are too good for this movie. Sam Claflin proves he’s more than just an attractive guy from a young adult film series. Claflin is completely believable as a student who gets in over his head. He’s not just rinsing and repeating what worked for him in Catching Fire. Jared Harris dominates alongside Claflin as a professor who is committed to finding a cure for possession. He’s not the most likable character but he’ll keep your attention.
Final Thoughts: Disappointing horror flick with some lead performances that go above and beyond the call of duty.