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The Quiet Ones (Blu-ray Review)

Quiet-OnesHammer Horror’s followup to The Woman In Black came a few months ago with The Quiet Ones.  Its another spook show, but this time based on real events.  That real event was “The Philip Experiment”.  In short, in 1972 some Canadian parapsychologists tried to create a ghost as they believed the power to do so may have been in the human mind.  While they could never get “Philip” to physically appear before them, they were successful in making contact and some communication with this ghost.  The film based off the events was less successful, taking in under $10 million in US box office and $17 million worldwide.  Could it be that people are over ghosts/possession movies or was it that Occulus that came out just before this one gave audiences their fill?  I don’t know the answer to that, but we can go ahead and take the journey for ourselves in this review.

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Film 

Oxford Professor Coupland is out to prove there is no such thing as the supernatural.  He devises to perform an experiment in sanity on a girl name Jane who is rumored to have connections with a spirit called Evey.  Coupland invites a student named Brian to join him in the experiment with his two assistants.  Brian is asked to film everything in the house as they push Jane to the limits to see if they can get anything paranormal out of her in her insomniatic and insane state.

The Quiet Ones is an incredible dull, boring film that is too quiet and predictable to be enjoyable.  There’s really nothing new to see here that we haven’t gotten already.  It really stinks that this is under the Hammer Horror banner as it seems pretty low rent and unremarkable.  Seeing Jared Harris as part of the cast led me to believe there might be some class to this movie, but alas its still lame.  Harris is fine in the movie, but he can’t really carry the thing as his character and the script does not allow for it.

Not completely found footage, this film opts for a mish mash.  You get a regular live action film and 16mm found footage both weaved together.  Anytime the camera is on we see it through the lens, as if to keep us in the seat of our protagonist.  The big problem is, nothing in this movie happens when the camera is off.  At least, nothing of any interest.  So predictably, every time we take the camera’s viewpoint we know that something off and paranormal or “scary” is going to take place.

It’s not only easy to predict, but the movie ends up running in this boring cycle until its time they decide its the final act of terror and then end the movie.  We get a constant rotation of bullsh** talking scenes (usually about what just happened or if this experiment is humane) followed by going into Jane’s room and having a hypnotic/seance session in the camera’s view and then something crazy happening.  Just go ahead and repeat that 5 or 6 times and then add a research scene in to get to the finale and you really have this movie in a nutshell.  I’m sure this movie didn’t cost much, but boy oh boy it does cost your abilities to try to keep your attention.

John Pogue’s The Quiet Ones might have at least been fun if it was a little more ambitious and colorful, so even if it failed there would be some sort of a delicious romp to digest.  Instead, its selling itself as over serious in a story and subgenre that’s currently tired and overdone.  I enjoy that they wanted to have both found footage and regular film structure to them, but it wasn’t creative enough and only served to make the film incredibly predictable and uninteresting.  The Quiet Ones came and went from theaters quietly, and its not hard to see why.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Provides a sharp and very detailed if not richly dark image.  Even the 16mm “footage” looks rather impressive.  My one overall complaint is that the image is almost too dark.  I get that you want to be spooky, but you also don’t want to sacrifice detail and make things just generally hard to see.

Depth:  Some really good depth when on campus and around the stairwell of the house.  Average, but good nonetheless.

Black Levels:  This film is almost too dark.  It gives a sort of gothic feel to the picture, but it also hides a lot of detail.  Any article of black clothing lacks in detail and darkened scenes hide a lot of the environment.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are bold and rich without being overbearing or distracting.  Glossy and lifelike in appearance.

Flesh Tones:  Consistent and detailed.  Polished looking but not smudgy.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean.  Any grain, pop or scratches were intentional and added in post.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s):  English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  This track has fun with volumes.  There are many different setting for the sound effects and score.  The score is a very ominous one and set rather low.  The effects range from super loud to low.

Low Frequency Extension:  Some nice booms come in the form of things being knocked over or beaten around.

Surround Sound Presentation:  While the movie blows, this track is an absolutely blast.  A lot of fun right and left interplay as well as some crazy haunts from the rear speakers.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and clear.  However, it is set at a very low volume to force you to turn it up so that the louder set sound effects will startle you.

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Extras 

The Quiet Ones includes a UltraViolet copy of the film.

Audio Commentary – With Director/Co-writer John Pogue and Producer Tobin Armbrust.

Welcome To The Experiment: Making The Quiet Ones (HD, 34:53) – A rather detailed step-by-step account of making this film that includes interviews with the cast and crew.

An Ominous Opening (HD, 8:24) – A featurette on creating the opening credits sequence.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 12:16)

Outtakes (HD, 3:29)

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Summary 

While this is a poor movie, those who are fans of it should be more than pleased with its Blu-ray release.  The extras are rather detailed and leave no real questions lying about.  Also, the video and audio presentation are pretty top notch and I can’t imagine this getting a better treatment.  For those curious or who have not seen it yet, I would suggest a rental to test the waters before buying.

Quiet-Ones-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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