Hammer used to be the byword for quintessentially English horror movies but changing cinematic tastes saw the studio crumble and die when audiences wanted to see less satin and more slashers. After several decades in the cinematic moratorium, the studio has risen from the dead to unleash fear on a whole new generation of moviegoers. The Quiet Ones is the latest release from the iconic studio and it’s a film which lives up to the charm and class of previous classic releases.
This supernatural chiller follows Jared Harris’ nutty professor as he attempts to unleash a poltergeist, whilst aided by a group of university students. The film may not hold-up under scrutiny, but it hits all the marks as a horror, while never coming across as a cheap exploitation film.
The Quiet Ones uses The Exorcist as a touchstone, something which isn’t uncommon for a supernatural horror (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the film is set in the same era). William Friedkin’s film is the benchmark by which these movies are scored and few ever come close to matching the achievement of that seminal horror. Director (and co-writer) John Pogue makes a valiant effort, creating a film that feels real even though it’s monumentally implausible, but helps that he has Jared Harris in the lead. The English actor brings integrity to the role of Professor Coupland and that heightens the material, raising it well above the standard of similar genre entries. Sam Claflin is also strong as the earnest student who films the professor’s mysterious experiments. It’s rare to see a horror film that has performances as strong as this one.
Cinematograher Mátyás Erdély offers up some impressive visuals, aided by some solid production design. Meanwhile, Lucas Vidal’s score keeps the scares in check as Pogue toys with (but never over uses) the ‘found footage’ style of filmmaking that is oh-so popular today. The Quiet Ones is a strong and classy addition to the genre and it should please modern fans as well as those who like their horror to be a touch more subtle.
A strong package of extras complements this Blu-ray release. John Pogue teams with producer Tobin Armbrust for the commentary, while you also get some documentary features, outtakes and deleted scenes.