Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Quiet Ones (2014)

Tonight, we take a look at a horror movie that attempts to redefine what it means to use loud noises in an attempt to be scary. Hopefully, I'll be able to get through this with at least some hearing intact, although the slight ringing in my ears may be cause for concern. I FEEL LIKE I'M SHOUTING, AM I SHOUTING?

Supposedly inspired by true events, The Quiet Ones tells the tale of a professor, a young couple, a cameraman named David, and a disturbed young girl named Jane. Set in 1974 England, the characters of the story are all students at some university (aside from David, who is just an out-of-work cameraman) who decide to join their professor in his "study" on disturbed individuals that have been deemed mentally unstable, or dangerous to themselves and others. I use the term "study" loosely, because they are more like experiments. Experiments that just might be better off left unexplored.

Assuming you are planning to watch this movie at some point, I would suggest wearing earplugs, or turning the volume down and turning on the closed captioning, or maybe just watching something else entirely. This movie has the loudest damn sound effects that I've ever heard, and that's including any of Michael Bay's movies. Loud, unnecessary chords blare from the speakers throughout this movie at random, completely inappropriate times. Sometimes even the slightest movement by a character on screen results in an ear-piercing "scratch" or "slam" or bass-pounding thud. I understand that some movies like to include an occasional loud, jumpy scene, but this is ridiculous. Early on, I found it to be quite an effective mood-setter, but it got old quickly, and just as quickly so did my patience for it wear thin. I would love to be able to watch a movie without flinching from pain in my ears. Does that sound like a reasonable request?

Unfortunately, without the loud noises and constant helicopter-like tones throughout the film, we are only left with a love story under the guise of a horror movie. Yeah, it's one of those. Instead of the usual underlying love story, we get a love triangle... or something more like a love pentagon? Considering there are five characters, and all five of them appear to be having conflicting feelings of love or lust or whatever you want to call it, I think we have to call this a love pentagon. You see, the one student is in love with his girlfriend who is in love with her professor who is in love with the disturbed patient who is in love with Dave, the cameraman. Good grief, is it too much to ask of the film to focus on the pyro-telekinetic patient without the inclusion of petty love interests? Did the makers of the film not think the plot could stand on its own without everyone having feelings for one another? If that was the case, it should have raised a red flag immediately, and perhaps more thought should have gone into actually making the horror movie a scary movie.

Of all of the movies I have seen revolving around possession or demons or ghosts, this one does have a distinct difference - we are to believe everyone in the world that has been labelled "possessed" or "haunted" or whatever actually just has telekinetic abilities and schizophrenia. Seems legit. I mean, it's good enough for the professor, who has come up with this theory seemingly out of thin air, and yet has now become so ingrained into this ideology that he is willing to risk everyone's life to have it proven. Seriously, how can someone be so quick to dismiss possession or ghosts, but then turn around and claim telekinesis is responsible? Does that really seem like a more logical conclusion, professor? The film opens with the professor dismissing outright any belief by his students in God or demons or ghosts, but then just as quickly declares with certainty it's all a result of telekinesis and schizophrenia. Naturally, his students don't speak up in disagreement except for one student, who is immediately called a "traitor" by his classmate. I'm not sure what that's about. Typical college professor, teaching his students that Jean Grey from X-Men is a more logical reality than a simple ghost.

You know, the professor kept saying he was trying to cure Jane from her illness and he only needed more time, but now that I think about it, they didn't really do anything differently from day to day. I mean, every night they sat at a table and asked Jane to "let out" Evie, who was the entity she believed lived inside of her, and every night there would be loud noises or someone would get hurt or they would get scared and say they needed a break. Every night they performed the same test and every night led them nowhere. What exactly was step two of the treatment? Let's say for a second that Evie showed up at the table, what was going to be the next course of action? It's not like their experiments didn't yield results. Every time they asked for Evie, something crazy would happen and the students would say it's a demon and the professor would get pissed and slap somebody. I suppose the end result of everyone just getting killed was the only logical route for this road to lead. I mean, you can only poke a bear so many times before it just eats your face.

Speaking of the ending, may I ask what the hell that was? I get the fact that Jane was really Evie all along and she couldn't control her abilities or whatever. I'll buy that. I'll even buy her excuse for getting pissed and killing everybody and setting herself on fire. I get that, too. Jane being Evie all along explains why everything was happening. There was nothing wrong with that explanation at all. So, why the cliffhanger at the end? After Evie goes crazy and kills everyone, we see the cameraman, David, sitting at a table in an insane asylum answering questions to doctors. The doctors are asking him why he killed everybody, and where the footage was located. Meanwhile, a traumatized David just sits clutching his camera, shaking, saying Evie killed everybody. Why would the doctors give him a camera? If he is a danger to himself and others, why would the doctors give him that big camera? It doesn't make sense. The doctors take the camera away from him shortly after he begins bludgeoning himself in the head with it, but that doesn't stop David from manifesting smoke in his hand...? So, I guess he is now a pyro-telekinetic schizophrenic? Is that what we are to believe? I thought the reason Jane had powers was because she was Evie all along, isn't that what happened? So, what's this about now? Why does David have powers?

In closing, the confusing love pentagon layered under loud noises and a confusing story arc doesn't mask the horror-ble-ness of this movie. I see through the bullshit, and this is nothing but a love story and a drama. They even had a doll, guys. They had a doll and told Evie to possess it, and nothing happened. I waited anxiously to see that doll hop up and walk around or something, but no. Instead, they were more focused on who was banging who. By the way, insinuating the professor was banging the disturbed female patient was really messed up. Maybe next time they'll develop the scary moments a little more and leave out unnecessary love interests.

1 out of 4

 Avoid this one.

Cheers and goodnight.

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