Jared Harris, Olivia Cooke and Sam Claflin star in The Quiet Ones, the latest film from resurgent legendary horror studio, Hammer.
This paranormal thriller sees Professor Coupland (Harris) and a group of students conduct a series of experiments on the highly troubled Jane Harper (Cooke) in the hope of creating a poltergeist from her negative energy.
It’s giving nothing away to say that the experiment backfires with disastrous consequences for some of the group.
The brutality of Harper’s – albeit willing – exploitation in the name of science is so unrelenting that audiences will find it unsettling to watch, a reaction mirrored on screen by Claflin’s character Brian, a film enthusiast recruited to chronicle the experiment.
While his fellow students (played by Erin Richards and Rory Fleck-Byrne) dote on Coupland, Brian questions the ethics and legitimacy of the experiment, adding a much needed sense of internal conflict to the story.
Both Claflin and Harris turn in fine performances but it’s Cooke who steals the film with a series of tormented, wide-eyed appearances as she emerges from shadows of the room in which she’s kept between sessions.
A couple of trips away from the secluded country house setting momentarily undermine the sense of danger but for the most part the film delivers some nicely timed scares and genuine edge of the seat moments as things get increasingly out of control.
Hammer could so easily have played it safe by racing to cash in on The Woman in Black’s success with a safe, guaranteed hit sequel. Instead, studio boss Simon Oakes and his team opted to play for longevity by proving there’s more to them than Susan Hill’s creepy haunter.
In an age when even the biggest Hollywood studios are desperate to bag themselves a franchise, it’s both welcome to see Hammer daring to buck the trend by seeking to establish a run of stand-alone successes and rewarding to see it succeed.
The Quiet Ones a solid effort which the studio can be justifiably proud of and which audiences are going to love being scared by.
Out across the UK from April 10th.