A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Quiet Ones is a supposedly fact-based horror movie that's set in 1974 England. There's lots of arguing, fighting, punching, and bashing with cricket bats, plus some burns and bloody corpses, but the bulk of the movie's scares consist of loud, sudden jump shocks. A disturbed college-age young woman undergoes a series of unsettling tests and is often heard screaming. One of the female characters is shown to be in a sexual relationship with two of the male characters; some brief nudity is shown (glimpse of a breast and backside), and the sounds of sex can be heard through a door. Language is infrequent but includes at least one use of "f--k" and "s--t." Characters smoke lots of cigarettes (accurate for the era the movie takes place in).
What's the story?
In 1974, at Oxford, professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) teaches his students that the so-called supernatural only consists of things we don't yet understand. Then he gathers up two students, plus a cameraman, Brian (Sam Claflin), to conduct an experiment on a disturbed young woman, Jane (Olivia Cooke), who appears to be possessed. Joseph believes that Jane invented the secondary personality, called "Evey," and that she has the power to make "Evey" disappear as well. But after much arguing, filming, and some painful-looking experiments, Jane starts to exhibit behavior that's not so easily explained. Can the academics solve the problem?
Is it any good?
The experience of watching The Quiet Ones is more agitating than it is scary or fun. Supposedly based on a true story -- which four different writers then adapted to the screen -- the film doesn't actually tell a story or develop any kind of rising suspense or tingling chills so much as it presents a series of jump-shocks and sudden, loud noises. Half of these are actually related to the movie, and the other half are false scares, like a champagne cork going off or someone accidentally dropping something. And the annoying, abrasive musical score makes noises like a repeating staple gun that simply grow louder.
Rather than developing the main five characters, building a dynamic, and increasing the stakes, director John Pogue simply shows the characters arguing with one another and Jane screaming or undergoing some kind of cruel test. Harris gets in a few stylish moments, and the 1970s outfits are amusing, but otherwise there's little to recommend this film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Quiet Ones' violence. How does it compare to what you've seen in other horror/scary movies? How do the violent scenes make you feel? How do the filmmakers achieve this?
Is The Quiet Ones scary? What's the difference between a "jump shock" (or a loud, sudden noise) and something that causes tingles and feels truly frightening?
If this movie is based on a true story, how much of it feels real? How much seems to have been invented to become a horror movie? How does it compare to other "true story" horror movies you've seen?
The movie takes place in the '70s, which is likely why the characters smoke so much. Is it jarring to see that happening on screen, or does it reinforce the era the movie takes place in? How are things different today?
- In theaters: April 25, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: August 19, 2014
- Cast: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke
- Director: John Pogue
- Studios: Lionsgate, Hammer Film Productions
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and terror, sexual content, thematic material, language, and smoking throughout
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.