Sunday 13 April 2014

"The Quiet Ones" (The Guardian 11/04/14)

The Quiet Ones ***
Dir: John Pogue. With: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke. 98 mins. Cert: 15

The resuscitated Hammer Films’ latest is a shrewd bit of retrofitting that – like its US equivalent The Conjuring – reverses the Paranormal Activity bandwagon back to the early 1970s. A suavely patrician Jared Harris is the Oxford professor keeping a traumatised, possibly possessed young girl (Olivia Cooke) under lock and key for research purposes; Sam Claflin the virginal camera enthusiast who’s enlisted to document any breakthrough, only to wind up recording a series of increasingly loud bangs and crashes. The latter form an obvious concession to multiplex mores, but they can’t entirely obscure the more resonant dynamics between the professor and his acolytes, set to wondering whether these tests aren’t just extending the girl’s distress. Perhaps too business-minded to be distinctively scary – the team’s deployment of Slade as a wake-up call is the sole idiosyncrasy – it’s nevertheless better played than most: the arrestingly fierce Cooke, in particular, is surely a star in the making.

The Quiet Ones is in cinemas nationwide.

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