January 18, 2022

‘The Silent Sea’ Sees the ‘Squid Sport’ Solid Reunite for a Spooky Area Thriller

5 min read


The Silent Sea is the story of a bunch of astronauts who’re despatched to an deserted off-world outpost stuffed with fluorescent lights and white and grey décor, and darkish, dank hallways and navigable air vents. At this station, the guests find a lone inhabitant who might want certainly one of them as their surrogate mom, they usually ultimately study that their mission will not be what it first appeared, due to the ulterior motives of their bigwig bosses. There’s additionally, after all, an extraterrestrial menace that threatens to doom all of them, in addition to Earth’s total inhabitants, ought to it handle to make the journey again house with them. All of which is to say that, whereas it might be nominally based mostly on his 2014 brief movie The Sea of Tranquility, Choi Hold-yong’s eight-episode Netflix collection (Dec. 24) is the most recent progeny of James Cameron’s sci-fi basic Aliens.

There’s a recent twist to The Silent Sea that units it aside from Cameron’s illustrious 1986 sequel. Sadly, although, it may’t compensate for the been-here, done-that nature of Choi’s saga, which sticks to such a rote routine that it by no means generates critical suspense. That’s not for lack of attempting; aesthetically polished and marked by high quality performances from a solid led by Prepare to Busan’s Gong Yoo and Sense8 star Bae Doona, it’s the most recent watchable South Korean streaming import following latest standouts Squid Sport, Dr. Brain and Hellbound. But what it boasts in formal proficiency it lacks in real novelty or pleasure, making it the form of ho-hum style effort that’ll finest be loved by these and not using a deep data of the extra achieved ancestors from which it liberally borrows.

Choi’s collection is ready in a future wracked by excessive local weather change that’s resulted in rising temperatures, rampant wild fires, skyrocketing toddler mortality charges, incessant illness, and—most calamitous of all—record-low rainfall that’s created a Nice Drought. In response to this arid new actuality, the South Korean authorities has instituted the Truthful Water Distribution Act, which assigns every citizen a classification that determines the quantity of water they obtain. Whereas protests rage towards this method of inequality, most dutifully stand in lengthy strains at water pumps the place they will replenish their translucent transportable tanks. With provides dwindling, nevertheless, Earth stands getting ready to collapse, which is ostensibly why South Korea established its Balhae station on the moon.

5 years earlier than the occasions of The Silent Sea, an enigmatic disaster happened at Balhae, ensuing within the deaths of all 117 staff. Nonetheless, on the behest of their superiors—together with Squid Game’s Heo Sung-tae—a crew is distributed to Balhae to get better mysterious samples that have been left behind. That group is led by army man Han Yoon-jae (Gong Yoo) and astrobiologist-turned-ethologist Dr. Music Ji-an (Bae Doona), in addition to a group of archetypal pilots and professionals whose major job is to produce comedian aid, trigger hassle by way of irrational and treacherous conduct, and/or perish courtesy of the hazards current at Balhae. Not serving to their one-dimensionality, Park Eun-kyo’s script has every character describe themselves—or one another—within the bluntest of phrases, in order that Han is straight away greeted as “the well-known elite soldier of the army” and Music is derided as “sensible, boring, immodest and condescending.”

Han and Music are initially at odds with one another, since he needs to easily full their mission and she or he is extra involved with determining what transpired 5 years prior. Because it seems, each of these aims need to do with the samples the squad has been commissioned to seek out. Their process proves harder than anticipated, on condition that the power’s three storage models have been cleared out, and all information of their contents have been erased. What they do bump into from the outset, although, is a litany of corpses, whose veiny complexions and foamy mouths point out an unavoidable, if puzzling, state of affairs: everybody at Balhae appears to have drowned.

The Silent Sea strives to maintain issues tense through intermittent showstoppers, from the crew struggling to vacate their crash-landed ship earlier than it plummets right into a bottomless canyon, to Han venturing down a deadly ladder with a view to restore Balhae’s communication hyperlink with Earth. It additionally often dramatizes drowning through slow-motion photographs of people sinking right into a pitch-black ocean—a sight that’s directly harrowing and, due to the present’s premise, additionally a bit soothing. Nonetheless, no quantity of directorial aptitude could make up for the blandness of the motion, nor the obviousness of the thriller, which quickly revolves round the truth that the samples Han, Music and firm search include lunar water with scary multiplication properties. Simply as troublesome is a shadowy intruder who strikes across the station at superhuman velocity through a community of air flow shafts, indicating that they’re exceedingly aware of these environs—and thus may be a survivor from Balhae’s unique crew.

What they do bump into from the outset, although, is a litany of corpses, whose veiny complexions and foamy mouths point out an unavoidable, if puzzling, state of affairs: everybody at Balhae appears to have drowned.

Xenomorphs are nowhere to be present in The Silent Sea, however in quite a few different respects, Choi’s collection walks within the well-trod footsteps of Cameron’s predecessor, proper all the way down to the familial dynamics that develop between Han, Music and Balhae’s long-standing resident. Alas, it by no means actually indulges within the terrifying mayhem of Cameron’s Aliens—nor the nightmarish horror of Ridley Scott’s seminal Alien. As a substitute, it teases bombshells that habitually fizzle out. Sporadic flashbacks to Han caring for his ailing daughter (i.e. the explanation he’s on this mission within the first place) and Music’s investigation into her lifeless sister’s scientific work assist deepen the protagonists, albeit to not an extent that makes one care a lot concerning the oh-so-dastardly conspiracy they uncover in the course of the course of their lunar keep.

The Silent Sea’s revelation concerning Balhae’s objective raises an ethical query with which the present isn’t prepared to grapple. Consequently, even its huge finale is neutered of the very complexity which may make it stand out amidst a lot likeminded science-fiction fare. For all the coronary heart and depth that Gong and Bae carry to their roles, their Han and Music are simply run-of-the-mill outer house heroes, attempting to avoid wasting the world whereas wrestling with private dilemmas and personal demons. Fashionable ecological-disaster slant however, their story is a good-looking however inherently soggy retread.

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