The Quiet Ones Parent Review
This is a spooky movie in an old house, that unfolds into a somewhat disturbing story. More about inflicting injury than curing illness, it's not a benign message for young viewers.
It’s 1974 and Professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) teaches at Cambridge University by day, but by night he’s conducting a little science experiment. His assistants are two of his students, Harry and Krissi (Sam Claflin, Erin Richards), and a budding, young cinematographer named Brian (Rory Fleck-Byrne) whose job it is to document the results. (It’s through Brian’s grainy viewfinder that we will see most of this story.) The subject of his work is Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke), a young woman whom the professor has somehow managed to have released from a psychiatric hospital and placed in his “care.”
The “laboratory” would send any university ethics committee into a tizzy. Housed in a flat near the school, it has a special room in which Jane is kept behind a barred door. Living in dreary isolation, she is awakened each day by blistering rock music and kept under constant scrutiny. Harry explains to Brian, who is new to the team, that the music is part of Jane’s “treatment.”
The professor is convinced he can cure Jane from what seems to be a secondary personality issue. His goal is to convert her mental illness into telekinetic energy and literally extract it from her body. To complete this task he uses a combination of good ‘ol fashion séance-like sessions and a barrage of electrical components. When that isn’t enough he pulls out a syringe of some chemical and injects it into his specimen.
We shouldn’t be surprised when, shortly after the movie starts, a board of very serious looking men at the University call the professor into their midst and announce that his funding has been cut. Undaunted he heads to the English countryside and finds a big, old dilapidated house for let. (If it isn’t a suitable location to conduct his experiment, it will certainly serve as the perfect location for a horror movie.) After he fixes up yet another room to confine Jane, he begins to dig deeper into his subject’s psyche. Harry and Krissi keep busy running about hooking up wires by day and hooking up with each other by night. Meanwhile Brian is doing his best to remain the objective documentarian, but the more time he spends with Jane the more he becomes pulled into her, umm, charm?
This is textbook horror genre material, with the professor playing the classic mad scientist who twists knobs on foreboding boxes that spark and hum. He’s convinced he’s getting close to success after Jane, essentially his monster, spews forth some sort of plasma-vomit. With perfect evil diction actor Jared Harris orders Krissi to get another injection ready and, “Double the dose! We’re on the verge.” Of course the location checks all the other boxes on the scary list, with abrupt sound effects serving as the motivation for “jump scenes” and dark, dingy rooms revealing visual frights.
Content concerns for young viewers are numerous, especially the scenes that essentially amount to torture and abuse of Jane. Other metaphysical incidents leave characters with bloody injuries, and deaths are implied. It’s also interesting how this film takes full advantage of its 1970s setting to justify depicting characters frequently smoking. In addition there is an obvious sexual relationship between Harry and Krissi (we see them partially clothed in a bedroom) and an awkward sensual moment between the professor and Krissi (we see them kissing and embracing). Profanities are infrequent, but do include one sexual expletive. As well, the film includes satanic elements, symbols and references.
At first glance this seems to be yet another spooky movie in a rambling old house. However after closer examination, it distills down to a somewhat disturbing story about a man, acting as an academic professional, who is dominating and abusing a young woman that has been placed in his care. More about inflicting injury than curing illness, it’s not a benign message for young viewers.Directed by John Pogue. Starring Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards. Running time: 98 minutes. Updated May 23, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The Quiet Ones here.
The Quiet Ones Parents Guide
Do you think cigarette smoking is justified in this film due to its 1970s setting? Do you feel moviemakers are sincerely trying to remove depictions of smoking? This movie is targeted toward a younger audience; should that factor into whether or not portrayals of smoking should be included?
What are the expectations of a teacher/student relationship? Do you feel this movie crosses that line, even though the students are adults?
How is sound used to frighten the audience? What other techniques are used in this film to create fear? Are there any unique devices used? Are these well-recognized techniques still effective at scaring people?