Tae-gon Kim’s “Project Silence” belongs to that breed of disaster flicks that can fly by for a mindless diversion. If you keep expectations marginal and low, there might be a good chance you can dig into this film. However, under the heavy scrutiny of reason and logic, the film barely holds up. It’s particularly baffling that a film leaning so heavily on a mishmash of rehashed tropes and templates and a plethora of predictable emotional outcomes needed three writers, Kim along with Yong-hwa Kim and Joo-Suk Park, to put it together.

This a matter of genuine puzzlement because there are no formal surprises to be found here. It’s just a hurriedly stitched-together tapestry of sequences that are designed to elicit suspense and dread, horror and hope. Very little really jumps out at you if you have had your fill of the genre. You can see where it’s heading, and that’s almost never a good sign, especially for thrillers of this ilk. However, there’s some degree of competence to a few of the sequences, the way they’ve been shot by celebrated DP Hong Kyong-pyo, who brings a nominal value of terror, particularly when you sense murderous dogs are biding their time for the kill.

The string of issues with the film is largely and ironically tied to its screenplay, which is too vague and sketchy. I can understand the makers might have desired to eschew excessive exposition or narrative development to focus simply and urgently on the minutiae of the crisis that unfolds. But it does the film considerable harm because “Project Silence” quickly begins to feel rudderless. “Parasite” breakout actor Lee Sun-kyun essays the protagonist, Jung-won. He has recently lost his wife and his relationship with his teenage daughter, Kyeong-min ( Kim Su An) is frosty.

Project Silence (2024) Movie Review
A still from “Project Silence” (2024)

The setting is Seoul. Jung-won is the aide to the incumbent presidential candidate, looking out for him and defending his interests so adamantly and overtly that he even quips they aren’t interested in those who won’t vote for them. The bluntness of Jung-won’s public behavior only curdles his equation with his daughter, who looks upon him with hostility and resentment. Her respect for him is dying out, and he finds himself struggling to establish any warmth with her. She wants to get away from him and has decided to pursue her studies in Australia.

On the way to the airport, they narrowly escape a major spree of multi-vehicle collisions that are affected by a thick fog. One of the military convoys is shipping a troop of dogs. But these dogs look distinctly unusual. They have been scientifically re-engineered to suit the agenda of a political party. Codenamed Project Silence, their real purpose has been askew. The scientist, Dr. Yang ( Kim Hie Woon), who actually supervised this covert project, is in the crowd of the helpless lot that gets sandwiched among the deadly canines. But he has no control over the dogs as the dog leader, the original model from which the rest of the dogs were cloned, has hurled aside the device that’d monitor and dictate her movements.

This only exacerbates the mayhem, as the dogs are steered onto a path of retribution, sparing none. The action is impressive in bits and parts. But sustained energy is sorely missing. Motivations are also largely absent. That the CGI used to create the dogs looks so gratingly obtrusive substantially worsens the impact. The director is unable to weave the threads he summons. There’s a parallel, disposable, zero-effect track involving Jung-won gradually discovering the extent of the unforgivable complicity of certain trusted people in the realization of the project. “Project Silence” wends down unsurprisingly into a climax that emotionally unites the father and daughter while laying the seeds for a sequel in the most unimaginative fashion. It may satisfy viewers only if they have a capacious threshold for slapdash genre fare. Otherwise, this is eminently skippable.

Read More: 30 Underrated Sci-Fi Movies From Across The Globe

Project Silence (2024) Movie Link: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Project Silence (2024) Movie: Lee Sun-kyun, Ju Ji-hoon, Kim Hee-won
Project Silence (2024) Movie Release: In Theaters Fri Jul 12, Runtime: 1h 41m, Genre: Horror/Action/Mystery & Thriller/Sci-Fi
Where to watch Project Silence

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