Bonus Reviews: Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (2018) and The Quiet Ones (2014)
Horror Bulletin Bonus for Week 189
For this week’s bonus films, we’ve got an animated, surreal, and very depressing film, "Birdboy: The Forgotten Children" from 2018 and also a recent Hammer Horror film, "The Quiet Ones" from 2014.
Don’t forget, the first week of each month, we publish ALL our reviews, including the bonus content, in our monthly “Horror Bulletin” print magazine (also available as an ebook). If you don’t have time to read the website or email, here’s one more option for you! The new issue is out now!
Thanks for reading Horror Bulletin! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
2014 The Quiet Ones
Director: John Pogue
Writers: Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman
Stars: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke
Run Time: 1 Hour, 38 Minutes
We start at the University of Oxford in 1974. Professor Joseph Coupland is giving a lecture about a case he once worked on that involved a ghost. Some of his students get upset and quit the class. He approaches Brian, one of the better students, to work with him and document his experiments on film.
They record a girl, Jane, who sees ghosts and had one that inhabited Evie, a doll. A steam pipe bursts during the interview. They keep her locked in a cell for her own protection. “Things would happen. Furniture would move, things would catch on fire.” The Professor doesn’t think it’s schizophrenia. “Don’t look into her eyes,” explains the professor to Brian.
They want to prove that she can project telekinetic energy, and if they can, they think they can cure mental illness for good. The professor tells the story of David Q, the child in the opening video. He could wreak telekinetic havoc. The professor thinks it’s all mental illness; he doesn’t believe in the supernatural.
The provost pulls the funding for the experiment, so they need to move Jane. They blindfold Jane and take her to an old place out in the country. They hypnotize her and they finally get to hear from Evie. They repeat the experiment later, and this time they burn her with a candle; Brian objects to the way they are treating June. That night, he finds her mutilating herself with cuts.
In one session, she described a fire, and the doll in her hands burns up, and then something strange comes out of her. They do catch it on film, but it’s really distorted. Joseph calls it teleplasm. Eventually, Evie makes herself known, and bites the professor in the hand. Brian starts to think it’s all fake, and the professor is a fraud. Brian smashes the Evie doll, and right at that moment, Jane falls over, bleeding.
They take a photo of her “aura,” and they can literally see Evie in the photo. The question becomes did June create Evie, and does she control it? More and more, it’s starting to look like Evie came from somewhere else, which suggests the occult, and the professor is completely unwilling to accept that idea.
Harry and Kris go back to Oxford, and Brian goes back there to do some research as well. Brian finds out that Evie is an ancient demon that caused a lot of trouble in 1954, and now it possesses Jane. Everyone fights with Joseph. They also learn that David Q was Joseph’s son and later on a victim of suicide. Sigils start burning into all four of the scientists, and within a minute, Krissi and Harry are dead.
Jane figures it out; she’s Evie Dwyer, and she’s a survivor of a cult. She killed the entire cult. Joseph ties Brian to a chair, and he plans to kill and resurrect Jane. Brian knocks out Joseph and brings back Jane from death. Has Evie left Jane’s body?
No. Jane does a quick spontaneous human combustion trick, and the film ends.
Since it takes place in the 70s, this is as much a period piece as any of the others, it’s just a different period. The main story alternates with Brian’s video footage, giving it a bit of a “found footage” feel without actually being found footage.
Every time Evie shows up, the sound gets super loud and distorted, and the camera shakes all over. It’s really annoying, and it takes a lot of fun out of the movie.
It goes on for too long, and it’s not that interesting. It was nice seeing the scientific side of the investigation, but the main plot itself wasn’t interesting, and the ending was just… not good.
2018 Birdboy: The Forgotten Children
Directed by Alberto Vazquez, Pedro Rivero
Run Time: 1 Hour, 16 Minutes
We see how the land was taken over by industry and pollution and all the people had to go to work in the factories. Then the nuclear bombs wiped out the island, killing nearly everyone. Now it’s all post-apocalyptic wasteland. This was all before the child’s time, so he doesn’t remember what life used to be like. The scavenger rat’s child wants to see inside the old lighthouse, which looks to be still intact, but his father warns her to never go there, as not everything with a body is alive.
