The Quiet Hour
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
You've got two choices:
One is to watch this movie or stick a hot poker in your eye, the right option is to start shopping for an eye patch.
I'm fine with low budget, but c'mon! it's an hour and a half of zip, that could be compressed to five minutes. I could write more to explain why not to watch but I'll just tell you not even worth watching when it is free, which it will be soon enough.
All I'll say is LOTS of stupid, stupid decisions makes for painful viewing
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.
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.
“Humans are few and far between since Earth was invaded by unseen extra-terrestrial machines that harvest the planet’s natural resources and relentlessly kill its inhabitants. In a remote part of the countryside, where starved humans have become as dangerous as the alien machines hovering in the sky, a feisty 19-year-old girl, Sarah Connolly sets out on a desperate attempt to fight back a ground of bandits and defend her parents’ farm …”
There’s a bit more, but that’s really all that’s needed to understand where HOUR’s story comes from and how its characters interact, and – to its credit – the film stays that course crafted by writer/director Stéphanie Joalland. This is essentially a tale of survival, but it’s doubly one of invasion, the first of extraterrestrials and the second of humans. There’s even a near parallel of “drilling” as the heroine Sarah (played by the lovely Dakota Blue Richards) almost endears a sexual assault, one shadowing back to the aliens repeatedly boring into our planet’s surface; yet it’s all handled metaphorically with some subtlety as the Earthly aggressor gets thwarted by another before he can consummate the attack.
Sadly, no matter how hard Richards and her co-stars try, HOUR feels more like a bad weekender as the hours march on with little effect, dwindling impact, and/or interesting character development.
In the simplest estimation, Sarah and her blind brother Tom (Jack McMullen) are exactly the kind of creations audiences want to care about. This connection establishes a baseline from which a motion picture like this builds. You need to know them; you need to understand them; for it’s precisely from there that you identify with their plight. Without that foundation, all of what happens becomes only a serious of unfortunate events provided context by a script and the other actors plunked into the action.
Sarah is crafted with a youthful nobility – she’s keeping watch over her family’s stead – because it’s the responsible thing to do, but Joalland’s script never gives her any other depth: sure, she might be hiding a secret or two from her brother, but we all do that, don’t we? You don’t tell your sibling about that time mom slipped up and said you were her favorite, right? Or when dad had too much to drink? Sure, Sarah’s a good kid – resourceful, even quite comely – but why didn’t she do a better job at hiding pop’s grave? Think of her as Katniss Everdeen for the ‘sticks,’ if you’re familiar with the term.
Tom is even lesser a creation, perhaps given a token disability in order to heighten the suspense when his blindness really never plays necessarily into their present circumstance. (Yes, I caught that the death of his mother was the last thing he saw, but it was all delivered so flatly I’m not sure it mattered.) McMullen certainly did what he could with the character, but as written by Joalland I got the feeling Tom was supposed to be vastly younger than the twenty-ish adult who incarnated him. Dare I suggest that the casting was all wrong? If he were a child, then Sarah’s forced servitude might’ve been a touch more meaningful, but when hindsight is twenty-twenty I try not to overthink it that much.
Karl Davies plays Jude, the “soldier” (or is he?) who shows up on the Connolly farm and puts the central conflict in motion – this trio is meant to play off one another in what’s intended to be increasing tension even after they’re collaborating against the nameless band of thugs chasing Jude for reasons unclear (until the final reel, that is). Again, his character is affable enough to be believed but not complex enough to be real (another scriptwriting invention), so the performance only further muddies this already dirty premise.
Still, HOUR deserves credit for effectively creating this slimmed down bleak glimmer into what survival for the truly rural class post-invasion looks like. Dozens of good wartime features have taken the same tact – a soldier stumbles into a small community, and then the survivors must band together against the odds – so it stands to reason that Joalland’s film could work if shaved of its more predictable moments and beefed up its characters and effects. In fact, I liked the idea of the small-town perspective so much so that I stuck with this one ‘til the big finish. That in and of itself says something.
You don’t need the shock and awe of big alien spaceships to weave a good tapestry these days; you must deliver audiences to a place they’re willing to visit for 90 minutes, and – in that case – HOUR is about 25 minutes too long and undercooked.