I’ve always been a fan of Silent Hill. The games are eerie enough, with the rusty and dark settings always feel unsettling, and the atmosphere is brimming with personality. With creepy monsters around one corner, and an almost empty void of a town around the other, Silent Hill is pretty damn scary. I love these games, but I can’t play them in the dark. Not because I’m scared, but I start..hearing things. Naturally though, this would imply that the game series would make for an excellent horror film, right? Technically, there were two films: Silent Hill and Silent Hill: Revelations 3D. We’re going to look at the first film today, mainly because the sequel was a piece of hot garbage – which I’ll save to talk about another day if the interest is there. [LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT IT REVIEWED]
So why are we talking about Silent Hill? If you follow warrenisweird on Facebook, you would have noticed that yesterday I mentioned that it’s been ten years since we got Director Christophe Gans’ vision of Silent Hill came to theaters and presented us with what might very well be the most faithful video game-to-film adaptation ever. [take that comment with a grain of salt..] While the film didn’t do insanely well, only earning $100 million against a $50 million budget, it was still praised for its atmosphere, set design, and visuals; which are pretty important in a Silent Hill title. I remember enjoying it when it came out, it was scary, it looked great, and it was generally entertaining. As a fan of the games, I was impressed..but that was ten years ago.. and the real question is: does it hold up? Only one way to find out, so strap yourself in – we’re going on a road trip. Destination: Silent Hill. Population: Spoilers.
The movie follows Sharon, the young daughter of Rose Da Silva, [oh yeah – Harry isn’t in the movie – just so you know] who has been dreaming of a town – Silent Hill. In an attempt to show her that it’s just a dream. Rose makes the decision to take her to this town. However, the road to Silent Hill is anything but easy to reach, and Rose finds herself in a high speed chase between herself and a police officer only to end in a crash for them both! When she wakes up, Sharon has disappeared and Rose is at the entrance to the deserted, dream-like town of Silent Hill. As Rose begins the endless search for her daughter, she does not realize the terror and mystery surrounding her, finding herself getting more and more entwined into the disturbing past of a little town known as Silent Hill.
Right off the bat, the movie opens with music lifted straight from the game itself – in fact, the entire movie contains original tracks from the game as well as some being a remixed score. Just as it was a fantastic and brooding background when playing the game, it works very well on the big screen. The plot describes the town of Silent Hill that Rose finds herself trapped in as a “nightmare world”, and thankfully, that is exactly what Christophe Gans does with the film: we see buildings transform into a caged inferno when “the darkness” comes, we actually see the creatures that come with this darkness: the patient demons, “the nurses”, and..even Pyramid Head? Yes. Pyramid Head makes an appearance..even though he wasn’t in the first game. [which this movie is based on] But who cares? He’s still really pretty to look at – he’s no doubt here for the fans, not for the original story arc.
But perhaps my favorite part of the film was knowing that almost none of the evil “creatures” are overused, and thankfully – that is what truly stops this separates this film from a zombie movie. The demons, with the exception of the Pyramid Head, aren’t the true evil of the film, but rather work together to give us a sense of fear while they are on screen. Gans was not afraid to get gory, having several scenes with deformed and tortured bodies – as seen above – even as far as to where we see Pyramid Head skin a human being.. with his bare hands. [find warrenisweird on Facebook to see the GIF!] These scenes are extremely effective, and almost always adds to the intensity of the movie.
Finally, we have the best part of the movie: the fact that you don’t need any significant knowledge of the games to be familiar with Silent Hill‘s atmosphere – specifically within the town itself – It feels like the world is cloudy and dreamlike, like a living thing. Silent Hill is scary not because of it’s monsters and dark areas, but because it changes based on your darkest fears, secrets and sins.. Making this fear a very personal nightmare.
I mean, sure, the game was scarier. Way scarier. There was something appealing about the vagueness of the story here though – the fact that it was never fully explained. Some parts [specifically in the final act] could have been edited down and made more intense, but this is just nitpicks.. overall, the movie is really well done – especially being a video game adaptation – which don’t usually go over well. This goes above and beyond your standard fare horror flick. It’s made for horror fans, but feels like a love letter to the fans of the game as well!
I’m not saying this movie is flawless, it definitely has it’s positives and negatives, but for a video game adaptation – it’s pretty damn good. Again, I won’t be mentioning the sequel, Silent Hill: Revelations 3D, unless someone requests it – but being such a terrible sequel/adaptation, I might have to talk about it..for the sake of how bad it is. [if you want me to review it, let me know in the comments!] So does Silent Hill hold up after ten years? I’m going to say that I, personally, believe the only answer here is: Yes. I loved it then, I love it now, and I really want to [re]play through the games.
As always, now I turn to You. What are Your thoughts on an Silent Hill? Is it something you enjoyed? Or were you more a fan of the games? Let me know your thoughts on the matter in the comments! If you haven’t played the Silent Hill games – I strongly recommend sitting through and playing the series, or at the very least, watch a play through on Youtube! As reiterated [about 3 times] above, if you want me to review Silent Hill: Revelations 3D, let me know that in the comments as well! Also, if you find yourself to enjoy what I do on here, then please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 149+ likes – only a few more and we’ll have reached over 150!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog.
Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch – with each review coming the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!
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