The Quiet Ones
1.) There’s about fifty jokes to make with that title. None of which will be made in this list.
2.) Put The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity in a jar, let Carrie (also 1974 . . .) shake it while Samara watches, and you’ve pretty much got The Quiet Ones.
3.) There was me and two other dudes there on opening day for it. Which bums me out: it’s horror, world. Also, though, I said to a class a few years ago, “So you’re all there for the midnight FD3 tonight, aren’t you?” and got just blank stares in return, so, you know: at least I was there.
4) There’s a point in here where they pause the projector, freezing an image on their screen, and this is 1974 and the bulb doesn’t melt the film. But: I was two years old then. Am I missing something?
5) So glad I saw this, because, while watching it, I figured out the title to a book that’s been living in my head for about three months. It was nothing anybody said, just something I said to myself.
6) I really wanted the “quiet ones” in The Quiet Ones to be scary. But alas, even getting the character to say the title out loud for us took a shoehorn.
7) I dig how this takes conventions both from the haunted house and the possession/exorcism genres, and then mixes it with some cult-stuff as well. Keeps you guessing. And I so hope this isn’t due to American Horror Story, which just stuff every horror trope and creature and jumpscare &etc into the breech of some bad-idea gun, closes it eyes, and pulls that trigger. If anything, I’ll say using all this in a single horror story is due to The Conjuring. Though I’m still feeling ripples from The Last Exorcism, as well. That wasn’t necessarily a gamechanger for horror, but it did up the stakes a bit, I think, in that it added layers to the story we all knew.
8) Near the end, we’re playing the found-footage game a bit, and there’s these little fast-forwards/edits in there, which I simply cannot seem to rationalize. I mean, they look cool, just, narratively, they make no sense, as they’re trucking in the idea of an invisible editor of sorts, sculpting all this.
9) Remember how Lake Mungo was super-terrifying for a while, then it got way less scary when it got less ghost-y, and then it suddenly ramped back up into terror at the last possible moment? The Quiet Ones tries for that same shape. Maybe it succeeds? Maybe not? Not sure yet. I mean, I haven’t tried to sleep on it yet. We’ll see.
10) The cautionary part of horror is quite often the thing that we can use defensively, yes? I do, anyway. Like, with Mica and Katie (I spelling them right?) from Paranormal Activity: just quit poking the demon, y’all, maybe it won’t bite back, think? Or with Sinister: dude deserves what he gets, as he did, after all, WATCH THE HAUNTED BOX OF HOME MOVIES THAT APPEARED IN A VERY HAUNTED MANNER IN, OF ALL PLACES, THE ATTIC. And all the kids who go to Crystal Lake, they’re just asking for it. But all these stupid people, they make us feel safer, don’t they? I mean, take Hell House, or House on Haunted Hill: scientific curiosity doesn’t just kill the cat, it kills everybody in the room, too. And, in The Quiet Ones, there’s more than enough scientific curiosity to go around. Suggesting that OUR path to relative safety, it’s to A) consider the possibility that possession and telekineses might express the same B) consider NOT renting the most obviously haunted house in Britain to do a secret experiment in, and C) take Eddie Murphy’s advice, and leave that house as soon as the weird stuff starts happening:
11) 1974, man, them were some groovy times. The clothes are so excellent. The set designers and wardrobe department kill it. And, whoever licensed Slade, and put them on a loop for the whole first act? Thank you. That’s my new best trick: just play Slade in the background. That way everything happening in the foreground is automatically better.
12) Also, talking Paranormal Activity one last time: that ‘demonic’ symbol that becomes important The Quiet Ones (maybe; that wasn’t a spoiler. it might not be important). Isn’t it way similar to the one behind all the pictures and every other scary place in the third PA? That actually serves to up the scare, for me.
13) Sam and Dean could have cleansed this house and exorcised this demon in fifty-two minutes, easy. Which isn’t to say anything bad about The Quiet Ones. Sam and Dean, they’re just a couple of bad dudes.