ALIENS, WITHOUT ALIENS
Film Review by Fiore
Until I watched THE QUIET HOUR, I thought M. Night Shyamaylan was the only director to make a movie about alien space invaders, and never show the aliens. The original version of SIGNS, with Mel Gibson and Joaquim Phoenix, had no encounters between protagonists and aliens. Test preview audiences complained, and to satisfy studio executives, Shyamaylan inserted a scene featuring a stunt man in a demented frog costume to heightened the film’s tension. All other scenes of the invasion where detailed through radio news reports. Now, Director and Writer Stephanie Joalland does Shyamaylan one better. She has no aliens in her film at all, and uses the invasion of Earth only as a subplot to her tale.
THE QUIET HOUR opens with Earth already conquered. The only thing we see of the aliens are large cone-shaped ships hovering over the land. The invaders have come to mine all the ores and minerals from the planet. They have effectively eliminated most of mankind. Only small clumps of survivors remain. For two hours during the day, the alien mining and patrol ships return to the cones for refueling. It is during this time, the humans who are left can safely move around.
Sarah Connelly, played by Dakota Blue Richards, is managing well, given the circumstances. She maintains a small garden for food, powers her home with solar panels and cares for her brother Tom, played by Jack McMullen, who is blind. Her world becomes complicated when Jude, played by Karl Davies, shows up unexpectedly. He is pursued by a motley crew of survivalists played by Brigitte Millar, James Browne, Zeb Moore and Liam O’Brian. The intruders are more this ragtag group of liars, than beings from space.
1.1 KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. SHOW DOWN IN THE BARN
2. THE TRIP TO THE RIVER
THE QUIET HOUR was made in Ireland, and as with most Irish films, it tends to move at a very slow pace. It was only the hope of seeing some aliens that kept me watching. Alas, there were none. The decisions made by Sarah and Tom are so questionable, one wonders how they managed to survive this long.
Director of Photography David Knight, shoots THE QUIET HOUR with a grainy filter and gloomy lighting scheme. The overall look is one of despair. Editor Michael Freedman does an excellent job keeping the film under ninety minutes, but even his skills can’t help move the story along.
Let’s take a look at the report card for THE QUIET HOUR:
ACTING = C
CINEMATOGRAPHY = B
SOUND/MUSIC = C
EDITING = B
LIGHTING = C
SCRIPT = D
SFX = D
ACTION = C
All told, THE QUIET HOUR is worth a look if you enjoy movies where the alien invasion is merely a subplot, and man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man is the central theme. Personally, I would have like aliens.