If the stock concessions made to genre cliché by The Woman in Black can be charitably viewed as deliberate tips of the hat to the heyday of Hammer Films, then John Pogue's period-set exorcism yarn The Quiet Ones more interestingly upends those tropes.
Messier than recent Hammer output, but effectively chilling when it’s not making us feel the noize.
There’s creepy dolls, cameras tipped on their side, blasts of white noise and a horny teenage Scooby gang helping Jared Harris’ Oxford prof stir up a poltergeist in the mind of a moody emo girl (Olivia Cooke).
The arrestingly fierce Cooke, in particular, is surely a star in the making.
The 1970s setting offers a retro feel that should strike appealing chords for fans of old-school horror, but there’s little here that’s exactly new or fresh.
The Hollywood Reporter
The film relies on high production values and sense-battering shock tactics to make up for wooden performances and an illogical, silly script. As an exercise in retro pastiche, it impresses. But as a postmodern genre reinvention, it fails to deliver.
The New York Times
There are nice touches... Yet many of the movie’s more nominally horrific elements are too familiar.
Time Out London
There are a couple of decent jumps and a few giggles, but nothing armrest-clenchingly scary about The Quiet Ones.
Los Angeles Times
It's a junky, unscary genre piece with a misleading title, because director and co-writer John Pogue jacks up the decibels so often to manufacture frights that you fear a punctured eardrum more than anything else.
New York Daily News
Ah, wait — it’s an ancient Sumerian curse. That seems like poppycock to everyone but this film’s four screenwriters, who also unfortunately go for crashes and yelling instead of a frightening story.