Years ago, after my wife and I first discovered the television joy that is BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, I began to ponder what about the show made it so good. Obviously, there’s a lot to like about a teenage demon killer who is cute and perky…but I ultimately decided it was the element of human drama that made the show so love-worthy. Sure, the vampires and monsters were great, and the characterizations of the “Scooby Gang” were very strong, but it was the interactions between them and how they dealt with the horrors they faced that created such an enthralling series. As such, I began to describe BUFFY as a human drama piece set against the backdrop of a Hellmouth.
When THE WALKING DEAD hit the scene, I saw the same characteristics. Strong characters with gripping and emotional writing…it was another major hit. I dubbed it in a similar fashion, a human drama series set against the backdrop of the zombie apocalypse.
THE QUIET HOUR is a science fiction film that attempts to capture the spirit of BUFFY and TWD. Set against the backdrop of an alien invasion, the movie focuses more on a human threat than an alien one. Unfortunately, this film lacks the spark that both BUFFY and TWD contain. The result is a ho-hum alien film that alienates its audience instead.
If you are not familiar with THE QUIET HOUR, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Monarch Home Entertainment:
Humans are few and far between since Earth was invaded by extra-terrestrial machines that harvest the planet’s resources and relentlessly kill its inhabitants. In a remote part of the countryside, where starved humans have become as dangerous as the alien machines in the sky, a feisty 19 year old girl, Sarah Connolly, sets out on a desperate attempt to repel a group of bandits and defend her farm, the remaining livestock, and the solar panels that keep them safe. If she doesn’t succeed, she will lose her only source of food and shelter; but if she resists, she and her blind brother will be killed. If the mysterious intruder dressed like a soldier turns out to be a liar–then the enemy may already be in the house.
I wanted so badly to like this film more than I actually did. It does have a tad bit of entertainment value, but not enough for me to call it “good”. Still, the premise is interesting, and the execution is pretty solid. It’s just the writing that does the movie in.
THE QUIET HOUR is shot well and looks good onscreen. I watched this on DVD, so I didn’t get to experience the film in HD. Thankfully, that’s not a negative. The picture is not grainy at all, and the cinematography looks tight.
The acting is good, with Dakota Blue Richards portraying the main character, Sarah. Richards gives a great performance, and I daresay she steals every scene in which she appears. She is joined by Karl Davies, who plays Jude, her brother; Davies also does a great job, as does Jack McMullen, who shows up as the solider Tom Connelly. All three play off each other very well, and their onscreen chemistry is blatantly evident.
The special effects in THE QUIET HOUR look good overall. The alien ships are obviously CGI, but they still appear convincing for the most part. I admit there was a scene where they looked very cartoonish, but otherwise the spacecraft are semi-believable.
The plot (or rather the lack thereof) is where the film’s biggest flaws lie. First, there’s barely any palpable tension anywhere. The characters are very one-dimensional, therefore we do not have any reason to relate to them or care about what happens to them. Even the blind brother comes off as a forced dramatic piece; we are supposed to feel sorry for him because of his lack of sight, yet he is so underdeveloped that it is sometimes difficult to remember he is there.
Also, the aliens are almost an afterthought. In BUFFY and TWD, the primary antagonists are usually present in some form or fashion; rarely an episode goes by when we don’t see a vampire or demon in BUFFY or a zombie in TWD. Sadly, we NEVER get to see an alien in THE QUIET HOUR. It’s great to have human drama intermingled with the main enemy…but we need to see the main enemy at least once.
Despite its flaws, THE QUIET HOUR would still make for a semi-interesting short film; there’s no arguing the main plotline can fill at least 20 minutes or so. But there’s not enough here to warrant a 90 minute feature film. I was bored throughout most of the movie, and the ending did little to make up for that. THE QUIET HOUR starts off with a whisper and ends just as silently and uneventful as it starts.