Matt Adcock’s film review: The Quiet Ones is a spookfest that’s more silly than scary

Olivia Cooke
Olivia Cooke

“It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for…”

Do you believe if ghosts? Well, The Quiet Ones – from the producer who brought you The Woman In Black and Let Me In – is the slightly unnerving tale based on actual events of how a team of Oxford university students led by their professor conducted an ‘experiment’ to try and prove that spooks were simply a condition of the mind.

The experiment’s subject was one Jane Harper (Olivia ‘Bates Motel’ Cooke), a young girl full of unspeakable secrets, but are these secrets dark supernatural forces or rather more explainable homicidal issues?

So we join unorthodox Professor Coupland (Jared ‘Mad Men‘ Harris) as he recruits Brian McNeil (Sam ‘The Hunger Games’ Claflin) to film the experiment while goofy student Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne) and sexy Krissi Dalton (Erin ‘soon to be in Gotham’ Richards), who insists on wearing hot pants which I’m not convinced are suitable scientific garb, tag along for the chilling ride.

Professor Coupland is obsessed with trying to prove his odd theory that evil spooks are not entities back from the afterlife but rather projections manifested by traumatized minds.

So his ‘experiment’ seeks to use fragile Jane and drive her to project negative energy and then ‘cure’ her. He does this by playing Quiet Riot’s ‘Come On Feel The Noise’ very loudly all night, which is probably enough to drive anyone insane.

Things invariably go ‘bump’ in the night and Jane somehow gets a scar in the shape of an occult symbol.

Turns out that this scar is that of an ancient goddess venerated by a cult, which believed that the soul of this goddess possessed a little girl called Evey. Hang on, isn’t that the name of the doll Jane carries?

Oh, and didn’t the members of the cult kill themselves in a big fire? The indications are that it will all end in tears.

Director John Pogue does an adequate job with the uneven screenplay by Craig Rosenberg and Oren Moverman. The Quiet Ones starts well and builds up a decent eerie premise in the first hour but when the ghostly hokum kicks off it all gets more silly than scary. Yes there are plenty of ‘false’ scares in the form of sudden jump moments – these are effective though – so much so that the woman behind me in the cinema screamed very loudly, very often!

One for hardcore ghostbusters only.