With three new games coming out and the release of the sequel movie, this is set up to be the year of Silent Hill. So I figured I should do my next Defending My Movie on the adaptation of the original game Silent Hill. Now I love the survival horror video games such as Resident Evil and Dead Space, but to me the Silent Hill franchise has been the only one to be consistently scary to me. While all of these franchises would lend themselves very well to the movie industry the Resident Evil films have continuously dropped the ball and failed to meet any kind of expectations. The first Silent Hill however, in my opinion, is one of the best video game adaptations made so far. To me they did almost everything right when trying to adapt this game to the big screen and provided a highly entertaining film.
Silent Hill tells the story of Rose and her daughter Sharon. Sharon has been having nightmares about a place she's never been to called Silent Hill. So against the demands of her husband played by Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell who plays Rose decides to take Sharon to find this town. We learn that Silent Hill is basically a ghost town and said to be haunted but Rose, determined to help her daughter, ignores all warnings and brings her there anyway. Along the way we meet officer Cybil played by Laurie Holden who thinks that Rose is running away with Sharon or kidnapping her and gets involved in the situation. I wont go into too many details so I don't spoil the movie but on the way to Silent Hill Rose and Sharon get into a car accident and when Rose awakens she finds Sharon to be missing in a thick fog and snowing ash. While searching for her daughter Rose encounters a darkness that covers the town and monsters that attack without warning. As she travels through the town she unlocks a mystery of the ghost town that unravels their lives. The story may not be the most spectacular thing ever put on paper but it is effective and leads to many twists and revelations as the movie goes on.
Now in my eyes Silent Hill does a lot of things right. First off its a well put together movie. The establish their characters and don't waste a lot of time before jumping into the mess. It's maybe ten minutes before we actually get to the town, which is good because the game does even less to establish these characters. After a short time we are already in Silent Hill neck deep in crazy monsters and surrounded by a pitch black darkness. Which brings up the next point of why I give this film a thumbs up. They really captured the disturbing sensation of the Silent Hill games. One of the first things we see is a man gutted by barbed wire on a chain link fence. The tone of the games is here in force and one of the creepiest feelings I have seen in a horror movie. There are feelings of suspense and being alone and constantly nervous on what is going to happen next. We see locations from the game which are well represented and are shot in a perfect way to match the tone that the movie is trying to create. While it may not be very scary to people who watch a lot of horror movies, I can see how people can be tense while watching this movie. Silent Hill definitely delivers a creepy atmosphere and frightening imagery that can be hard to watch at times for people with a weak stomach.
There were some amazing creative choices made with this film. The first thing I love pointing out is the music. The movie uses all music from the video game series which fits perfectly. At times the music is even scarier than the movie and really adds to the whole experience. I love the music for the Silent Hill games and putting the game music to the film is something that more video game movies need to learn from. They also took all of the monsters in the film from the games except for one which is actually the most interesting one. The monster simply known as the Janitor was the only creature designed specifically for the movie and manages to fit perfectly within the world of Silent Hill and be creepier than anything that the games have ever come up with.
Now not to say that Silent Hill is perfect because it does have its flaws. One thing that seems kind of nitpicky but still bothers me is the switch of main characters from the game. In the game you play as the Father Harry and the mother has died before the game started. However in the movie both the father and mother are present and the mother has become the main character. It just seems odd that if you are going to have the character in the movie then why not just make him the main character. It just seems to be the running fad of making video game movie heroes a female lead instead of the male like they did in the Resident Evil movies. It just seems like an odd fad to try and emulate. I know some people complain about the exposition at the end of the film but I found it fitting to the story and mimicking what happens in the game.
While Silent Hill may not have been the box office banger that it could have been, it was still a fairly faithful video game adaption full of atmosphere and character to make it entertaining all the way through. So what do you think of this film and the thoughts of the upcoming sequel? Thanks for reading this edition of Defending My Movie and feel free to write your own.