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Movie review: ‘The Quiet Ones’ has common plot but interesting characters

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The Quiet Ones

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Most college students stress about finals, papers, and maybe even relationship drama. But what if you were a college student dealing with the supernatural? In the new movie The Quiet Ones, a professor selects three students to experiment on a supposedly possessed girl, and the results are definitely not quiet.

In 1974, Professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) takes 19-year-old former foster child Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke) from an asylum. For all of Jane’s life, her foster families have reported strange goings on whenever she’s in the house. Joseph hopes to perform experiments on Jane to figure out exactly what is wrong with her and eventually cure her. The focus of the paranormal activity is an entity named Evey, who manifests herself through a doll. And Evey is growing more dangerous every day, posing a threat not just to Jane, but to the students in the house: A/V guy Brian (Sam Claflin), and lovebirds Krisse (Erin Richards) and Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne).

As far as plot, there's nothing here even the casual horror fan hasn't seen numerous times. Horny college kids, a creepy old mansion, a purportedly possessed teenage girl, and so on.

The Quiet Ones is not a found footage movie, but much of the story is told through Brian’s camera. As a result, there’s a lot that happens off camera that we don’t see, lending to the atmosphere of the movie. There’s even a bit of (gasp!) shaky cam. Also adding to the atmosphere is the old, creepy house the team moves into after funding for the experiment is cut.The fact that they’re conducting an experiment explains why they don’t run when they hear noises, a common complaint of horror movies.

The movie’s main strength is its characters and their dynamics. Sure, Krisse and Harry aren't given much to do other than..well, each other. But just like the house, the professor himself gives a creepy vibe at first which, later on, turns out to be well deserved.

But the dynamics between Jane and Brian are what makes the story intriguing. Jane isn’t a stock character or cardboard cutout of what people think mental illness is. She’s a real, three dimensional person, with feelings and desires and even likability. As expected, cameraman Brian is inexplicably drawn to her, seeing her as less of an experiment and more of a person with each passing day. And, as he usually does, Sam Claflin (aka Finnick Odair) shines as Brian.

The Quiet Ones is rather quiet (and cliche), but not a bad pick if you like interesting characters or movies dealing with mental health. Have you seen it yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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