An unorthodox professor (Jared Harris) controversially leads his best students off curiculum to take part in a dangerous experiment: to create a poltergeist. Based on the theory that paranormal activity is caused by negative human energy, the rogue boffins perform a series of tests on a young patient, pushing her to the edge of sanity.
Hammer Horror has grown up since it's genesis, with it's latest film leagues away from its schlocky Dracula series. There's menace and danger, and the suggestion that real evil isn't in the supernatural, but in us.
Inspired (in the loosest interpretation of the word) by true events, The Quiet Ones follows an Oxford professor's experiments on a young woman in an attempt to prove that ghosts don't exist.
Professor Coupland (Jared Harris) has acquired a young woman named Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke) who's spent her life shifting from foster home to asylum to hospital. She has a habit of attracting paranormal activity, and is tormented by a spirit named Evie.
Intending to prove that the spirit is a manifestation of her own psychosis, and therefore a curable phenomenon, Coupland sequesters her in a remote house and with a trio of students, conducts a series of experiments designed to bring the psychosis out so it can be destroyed.
As the situation escalates, however, Coupland's three students begin to suspect that their leader may be wrong, and the haunting of Jane Harper may be just what it appears.
The film makes full use of the current horror tropes; there's an unsettling soundtrack, a tortured girl with long black hair, a character with a camera permanently attached to his hand, allowing for loads of shaky, point of view shots.
There's a genuine tension, although the actual scares don't quite hit the target, but the real strength of the film is in what the stress and suspense does to the team of investigators.
In particular, Harris gives a compelling performance as condescending proffessor in a three-piece suit descending into a mad scientist in pyjamas, and the disollusionment of his accolytes complements it well.