Atmospheric Girlschool drama that turns horror-thriller. Good? No, maybe
not. Enjoyable? Yes.
Why? I love the Girlschool Mystery genre, and South
Korea has made some minor classics in the genre
with films as Whispering Corridors and Memento Mori, and among the major
classics i must mention Peter
Weir's beautiful Picnic at Hanging Rock and the criminally forgotten
Cracks by Jordan Scott, ditto beautiful.
There's something haunting and mysterious about the secrets and tensions
between girls, a hidden world with
(for a guy like me that is) hard to grasp elusive secrets and this exploited
in The Girlschool Mystery genre.
But, if you really try, you could put The Silenced in the Korean subgenre
Institution during 1930's Japanese
Occupation with the superior Epitaph from 2007 by the Jung
Brothers, a hospital in that one, a school here.
The Silenced 2014 and Memento Mori 1999. Likeness?
This film is beautifully shot and the film starts out great, like a
mix of Epitaph and Cracks, and surely the director
and scriptwriter Lee Hae-young has seen both of these films. The latter
one with the new girl arriving at school
causing disturbances in the clique among the girls and with physical
training, diving in Cracks and longjump here.
The Year is 1938 and a helicopter shot show us a luscious green mountain
forest and a car travelling on a small
road, to arrive at a big mansion. No, it's a school building and a new
girl is arriving, Cha Joo-ran (Park Bo-young)
and she suffers from T.B. (tubercolosis) and presumably the fresh mountain
air will do her good.
Her father has remarried with a japanese woman and they're moving to
Tokyo and Joo-ran is left alone in Korea.
The headmistress Kato Sanae (Uhm Ji-won) speaks in japanese and all
the girls has additional japanese names,
and also the staff, Joo-ran is called Shizuko, and this because of the
Japanese occupation of Korea.
Park So-dam and Park Bo-young
Shizuko/Joo-ran gets a friend in the athletic Kazue/Hong
Yeon-duk (Park So-dam) who trains hard to be
one of the two honorary students that will pe picked to travel to Tokyo.
The Girls train and train, they longjump
and run a lot (and in Jordan Scott's Cracks the girls trains their diving
for some future competition).
But, there has been another Shizuko at the school before, a friend of
Yeon-duk, and she left suddenly without
saying goodbye. Joo-ran soon finds out there's something fishy going
on at the school as girls are disappearing
at an alarming rate. The Headmistress Kato Sanae tell the girls that
the missing girls has returned home to their
parents .... something like the headmistress (played by Joan Bennett)
in Suspiria ... uh, uh, you can't trust them.
Now, this delightfully atmospheric girlschool drama
turned mystery turns horror-thriller ... or goes havoc into,
..... will there be demonry of some sort, or will there be ESP, or will
there be slasher knifings, or ....?
The Script flied out through the window obviously, but i have to give
it to him, i didn't see this ending coming.
Anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1, korean audio 5.1 with
english subtitles, extras without subs. Extras: behind the
scenes featurette, 9 min interview with Park Bo-young and Uhm Ji-won,
5 min premiere footage, trailer