MRR Review: "The Quiet Ones"

Photo Credit: Lionsgate

Rating: PG-13
Length: 98 minutes
Release Date: April 25, 2014
Directed by: John Pogue
Genre: Horror

"The Quiet Ones" is a British horror movie staring Sam Claflin as Brian, a participant in an experimental research project. The experiment is run by Professor Coupland, who believes he has the power to cure people who have been possessed by demons. However, when the test subject refuses to participate in the experiment, there are deadly consequences.

Plot Summary

"The Quiet Ones" opens with college student Brian McNeil taking a class from Professor Coupland, who explains to his students that he believes supernatural phenomena are caused solely by negative energy. He believes eliminating negative energy is the only way to get rid of supernatural phenomena such as demonic possessions and ghosts.

Intrigued, Brian decides to take part in one of Coupland's experiments. Brian is invited to join Coupland and his two assistants, Harry and Krissi, at a home where a woman named Jane is being kept. Brian soon finds out that Jane has the ability to control and alter her surroundings, despite Coupland's many attempts to cure her.

As time passes, the funding for Coupland's research is abruptly stopped. Unable to abandon his experiment, Coupland takes his team and Jane to a secluded cabin in the woods. There, they learn that Jane sees a doll-like creature named Evey, who Coupland believes is the manifestation of Jane's negative energy. The team tries to convince Jane to transfer her negative energy to Evey, which would allow Evey to be destroyed. However, the experiment goes terribly wrong when Jane becomes attached to Evey and refuses to participate in the experiment.

Meanwhile, Brian observes Coupland becoming increasing erratic, with the changes in his behavior coinciding with changes in Jane's treatment. As Jane and Coupland's actions become increasingly violent, Brian is forced to find a way to escape the cabin.


Although "The Quiet Ones" features a cast of lesser-known actors, the acting is nevertheless impressive. Olivia Cooke's performance as a demon-possessed woman is the highlight of the film and quite convincing. She portrays her transitions from being in control to becoming possessed in a very believable way.

Jared Harris as Professor Coupland also undergoes a significant transformation as the movie unfolds. In the opening scenes, his character seems convincing and articulate, but by the end of the film, he exhibits his own kind of paranormal behavior.

The cast is rounded out by Sam Claflin as Brian McNeil, Erin Richards as Krissi and Rory Fleck-Byrne as Harry. Because most of the film takes place in a secluded cabin, the movie is driven by the performances of the actors rather than by special effects and changing scenery. This actually makes the film more focused on the paranormal activity, and as a result, the film is far more terrifying.

Film Analysis

As a whole, "The Quiet Ones" is very suspenseful. Since two of the main characters transform significantly over the course of the film, many of the major events that take place are unexpected. The cabin where many of the scenes take place enhances the strange actions of Jane and Coupland. Full of dark rooms and shadows, and cast in an eerily dark light, the cabin is the perfect setting for the film.

Although the basic plot of "The Quiet Ones" is similar to many other horror movies, the unique subplots set the film apart from others. For example, Brian often lurks just outside of the action, observing the behavior of Coupland and his assistants. Consequently, he stumbles upon a complicated relationship that takes place between Harry, Krissy and Coupland. As the outsider, Brian then bonds with Jane, which makes him reluctant to leave her when the experiment begins to harm her health. The intricate connections between the characters lends the film has more depth than one focused only on demon possession.

In addition, director John Pogue uses suspense to entertain the audience instead of simply constructing scenes that are shocking. Several secrets that are not revealed until the end of the film, which comes as a real surprise. Since the fates of the characters and their true intentions are hidden, the film becomes far more exciting to watch.

"The Quiet Ones" claims to be based on a true story. In reality, however, the film is only very loosely based on events that took place when a group of researchers conducted an experiment in the 1970s and attempted to create a ghost. The film would be better off setting aside this claim and just telling a well-constructed horror story.

"The Quiet Ones" adds a twist to the often-used horror movie plot regarding demon possession. The various subplots combined with the characters' isolation in a secluded location give the film depth and make it compelling. Ultimately "The Quiet Ones" has enough suspense and substance to entertain its audience, with none of the over-the-top gore that makes some horror films off-putting.