Silenced is difficult to watch, and it should be.
Based on a novel that was inspired by real events at a Korean boarding school for deaf children, Silenced follows a well-meaning teacher who joins the school’s staff only to discover that his employers have a long history of brutal abuse against their charges.
The movie’s running time is neatly split split in two. As creepily atmospheric as any horror film, the first half is set in a world of unsettling shadows tinged with the unnatural. From the uncanny likeness between the principal and his twin brother to the otherworldly glow of the jellyfish in his office aquarium, nothing at the school seems quite right from the very beginning. Silenced’s second half morphs into a brightly lit (but no less troubling) courtroom thriller charting the legal struggles to end the cruelty at Ja-ae Academy.