Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Strong and Disturbing Sexual Content, a scene of Violence, Language, Drug Content and brief Nudity
Directed by: Jamie Babbit
Written by: Abdi Nazemian, Micah Schraft
Starring: Camilla Belle, Elisha Cuthbert, Martin Donovan, Edie Falco, Shawn Ashmore, Katy Mixon, David Gallagher, Shannon Woodward
There’s no real way of saying this without it sounding like hyperbole. THE QUIET is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen in my life. The premise has a bit of potential from a quick outside view, but to dissect everything further rips apart an abomination that was destined to fail from the minute it was conceived. The movie runs 96 minutes too long and is awful in every single department. From the horrible acting, worse characters, and convoluted plot equates to this entire movie feeling like a trashy exploitation B-flick that refuses to have fun with itself. The movie keeps a somber, straight-face in spite of the increasingly ridiculous twists and that only makes it so much more insulting to the viewer’s intelligence.
Dot is a mute deaf teenage orphan. She’s going to live with her godparents who seem to be living a perfect lifestyle in their luxurious home. This family consists of mother, father, and their teenage daughter Nina. Turns out that the mother is a pill-popping junkie and father is doing some pretty nasty things to Nina. Things are flying off the handle and the family’s sinister secrets might take a bloody turn, all with Dot as a silent witness to all of it. Dot isn’t exactly as innocent as she seems either.
That premise has minor potential of becoming a decent thriller. Instead, THE QUIET plays the melodrama card for the entirety of the film until the final 10 minutes when thing fly so preposterously over-the-top that it becomes laughable, but at that point I felt like smashing the DVD to pieces for even wasting my time. THE QUIET reaches that rare level of being so bad that it’s infuriating to watch. I was pissed off and depressed by the time this mess was finished. The fact that the story revolves around a gallery of some of the most hateable people to ever appear in a movie certainly doesn’t help matters. There’s a stark difference between bad characters that you enjoy watching and just plain awful excuses for human beings. Prime examples of this would be Patrick Bateman from AMERICAN PSYCHO and every single person in KILLER JOE. They’re all engaging enough for the viewer to feel that the film is worth dedicating their attention to. THE QUIET doesn’t have a single well-developed or interesting character. I couldn’t have cared less if every single one of these so-called characters died horribly. These were just tools to get across the dark deeds being shown on-screen. Even those come off as pure shock value and nothing more.
I haven’t seen a single good movie yet that starred Camilla Belle (note: I’ve only seen her appear in 10,000 BC and the WHEN A STRANGER CALLS remake). As Dot, Camilla isn’t given any on-screen dialogue and is forced to act through pure body language. If as this weren’t a solid technique for the viewer to garner sympathy towards this girl, we’ve been treated to a pretentious voiceover through Dot’s thoughts. In these monologues, she compares her life to Beethoven’s and tries to wax deep philosophy, but doesn’t refrain from using the phrase “Life sucks” over and over again. The dialogue is simply atrocious. It doesn’t get any better for anybody else either. Shawn Ashmore’s athlete crushing on Dot appears to be the one redeeming factor and then the script seems to unintentionally corrupt him into an unlikable prick as well. The other characters go over-the-top in their snide remarks, cruelty, and downright bad attitudes. It’s as if the screenwriters mistook explicit graphic material for a compelling and interesting plot. Even if the acting and lifeless cinematography were changed for the better, THE QUIET would still tank due to a horrible screenplay.
THE QUIET is one of those dank disasters that manages to get everything wrong. It’s a mind-boggling piece of trash that has absolutely no redeeming qualities. I can’t find a single nice thing to say or even one area that was halfway decent. It’s all disastrous, any way you slice it. The story is unbelievable and so are the characters. Needless to say that the acting is bad and the movie makes some serious mistakes in trying to be stylized at points (one slow-motion sequence feels like it belongs on a Lifetime channel movie), when everything up to that point was trudging along from Point A to Point B in this dreary film. This is a hard one to watch. Not because the content is twisted and not because the film goes into dark places. It’s hard to watch because everything is terrible. It’s hard to believe that anybody thought this script was a good idea walking into this picture and don’t recommend wasting your precious time or hard-earned money on this pathetic excuse for a film.