The Quiet Ones has been described as a retro melding of The Conjuring and Insidious with a heavy dose of Carrie-style telekinetic mayhem. This is extremely accurate in my opinion. Unfortunately, it's not nearly as exhilarating as any of those. Don't get me wrong... I liked it. It was creepy and campy with an interesting story line, but it just wasn't scary enough.
The story of good intentions gone horribly wrong is loosely based on the Phillip Experiment , a 1972 parapsychology experiment conducted in Toronto. It opens with Professor Coupland showing a video to his class of a boy who is seemingly possessed. Its very clear that the research is of utmost importance to him, as he feels if he cures one, he can cure the world. What was interesting to me was his explanation for what was happening to these patients. He did not believe in supernatural/paranormal events such as hauntings and possessions. He, instead, insisted that such events were manifestations caused by the human mind. It was this unique theory that kept me going during the slower parts. I REALLY wanted to see where they were going with this.
Coupland's current subject, Jane Harper, was a depressed young woman who had forgotten her past. Because she generates strange phenomenon, she was abandoned, tossed from one foster family to another. The treatment she receives under Coupland's questionable care is saddening, but she remained locked up like a caged animal willingly, as she truly believed he could help her.Their relationship raised my eyebrows... he took on a fatherly role, but there was also an underlying sexual tension. Yuck.
Funding is cut, forcing Coupland and his three assistants to move their now independent study to an isolated house in the countryside, and the movie finally manages to pick up a little speed. There's now an infant, Evey, that only Jane sees, and makes things happen. Coupland gives her a doll and instructs her to put this poltergeist made of negative energy into it, so he can destroy it.
They conduct sessions that only seem to drive Jane mad, and the activity in the house becomes stranger and scarier, with Every becoming more aggressive. I was left a little disappointed with "Evey"'s erformance, though. I've had a LEGIT fear of dolls since childhood, and Evey didn't bother me AT ALL. Sad face. I like being scared at the movies. That's the whole point, isn't it???
There's not a whole lot of the movie I can describe from here without giving the plot away. There's a mix of cheap shock scares and artificial jolts (knocking, dropping objects, things that aren't scary in real life, but in the context cause you to jump and then be embarrassed about it) and the occasional good scare that genuinely earned my elbow jerking into my fiancée. The ending DOES leave the results up for the viewer's personal interpretation. And, SHOCKER!: I was actually okay the last two minutes. That doesn't happen often.
I definitely give it more than Rotten Tomatoes' 38%. It was quiet, yes, but it was smart. I'm glad that I saw it in the theater because those cheap shock scares would be lost on a small screen. I'm hoping The Quiet Ones will inspire film makers to develop their own unique explanations for paranormal events!