Movie: "Silent Hill"
Year: 2006
Rated: R
Genre: Horror
Directed by: Christopher Gans
Writing credits: Roger Avary, Christopher Gans, Nicolas Boukhrief

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 9/14/2008

Plot: After receiving a cryptic clue, a woman takes her daughter to the mysterious town of Silent Hill with hopes of curing her sleepwalking condition. Soon her daughter disappears in this eerie, deserted town, leaving her mother desperately trying to find her in what quickly becomes a dark and twisted hell.

Review: If there's one thing the Silent Hill game series delivers in spades, it's atmosphere, and if the movie adaptation was successful at anything, it was faithfully recreating that atmosphere. Yeah, sure, it's a video game movie, and thus it has video game logic (i.e. "I'm going to reach into that creepy dead guy's mouth--there may be a clue!"), so the plot is kind of flimsy in that regard, but who honestly goes to see a movie like this for the plot anyway?

The film incorporates various elements from the first three games in the series, while most closely following the storyline of the first game, albeit with some major differences in the back story of the mysterious little girl our protagonist keeps encountering while looking for her daughter. A variety of locations recalling stages from the games are visited, the most notable of which is the hospital, with the oh-so-creepy nurses lifted straight out of Silent Hill 2. But the most welcome and anticipated element of all was the addition of Pyramid Head, who may not bear the same symbolic meaning that he does in the second game, but he definitely conveys a palpable sense of urgency, dread, and menace to the film. And they wisely chose to go with a human actor covered in prosthetics and make up, merely enhanced by computers instead of completely portrayed by them. They did this with most of the creatures, which makes them look a lot more convincingly realistic.

And the absolute best decision they made in this film was to actually use the music directly from the games, which is actually kind of surprising, given Hollywood's tendency to completely fuck a good thing up when given half a chance. But they couldn't have gotten this more right. After all, "if it ain't broken, don't fix it", and the Silent Hill series has some of the best eerie, atmospheric, melancholy, and downright spine-tingling music I've ever heard presented in any horror genre entry of any medium. They knew they couldn't improve upon something so perfect, so they very wisely chose not to.

The absolute worst thing about the movie is the horrible gimmicky "twist" at the end, which was completely unnecessary and elicits a lot of groans and eye rolls from first time viewers. Aside from that and the video game leaps of logic to keep the story going, this is a pretty entertaining film. It's the kind of thing I could turn the sound off and enjoy for the beautiful visuals alone (those dreamy, mist shrouded streets, those dark and claustrophobic hallways), except by doing so I would miss out on the possibly even more awesome music. Definitely worth a look, especially if you're a fan of the game series, as long as you can accept that they take liberties with it, choosing to portray the overall feel of the series rather than remain true to any one game.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Sep 15th, 2008, 04:15 AM
I'm glad you liked it. This movie is awesome despite the fact that many people immediately write it off as some crappy video game movie.
Forum Virgin
Sep 15th, 2008, 04:56 AM
I've never seen the movie and honestly I've never played the games (I have seen them beaten though) so I don't have an formal opinion to share. I just want to say that picture with the girl whose mouth has been erased creeps me right the hell out for some reason.
That damn kid
Sep 15th, 2008, 06:48 AM
Hmm I heard this was bad, but if it's ok and based on a video game I might check it out when I get passed the "no! turn it off! This is going to give me nightmares!" part.
You'll thank me later...
Sep 15th, 2008, 07:43 AM
I'll admit I dug the movie, almost enough to want to play the game series...but y'know...lazy
Sep 15th, 2008, 08:17 AM
I loved the nurses; that was a really effective moment. I was pleasantly suprised by how well this film caught the spirit of the game.
lurking on the walls
Sep 15th, 2008, 08:43 AM
I loved the movie, and i m happy to say i own it, as well as the first three games..... If you want the soundtrack, buy SH3, the actual soundtrack came with that game. i hear there's a Silent Hill 2 in the making.
1.21 Gigawatts!!!
Sep 15th, 2008, 08:53 AM
I was kind of split on this movie. While I loved the video game series and the fact that they incorporated some of the visuals effectively, there were certain things that kind of irritated me. One thing was the acting. While most horror movies are known for bad actors, a lot of the acting was over the top and kind of took you out of the picture for a bit. It was kind of interesting to that it felt like Cybil and Rose were going to make out at any moment, though. Kind of makes me wonder if the director had a thing for female cops.

Also, Sean Beanís character was completely unnecessary. While it kind of gave a little back-story of the town, it kind of took away from the visual elements and general creepiness that is evident within the town.

However, there were some good things as well. It was kind of cool seeing what became of Anna (who is somewhat reminiscent of Angela in Silent Hill 2). The kid Sharon (Cheryl in the video game series) was also kind of creepy as well in her dual role. What I was most impressed was how close they got Dahlia to the video game. The actress looked almost like a dead ringer for her counterpart on the game.

