Like a lot of things, horror is entirely subjective. So what one person will find scary, another person won’t. Now while it’s done well for the most part, I wouldn’t really classify The Quiet Ones as scary at all. It has jump scares which are what it tries to focus on. Thing is though, the few startling moments it does have aren’t really that scary, just surprising. The audience is jumping because suddenly hearing loud noises is a shock the system. So that reaction is normal and justified. But in no way is it ever really terrifying, like it should be. Creepy and well done? Yes. But not ever scary, which is a shame. So it fails as a horror movie, but totally succeeds as a creepy and brooding supernatural story.
One of the big problems that the movie does have is the amount of clichés. The story is decent overall, but really it’s nothing special. It’s pretty much like every other ghost-story out there, which is really too bad. If you’ve seen a couple of these kinds of films then you’ve really seen them all. There’s nothing remotely revelatory about The Quiet Ones at all.
Outside of its visual merit, the film lacks in not only the scares department, but the common sense one as well. What starts out as an interesting idea that's "Inspired By Actual Events" (yawn), quickly devolves into running the gamut of horror film cliches. Doors creeping open, power going on, creepy girls, bloody wounds, sudden and pretty well inexplicable death, etc.... As the events in the film continue to spiral out of control, the less the actions of the characters make sense. The people therein are getting even dumber by the minute, so the idea of turning the film into a great big drinking game would undeniably be a lot of fun. "It bit me! It bit me!" NO KIDDING IT BIT YOU! YOU STUCK YOUR ARM INTO THE CLOSET WHERE YOU HEARD A STRANGE NOISE. OF COURSE IT BIT YOU. YOU DESERVED IT.
If anything in this movie is at all surprising or shocking to you, well then congrats on being shocked by a compendium of assorted clichés. That awkward moment when a character shouts the title of the movie with complete conviction in the last third, so as to kinda explain what it means. Though I will say that I really liked the ending. I mean yeah I totally telegraphed how it was going to end really early on, but the ending did still totally work for me, despite it being entirely predictable.
One of the other big things that really worked well for me in the film was just how well everything was shot. The cinematography was really quite beautiful. The landscapes, the house where much of it takes place, the general creepiness of everything and the very foreboding atmosphere were all achieved in the film’s wonderful artistic aesthetic.
Jared Harris is a great actor who deserves better. Sam Claflin has only been noted for playing the priest in love with a mermaid in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, a prince in love with Snow White in Snow White and the Hunstman and Finnick Odair in Catching Fire. All big-budget films and yet none of them were meaty enough roles for the good-looking Brit. Here in The Quiet Ones, Claflin gets more of an opportunity to show his acting chops, it's just a shame that the movie couldn't have been better. Olivia Cooke who's best known for her role as Emma on Bates Motel is the standout performer in the film. She really did quite well here. I look forward to seeing her in more films in the future.
Overall, The Quiet Ones is neither great, no terrible, just okay. It certainly has some moments of value here and there, but I definitely won’t be losing any sleep over it.
2.5 stars out of 5