Serial killers are among us, and a lot of them. It's no conspiracy theory, or device only used for film, television, and novels - it's a fact. It's estimated, probably very loosely, that between 3000 and 4000 serial killers are active in the states every year, and it's a scary thing to think about. With that said, is it any wonder the serial murderer is such a great plot device for a thriller? Some people say cliche, but I say true to life - and it all really is terrifying.
"Quiet, Pretty Things" is, as you've probably guessed, a low-budget thriller with lots of inspiration taken from the genre's big-budget cousins. I have seen, felt, winks to "Seven," "Zodiac," and even to the excellent television show, "Dexter" in both feel and presentation. From the narration of Rion's thoughts for us to hear to the parallel situation of wife abductions - and more - a-la "Seven." Interestingly, although I can see inspiration from other sources, this film doesn't feel like it's just rehashing old plot lines. There's a unique spin put into this film that works quite well. No question.
In the movie, Detective Quentin Robichaud is hot on the trail of a serial killer we come to know as Rion, and it's doing a number on his mental health and personal life. He's become distant from his wife and now sees a shrink in an attempt to strengthen up his mind. The killer in question, has been picking up the pace, and it's driving Quentin and everyone else crazy. Things pick up significantly when the police force, Quentin, decides to run a smear campaign through the media - in an effort to unhinge Rion. Unbeknownst to the good guys, Rion is becoming more and more unhinged anyway - and even begins hallucinating and talking to his dead victims. As Quentin tries to reconnect to his wife, his partner is killed off by you know who - in a pretty graphic scene. I'd love to go on, but I feel this is a film you should probably see for yourself. It may not be perfect, but still one hell of a ride.
From a technical standpoint, "Quiet, Pretty Things" is a pretty solid film, especially for a low-budget indie flick. However, things aren't perfect, and the first thing that comes to mind is the lens work. I'm not talking about the angles or anything like that - rather the camera's love of messing up the focus. This film's focus issue is a huge one, shifting focus away from the actors to things like trees, grass, and everything in between. A little soft focus here and there is one thing, but the shifts during scenes in the film are not minor, rather major. To the point, I found it hard to focus.
The film's actual editing was pretty solid, save a few awkward cuts from time to time and perhaps an unusual transition - overall, however, things moved quite briskly. I would be lying if I didn't think the film was a teeny bit long feeling, but that can be chalked up to this movie being very dialog heavy or the numerous montages. Aspects of the film I thought benefited from being low-budget? The kills. "Quiet, Pretty Things" feels very real and gritty one hundred percent. When you add to the mix some pretty decent acting all around, this film at times feels like a true to life snuff film. How's that grab you?
At the end of the day? A pretty decent movie I had no problem getting into. I loved the winks and nods, and it wasn't lost on me that the names of famous filmmakers seemed to be incorporated into the character names. If you go into this film expecting a film with the budget of a major studio, you may feel a little let down. But only a little, and only by some of the technical elements. The film itself, the story being told, did the trick for me - and I would have no problem recommending this movie to any lovers of the genre. Three and a half stars.