Birdboy wakes up in his nest, takes his pill, and flies through the dead trees. Dinky gets up, takes his pills, gets a load of guilt from her parents over not going to church anymore. She whines that they don’t understand who she really is.
Sandra “the loco” hears voices that tell her to do bad things. Dinky explains to Sandra and the Little Fox that Birdboy has a demon inside him that’s eating him up like a parasite. Outside, we see Birdboy’s hands reaching for her jar of happy pills. The trio inside talk about moving to the big city, but they don’t have any money. Could they steal it? Dinky writes to Birdboy and asks him to go with them.
Zacharias the pig is a fisherman with a boat, and he hates having to deal with Birdboy. He brings in drugs, the only thing that helps Birdboy control what’s inside him. Birdboy takes the drugs and has a nightmarish dream about flying monsters that eat his guts out. The police are on Birdboy’s trail; Birdboy’s father did something really terrible. Zacharias’s mother is sick and in pain upstairs, but he warns her not to overmedicate. She lays on the guilt trip too.
Meanwhile, the three kids are downstairs stealing Zacharias’s piggy bank. They barely escape the killer spider before Zacharias kills it. Back on the dock, the police have found Birdboy and are shooting at him. He runs and jumps into the boat for shelter. He flies off, but the policeman shoots him in the back.
Birdboy crashes into the dead woods and must walk from here. He goes into a dark cave with only the light from a firefly to follow. Inside is a world of green, untouched by the atomic horrors of the rest of the world. After spending some time there, the old bird who runs the place tells Birdboy that he needs to go back to his own world.
The scavenger rats find Dinky’s walking alarm clock and keep it. Another rat comes and gets territorial, and they fight to the death. Back on the mountain, the voices in Sandra’s head tell her to kill Little Fox, but she ignores them. We get a flashback showing us the Birdboy and Dinky were boyfriend and girlfriend.
Dinky, Fox, and Sandra make it to the junkyard, where they run into a greedy scavenger rat. He tells a sad story about how he lost his hand for stealing. They ask about Hangar 27, which is where they’re heading. The old rat offers to show them the way. They arrive there and meet Uncle Klaus, who deals in contraband of all kinds. They want a boat. They can’t afford a good boat, but he offers them an inflatable duck boat– that talks. The boat begs to go with them and tells a sad story about losing his family as well.
Birdboy has gone back to his father’s lighthouse. It’s full of demons, and Birdboy releases the one inside him. He finds a photo of himself and his dead father.
The three kids run into a rat gang who beat them up and take everything. They are marched into Rat City and talk to the leader of the rats, who calls his scavenger people the “Forgotten Children.”
Back at the lighthouse, the kids’ parrot runs into Birdboy. The demons all go into Birdboy which makes so much noise that the rats hear it in their garbage dump miles away. The demon attacks the rats as the children make their escape. This goes badly for the rats, as the demon can breathe green fire. Dinky doesn’t want to leave; she recognizes Birdboy. Demon-possessed Birdboy claws at Dinky, but she hugs him, and he calms down.
Birdboy flies back to the lighthouse, which has now been activated. The kids ride the rubber boat through a storm and the boat sinks. The police arrive and shoot Birdboy. Sandra wants to save Dinky, but the voices tell her not to. From out of nowhere, Zacharias arrives with his boat to rescue the three children. Birdboy sinks to the bottom of the ocean and drowns.
Dinky goes home to her horrible parents and listens to them scold her for skipping school today.
The next night, Zacharias reels in Birdboy’s dead corpse on his fishing line and watches his soul fly away to join many others. Dinky sees them outside her window and follows them all as they lead her to the cave of green.
It’s an interesting, but very bleak, world full of strange talking animals, animated trees, sentient alarm clocks, and a bunch of other stuff. Most of the characters battle their own internal “demons” which are shown here literally as black things with red eyes.
We meet lots of characters and see lots of things, but it all takes a long time to finally come together and make sense. It’s weird and very surreal, and probably not for everyone– definitely not for the kids.
Newsletter Contact Info:
Stay tuned for more regular and bonus reviews next week!
Book Store: https://brianschell.com/collection/horror-film-books
The web: http://www.horrorguys.com
Subscribe by email:
Thanks for reading Horror Bulletin! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.