Tuesday, October 22, 2019
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Review: The Quiet Ones

The resuscitated Hammer Films latest, The Quiet Ones, 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 woman (Olivia Cooke) locked up for research purposes; Sam Claflin is 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 can’t 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.