“John Pogue’s The Quiet Ones doesn’t bring a lot new to the possession sub-genre, but is most interesting for its restrained, almost documentary-like approach.”
The first thing that I noticed about John Pogue’s The Quiet Ones was that it’s supposedly based upon actual events, which for me means that you’re going to get one of two extremes. The first is movies like The Amityville Horror, which to be fair was based upon a book that was (more than likely) nothing more than a publicity stunt.
On the other end of the spectrum you have movies like The Quiet Ones, which also revolves around events of a supernatural nature though is treated in a more subdued and realistic fashion.
Which isn’t to say that that the latter approach is better because for the most part not very much happens.
The story revolves around Prof. Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris), who works at Oxford University. He’s working with a very disturbed woman, Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke) who’s case parallels another that he dealt with before that we see either through flashbacks or archival footage (that seems to exist for no other reason than to advance the plot).
He enlists the aid of two of his students, Krissi Dalton (Erin Richards), Harry Abrams (Rory Fleck-Byrne) and someone in the AV department, Brian McNeil (Sam Claflin) to film the sessions.
Coupland is convinced that Harper’s behavior is due entirely psychological reasons, and somehow manages to hold on to this belief despite all sorts of happenings to indicate otherwise.
And while I do think that most of what you hear about ghosts and UFO’s is nonsense–due mainly to my agnosticism, which extends to most supernatural or otherworldly events–it changes the second I happen to be confronted by a ghost or a UFO.
Which is how I differ with Prof. Coupland. He steadfastly doesn’t believe the paranormal, even when it scares him in the face.
His strong sense of denial plays an important role in the story, though that doesn’t make it any less maddening to watch him and his team confronted by events that could be nothing more than supernatural, then to listen to his denials (though in the movie’s defense, the events vary in persuasiveness).
Director Pogue keeps relatively subtle, which brings with it pluses and minuses. A plus is that the movie is pretty grounded, and there’s little in the way of the silliness typical of films like these. A minus is that there’s little in the way of silliness typical of these types of films.
Being that there aren’t any chairs flying around or someone twisting their heads 360 degrees, the whole movie rises and falls on the strength of the performances.
And they’re pretty good, though who surprised me most was Sam Claflin. I first learned of him from the Hunger Games movies, where he played Finnick Odair, though this time around he bring in a subdued, more interesting performance.