I have to admit, I get a kick out of seeing the word “hammer” on the posters and DVD cases of modern horror releases. A studio associated with classic British horror of the past, Hammer are a mark of quality when it comes to atmospheric, gothic and haunting films, so I was interested in what we would be greeted with when “The Quiet Ones” was announced.
John Pogue, writer of films such as U.S Marshals and Ghost Ship, and director of Quarantine 2: The Terminal, stands behind the big camera once again for a creepy and tense horror film that follows other recent Hammer output like The Woman in Black and Wake Wood.
Oxford University professor Joseph (Jared Harris – Lincoln) and two of his students, Krissi (Erin Richards – Open Grave) and Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne – Vampire Academy), observe and attempt to study a girl named Jane (Olivia Cooke – Bates Motel), who appears to be able to summon the deceased. Attempting to find logical explanations to what is happening to Jane, the group, along with a cameraman they have hired named Brian (Sam Clafin – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), realise that there isn’t always a logical and scientific justification for these occurrences, and things become more and more difficult to control.
There are some great settings here and the tension and atmosphere is what we have come to expect through the years from Hammer. Slow building and with a constant sinister tone hanging over the heads of our characters, it is a film that fans of atmospheric discomfort will enjoy, I’m sure. It isn’t necessarily scary, and there weren’t any points where I “jumped out of my skin” or had to look away from the screen, but then again, that seldom happens these days anyway. I did like the performances from the cast and felt that the story, while not original was given a breath of life and freshness from the good cast and the rigid anxious air that they existed in.
Harris’s Joseph and Cooke’s Jane are the stand-out’s of the cast here, with performances that grab your attention when they are on screen. The film would suffer without them. They offer much more than the remainder of the group. Cooke, especially, is a true presence when she is there, and her schizophrenic characterization is done brilliantly, offering naïve and ruined along with demented and evil, it’s a joy to watch.
It lacks originality, yes, and there are times when the slow build almost felt like it had come to a complete halt, but I enjoyed the creepy feel of the film, the performances from the leads, and the tension that existed for most of the movie. I would have perhaps liked something extra, some sort of added element to take the film to the next level, but for what it is, I did enjoy it. It is a well-made film that doesn’t insult its “Hammer” tag.