Cannes’s Midnight section offers the biggest head-scratchers of this year’s line-up, even as the late hour already carries with it a clear dissociation from the more conventional festival films. Project Silence for instance is such a wacky Korean disaster movie, it surely will find a loving fanbase in “so bad it’s good” lists on Letterboxd. Remember Snakes on a Plane? Here come Dogs on a Bridge!
The fog in Seoul is so blinding, it leads to a pile-up of cars on the Incheon Bridge, connecting city and airport. Among the vehicles involved in the crash are not only that of a calculating politician and a famous golf player, but also a military truck full of genetically engineered combat dogs destined for disposal due to a programming issue. Penned up and stuck on the dangerous structure, the animals see it as their mission to eliminate any and all humans.
While creature features have never necessarily ceased to materialise, it’s an unpredictable trend to resurface in 2023. Not unlike Cocaine Bear, horror may be the wrong term to use, as these films don’t seek out to scare so much as try to crease their audience up. The plain absurdity of the situation is what the films operate on, even as Project Silence rough-and-readily attempts to include serious tales of integrity and accountability. Its characters are too paper-thin and formulaic for the viewer to seriously be invested in their fate. Most of the performances manage the impressive feat of being simultaneously half-baked and over-the-top. Voices may grow loud and shrill, but the facial expression doesn’t change in these moments of terror, desperation or rage.
The computer-generated canines aren’t particularly well crafted or thrilling, but unintentionally play into the picture’s humour. Still, one is inclined to empathise more with the badly animated animals, as they are given a more resonating backstory than any of the human characters. Especially with the dog revenge saga that is John Wick just coming to a close, people would do well to see that dogs are simply not to be messed with.
Project Silence does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2023 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch a clip from Project Silence here: