It’s finally October and that means we get to hunker down to horror movies for the entire month!
So expect many spooky goings on round these parts, starting with a little something gruesome from Korea. Is it horror, is it a ghost story or is it something altogether different to both those things?
Read on, friends. *BEWARE SPOILERS*
The Silenced (2015)
IMDB Synopsis: A girl is transferred to a mysterious boarding school, where she is forced to discover its secrets to survive.
Sad and sickly Shizuko is unceremoniously dumped by her step mother (who’s rocking GREAT head wear) at a sanitarium/boarding school for girls, before she joins Shizuko’s father in Tokyo.
Shizuko suffers from an unnamed illness that leaves her coughing up blood. She does not look long for this world and the other girls fear she’ll infect them. They’re also extra mean to her for another reason which is soon revealed by the only decent girl, Yeon Duk (So-dam Park).
Turns out Shizuko has replaced another girl who disappeared without saying goodbye not long before her arrival. Her name was also Shizuko, so she reminds the others of her. They’re all mad at the original for not saying anything before she left.
Yeon Duk and Shizuko #2 form a bond, which the other girls assure her makes no difference. They play mean-spirited tricks on her and laugh at her pathetic-ness behind her back (but not really that subtly).
Meanwhile, we learn that there’s a sort of competition going on, the two winners of which will be sent to Tokyo. The school certainly pushes the philosophy that physical strength is the number one priority and this is a little bit of a bummer for S#2 because she is not getting any better.
This looks set to change when beautiful Headmistress (Ji-won Uhm) calls S#2 into her office and waxes lyrical that it would be great if an underdog like her made it to Tokyo. S#2 also starts having daily injections to fight the sickness.
The girls aren’t any nicer to S#2, especially when she brings up the sore subject of Shizuko #1 but it seems like there are bigger fish to fry as one by one, the girls have weird fits and then get whisked away in the night without a buy or leave. Something is rotten in Denmark and only S#2 seems to notice it. Maybe because she starts seeing what appear to be ghosts under beds – damn all that long black hair, spooky as fuck!
Our two friends hit a rocky patch when S#2 comes on a bit strong and Yeon Duk tries to push her away. S#2 is gaining much strength as the days pass and learns to defend herself against her bullies quite remarkably. In her heart however, she knows something isn’t right and reaches out to her new bestie.
She says a few things that trigger some bad memories in Yon Duk and she goes mad. Later she reveals to S#2 what really happened with the original Shizuko, who was her best friend and the BFFs are on again.
I don’t really want to spoilt everything here but the change in S#2 gets better/worse and then the girls finally work out what the shit is going on. Then things turn all X-Men.
What the fuckity fuck is going on? What’s happening to the girls? What really is the school all about, and what lies beyond its surrounding forest?
What happened to the original Shizuko and what’ll happen the Shizuko: Reloaded? Only one way to find out, yo.
This was interesting and genuinely creepy in places but something about it was a little soulless. Maybe it was the clinical setting, who knows.
I liked ‘the twist’ though you do see it coming, and it’s a bit annoying that nobody else does or says anything sooner. I was sort of disappointed that it wasn’t ghosts in the end if I’m honest and while this wasn’t the most original story ever, it was done well enough to feel fresh and a little bit different.
Let me tell you that all the blood – which must have been Ginger Snaps-style symbolic of female adolescence and burgeoning womanhood (the experimentation in the film FYI is best received by adolescent girls) – left me feeling sick. It’s everywhere; dead birds, in the food, coughed into crisp handkerchiefs. Nicely done.
Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.
My Rating: 3.5/5. Pretty good, not what I was expecting, which is both a good and a bad thing.