Friday, November 14, 2014

The Quiet Ones Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Inspired by actual events, the thriller The Quiet Ones is coming to Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital), Video on Demand and Pay-Per-View on August 19 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The eerie supernatural story will be available two weeks earlier on Digital HD August 5. The film stars Jared Harris (TV's "Mad Men"), Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Erin Richards (Open Grave), Rory Fleck-Byrne (Vampire Academy) and Olivia Cooke (TV's "Bates Motel"). When a crazed university professor (Harris) and his team of students set out to cure a disturbed patient, the unthinkable happens. Trusting in their leader and his motives, Brian (Claflin) and his fellow students find themselves far from help...and all too close to a sinister force they never suspected.   
Film (2 out of 5 stars)
In the 1970s, a professor at Oxford University tries to create a poltergeist by taking a young, abandoned girl, Jane, who is rumored to be possessed, keeping her in a locked room and antagonizing her with loud music, daily, until the “poltergeist” shows itself. His point is to disprove the supernatural and prove that what people are seeing and experiencing is natural and caused by the subject. 

Professor Coupland hires Brian, a film student to join his team of researchers, and film the events experienced by himself and his two assistants, Krissi and Harry. When the University ends his research, Coupland moves the team to an abandoned estate in the English Countryside. When Jane’s energy takes the form of “Evie,” Coupland gives Jane a doll to focus that energy and make “Evie” take on the shape of the doll. After “Evie” harms Jane by carving a symbol into her body, Brian leaves the house and returns to Oxford to do research. There, he finds that the symbol is a cultish symbol and this could be the work of a Cult. He returns to the house and tells Coupland the story, but is dismissed, as he is convinced it’s Jane manifesting the energy and not possession.

When even stranger things begin happening – the symbol is carved on each member of the team, Krissi and Harry are harmed – Brian tries to get Jane out of the house and Coupland prevents them from leaving. When Brian awakes, she sees that Coupland has strapped Jane to a table and is preparing to give her an injection that very well may kill her. Brian is able to save Jane, but before they can leave, the house catches fire.

For me, The Quiet Ones was an utterly forgettable film. I remember wanting to see this in the theater, but after watching it on Blu-ray, I’m so glad I didn’t spend the money. In fact, more than a week after watching it, I had a hard time remembering what happened. The others I watched it with weren’t impressed either and both said it’s not something they would watch again. That said, I thought the special effects were good, especially when throwing items and characters around the rooms. The acting was good, and I thought Jared Harris did a good job as Professor Coupland. Sam Claflin was believable as Brian, the film student who questioned Coupland’s tactics. As I watched, I knew I had seen Claflin before and was surprised when I looked it up and found he is “Finnick” in The Hunger Games movies. The Quiet Ones was disappointing and I thought it could have been so much better.
Video (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 1080p high-definition, widescreen presentation of The Quiet Ones was okay.  The 1970s-era filming style was good.  Since much of the film is seen through Brian’s camera lens, it’s very 1970s, but the picture was still mostly clear.  There were a couple of issues where the picture was a little blurry and at times, it was too dark and I had to strain to see what was going on.  The colors, as you would expect in a horror movie, muted, and to me, the black levels were inconsistent.  I could only hope that if seen on the big screen, these issues would be fixed and perhaps it was just a problem with the transfer.
Audio (2 out of 5 stars)
The English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio presentation of The Quiet Ones was really inconsistent.  I had a hard time watching the film when I was so concerned with adjusting the volume every few minutes.  At times, it was so loud, we had to turn it down so much, then immediately after, it was so quiet, we had to turn the volume way up.  It made a not-so-great film even less enjoyable when I had to hold the remote control in my hand the whole time.  When we could hear the dialogue, it was clear and intelligible, but the sound level was just so varied that it was hard to find that happy-medium level where we could enjoy it.  For those who need it The Quiet Ones is also available in Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and has English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
There's a decent amount of extras but nothing too exciting.
  • Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer John Pogue and Producer Tobin Armbrust – A replay of the film with the commentary included.
  • Welcome to the Experiment: Making The Quiet OnesA 35-minute background on the film from its origins, to finding the cast, to filming, to its sound and sets.  This behind-the-scenes look includes comments from the cast, writers, producers and director.  This was interesting, but too long. 
  • An Ominous Opening – This is an eight minute explanation of the opening title sequence including comments from the designer.  I liked hearing how they came up with the opening titles and why they did what they did.  You rarely hear about how these openings happen, so this was interesting for me.
  • Deleted Scenes – 12 minutes of deleted scenes from the film.  I didn’t find any of them particularly intriguing or necessary and they were good choices to leave out.
  • Outtakes – Three minutes of outtakes and bloopers from filming.  These are always my favorite feature as it shows how not seriously they take themselves in what is a serious film.  I did find myself giggling at many of the outtakes.
  • Also from Lionsgate – The previews from the beginning of the disc grouped in one feature.  I really don’t see the point of having them again when they are already at the beginning of the disc… even though they are all movies I have seen or want to see.
Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
There were a lot of things wrong with The Quiet Ones in my opinion.  It wasn’t just the sound, or the picture, or the story, or the script.  But when you add all those issues together, they did not make the film better.  The actors did the best they could with what they were given, and the direction wasn’t terrible.  I think the main problem was the story.  It had such potential, but given the problems with the script, it just didn’t play out very well.  The Quiet Ones was not for me and I most likely will not watch it again.

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