Whether you love it or hate it (as there seems to be people that go either way with this movie), the movie has a tendency to grow on you over time. I heard that they were considering a sequel to this movie as well, which makes you wonder if they will contain similar elements of the first film or start with a completely different storyline.
Forum Virgin
Sep 15th, 2008, 01:05 PM
I actually enjoy this movie. Best part, hands-down: When Sharon's evil twin wreaks havok in the church, and dances around in the blood of the cult members. Second place: The creepy nurses. They look like backup dancers from a deranged Britney Spears video.
Sympathizes with the foo'
Sep 15th, 2008, 01:35 PM
The thing that bugged me was that they used the first game's plot, but did it so half-assed that they can never do a film adaptation of Silent Hill 3; and that one would make a great movie. Changing Dahlia's character into a "good guy" just to take a cheap shot at Christianity was also pretty weak; play the games to know what I'm talking about. It seems that gamers will never have it both ways, they'll either get the plot right and change the look (Mortal Kombat), keep the look and totally change the plot (Silent Hill), or just mess up both of 'em (all the rest).

Luckily, Silent Hill 2 is a completely self-contained storyline (I know about part 4, but it's so tangentially related to 2 that it doesn't matter), so they can make changes to that one if they have to without messing up any established continuity. Pity about casting Sean Bean in the first one, though, because he'd have made a great James Sunderland.
Tropical Viking
Sep 15th, 2008, 02:39 PM
I actually enjoyed the movie, but a couple of things did bother me. It looks great and does a good job at creating a haunting atmosphere, and the pyramid head guy ripping the clothes and flesh of that insane woman was quite a surprise ( I don't know if that happened in the game, I've only played the first in the series).

Now, as McFly just said, that husband character was useless. Whenever he shows up the movie misses the pace and the eerieness is all gone. Cut his 20 minutes or so of screentime and you got a shorter, more focused movie.

Radha Mitchell is ok when she's taking it easy, but for several times her acting is quite embarassing. Her misguided half-assed raging performance at the church showdown made me cringe.

As for the ending, it's just another bad case of Shyamalanism. It's like when matrix came out: every action movie in the subsequent years had to have it's own lame attempt at recreating the bullet-time effect.

Overall, I enjoyed the feel and the look so much I can look away when the bad parts pop up on the scren. I feel it's somewhat misguided, A little more effort and balls and this movie would've been great, but I believe this is the best game movie so far.
Tropical Viking
Sep 15th, 2008, 02:44 PM
Will there be a review for the hitman movie?
Sep 15th, 2008, 03:56 PM
While I enjoyed the movie as a whole, the ending and the death of Cybil made my fanboy cry.
Big Red Cat
Sep 15th, 2008, 04:24 PM
Very true on the "video game logic." That female cop made some major leaps to unfounded conclusions. Oh, that kid in the passenger seat is in a bad mood. Clearly this woman has abducted a child. Yeah, that makes sense.
Forum Virgin
Sep 15th, 2008, 04:40 PM
the thing that pissed me off was yet another horror movie was SET in my homestate of west virginia but shot in canada
Sep 15th, 2008, 04:54 PM
i really enjoyed this movie-- i've only played one of the SH series games, but i really enjoyed the movie nonetheless. i thought the gimmicky twist was kind of clever, but i was bummed they didn't shoot an alternate "good job, you got all the items and didn't drop any into a ravine" ending-- that would have made for a good extra on the DVD.

i thought the weakest elements of the movie were the dialogue and the acting, especially on our protagonist girl's part-- i thought she was supposed to be around 10 years old, but she kept talking like she was 5 (e.g. "i don't like that, mommy!").

i am exceedingly glad that they brought over some of the enemies and music from the video games. ... *especially* the music-- i own all the soundtracks and i love them. it is the best video game to movie adaptation i've seen. have you seen the "parasite eve" movie? i guess that was the other way around, where the video game technically came after the movie...
Forum Virgin
Sep 15th, 2008, 05:13 PM
It seems to me that the ending was based off of the bad ending in the first game.
Forum Virgin
Sep 16th, 2008, 01:03 AM
Just to add to the point many people, starting with McFly, made about Sean Bean's character, it says in Wkikipedia that he originally had a much smaller role, but the studio wanted at least one major male character. Not that Wikipedia is always accurate, but I can see that happening.

I really liked this movie overall. I saw it with a bunch of friends, many of whom had never played the games, and a good time was had by all. The skin rip kill by Pyramid Head resulted in a lot of audible "holy shit!" and "did you just fucking see that?" remarks from people, which I think is a good sign for any movie.
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Sep 16th, 2008, 01:10 AM
it was an amazing film
Forum Chaos Lord
Sep 16th, 2008, 12:42 PM
The "Janitor" Creature was an awesome touch. It was so great for its purpose that Silent Hill's original creator praised the design and requested to be able to use it in a future game. So that's success right there.

