I missed this when it was in the cinema. I've never been able to sucessfully sit through a complete "Silent Hill" game, as I find them far to disturbing and scary! So, I approached Silent Hill with an open mind, and was pleasantly suprised. There have been mixed reviews over this film. Many fans have said that whilst the film has been faithful to the games, they were disappointed with some of the acting and dialogue of some of the characters. I, personally however, thought this added to the charm of the film. For those that have ever played a "Silent Hill" or even a "Resident Evil" game, will know that they feature delightfully animated cut scenes, which advance the story. They look beautiful, but there is never alot of thought given to what dialogue the characters are going to say. Therefore, the script for the Silent Hill film has been written in a way, that almost makes it look like one long FMV cut scene from the game. Besides, we're never interested in what the characters have to say, we're more interesting in the absorbing scenery and what's going on around them.
This is something that Christophe Gans obviously realised. The sets of Silent Hill are absolutely magnificent. In "Silent Hill" there are 3 alternate states. I won't divulge why otherwise it will ruin the film, but there's the beautifully deserted state, where there's autumn leaves blowing around the ghost town. There's the second state, in which the town is covered in smoke, ash and fog... and then the last and most disturbing decaying state, which hosts the grotesque creatures that haunt Silent Hill. Most of the action takes place in the second and third states.
There is plenty of blood and gore to keep the splatter-hounds happy. But it's not used to induce fear or repulsion. It's meant to disturb. The story is very intricate, and very intelligent, which is rare for the horror genre. The movie keeps you both guessing, and draws you in, so no matter how much you might find what's happening on the screen a little intense, you want to delve deeper, and unravel the mysterious things that have been happening for the last 30 years. The creature work is splendid, with a lot of physical effects, as opposed to CGI. There's the very creepy grey children who have twisted faces, and the terrifying Red Pyramid, a 7ft tall man with a large metal pyramid covering his head. He carries a large sword, which he uses to despatch his unwitting victims.
The film is just shy of 2 hours, and did have the tedency to drag on a tad in some places. But, you are right in the action by 17 minutes. Then it's pretty much a rollercoaster ride through fear as Rose get's closer to the truth.
I feel that had I been a fan of the games, I probably would have loved this. But as a stand alone horror film, it's dark, sophisticated, disturbing yet intelligent, and leaves you with an unsettled feeling long after the credits have rolled.
The DVD features a 47 minute "Making Of" Documentary, as well as TV spots, a Trailer and a Photo Gallery.
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