Project Silence Review
Capelight Pictures

The idea of a suspension bridge, with cables that snap at the most inopportune moments, shrouded in fog, with a massive car pileup that includes a vehicle with a very mysterious cargo, was immediately intriguing. Project Silence conjured wonderful memories of Frank Darabont’s 2007 nightmare-inducing The Mist. Add in the usually well-thought-out Korean way of delivering stories, and this seemed like a great time, and it was. Although it was sometimes dragged by a few ridiculous and silly moments, it also delivered in a tight one hundred minutes.

Project Silence starts slow but is interesting enough. However, the plot trope involving a recently widowed father, Cha Jeong Won (played by the late Lee Sun-kyun), and his strained relationship with his daughter, Cha Kyeong-Min (Kim Su-an), is getting a bit tiresome. Jeong Won is a chief aide to a presidential candidate and is pretty ruthless in getting things done for his boss. To that end, he’s sending his daughter abroad to study, partly so he can focus on work but mostly because he’s not the greatest father. Their trip to the airport comes to a streaking halt when an accident on the bridge to the airport causes a huge pileup of cars, which is the least of their worries. 

Also on the bridge is a vehicle with secret cargo carrying a group of super dogs created by a shady government agency. They are unleashed in the crash and, combined with fires, toxic gas leaks, a damaged bridge, and very thick fog, create a very tense situation for everyone on the bridge. This is when the film is at its best, as a sense of dread hangs in the air, and the fear of the unknown inhabits everyone. Already scared and confused, the dogs are soon upon the survivors, and the cat-and-mouse survival game begins. 

Joining the father-daughter combo are Doctor Yang (Kim Hee-won), the head research scientist of Project Silence; Joe Park (Ju Ji-hoon), a tow truck driver with a strange connection to the father-daughter; and the young golfer with an attitude, Yoo-Ra (Park Hyun), and her bumbling manager, Mi-Ran (Park Hee-von). It’s quite an eclectic group. 

The eerie fog-covered bridge is a great setting, and the aftermath of the pileup creates a quiet anxiousness that hangs over everyone’s heads. The modified super-aggressive CGI dogs are a great touch at times. They act like sharks, moving in and out of the fog and darkness, hard to see until it’s too late, and attacking in systematic strikes. Some of the CGI is pretty obvious at times, but the dark, foggy set helps to shroud most of the issues.

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Director and co-writer Tae-gon Kim struggles at times to mix horror and humor, and the story or plot arc at the time falls rather flat. He has a great sense of movement and timing, though, as many of the more tense scenes are very believable, with a few very well done. The film does drag at times, as mentioned. There are several characters to keep involved in some way in the story, but overall, it is paced well. The action scenes feel chaotic in the best way possible. The goofiness of some scenes and comedic moments/one-liners by certain characters seem forced at times but genuine at other times, especially during high-stress moments. 

The father-daughter dynamic has become too familiar, but the actors do a good job of selling the struggle to the audience, making the final act with them that much more believable. A special shout out to cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo for making the dark and gloomy bridge scenes a beautiful nightmare to look at, making the final scenes in the daylight look even brighter by comparison. 

After watching Project Silence, I was stuck figuring out its genre. It crosses the lines between action, horror, thriller, and disaster movies. While the film does a good job balancing all of these genres, it does suffer a kind of identity crisis at times as it weaves its way through the story toward the conclusion. To that end, it’s rather predictable but has a lot of fun along the way.


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