The movie could have been better, but it was still damn good for a Video Game Movie. Better than anything Uwe Boll has done at any point in his life ever, at any rate.
Forum Virgin
Sep 17th, 2008, 04:47 PM
I'm surprised you gave Silent Hill such a high rating... I thought it was incredibly disappointing. The acting was horrible, the atmosphere was creepy but (in my opinion) nothing like the game, the plot was a mess, and people in the theater, myself included, were laughing at parts of the movie that were supposed to be serious. No Silent Hill movie should be unintentionally funny!

There were a lot of things I liked- the monsters were very true to their game versions, especially the straightjacket guy and Pyramid Head, the janitor was very much in the spirit of the games, and when everything started going all decayed and rusty, transforming right before Harry's... er... what's-her-name's eyes, the movie actually got GOOD for several wonderful minutes. I really liked the whole scene with them being chased by Pyramid Head, trapped in the elevator in the dark world. But the rest of it was just... bad. Burned Cheryl looked hilariously like Odo from Deep Space 9, Lisa Garland looked exactly right but was completely wasted, the husband character was pointless, etc. Even the music let me down a bit, because they used about 5 seconds of the main Silent Hill 1 theme (the mandolin music), then let it trail off immediately for no apparent reason.

I guess maybe my expectations were too high- for a video game movie, it's really, really good. Unfortunately, that's not saying much... I mean, compared to Street Fighter or the Super Mario Brothers movie, pretty much anything looks good. They got some parts completely right, and I enjoyed them, but for me, that just makes the rest of the movie that much more disappointing.
Sep 17th, 2008, 05:55 PM
I thought this movie was horribly cheesy, but after playing the first game I saw that it was really true to the source material in that respect.

They probably could have done more with Boromir and actually had Lisa in the main part of the movie, since she was also my favorite character in the first game, but other than that I thought it was pretty good.
Pickled Patriarch
Sep 17th, 2008, 07:33 PM
I haven't played much of the actual games, but this is definitely one of the better video game movies out there. It has Alice Krige, who has always been a great horror actress, and I thought Pyramid Head was handled well (something they could've easily screwed up). And yes, the Nurses had to be my favorite part of the whole movie. They were actually creepy... a rare thing in modern horror films if you ask me.
Sep 19th, 2008, 08:18 PM
Good Video Game Movie?

Seems like an oxymoron to me.

In all seriousness I enjoyed the movie. I never cared for the games so I didn't have that bias going into the movie.
Sep 21st, 2008, 01:08 AM
I have friends that can agree about the whole "laughing at inappropriate moments" comment. Two of my friends went to see this and actually *laughed* at the skin ripping scene. Mostly because it was...unexpected. Pyramid head was supposed to be repressed anger/sexual feelings and so they were expecting something *much* worse when he got hold of...whoever he got hold of. Instead..."Shrip!"

I, myself, haven't seen the movie. "I'll go, and I'll watch it, if you tell me when it's okay to look." "Copp, it's *never* okay to look." "Oh. Nevermind."

Maybe one of these days...
Sympathizes with the foo'
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:29 AM
Gripes about the plot aside (Dahlia as a good character? Are you fucking serious?), I do believe that Silent Hill is the best video game movie to date. But then, that's about as back-handed a compliment as you can possibly give.
Crazy dog woman
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:47 PM
I can't believe lots of people actually thought this was a good horror movie... I saw it a while ago, so I don't have everything in vivid memory, but I do remember the overall impression was unintended comedy.
First that mother who's so incredibly stupid. Or stupid doesn't cover it, make it insane! Her daughter has sleepwalking problems and she lives near all kinds of dangers like waterfalls and big highways. But she doesn't even bother to lock the front door! That would be like, priority number one in my book. Then she tries to solve her daughter's problems... by taking her on a car ride to a far-away town, just because it's called "silent hill", and her daughter says this phrase in her sleep????? I mean, how far-fetched is that? If your own kid suffered from sleepwalking and went "Africa, Africa" in her sleep, would your own reaction be to put the two of you on a plane to some random place in Africa? No it wouldn't, not unless you're insane. You'd go to a shrink with her, that's what you'd do! To make ANY kind of sense of that mum's behaviour one has to imagine that there's like half an hour of movie cut away, where the mum tries everything normal first (like locking the door, seeing a shrink, seeing a second shrink) but when nothing helps she finally suffers a total nervous breakdown and embarks on this crazy car ride to the town of Silent Hill.
Then all the monsters are knock-kneed. It's like the movie makers thought that being knock-kneed immediately makes you menacing. Perhaps the director was bullied by some knock-kneed kid when he was little... or something.
When they first come to the town, they encounter some creature that's severly disabled. For all we can tell he/she is deaf, blind, without arms AND so knock-kneed he/she can barely walk. This is supposed to be a menace? I don't get it.
I could go on like this, but enough is enough... I'd give it half a pickle as a horror movie, but a few pickles as a comedy.
Sympathizes with the foo'
Sep 26th, 2008, 03:43 PM
The reason for going to the town was a lot less contrived and stupid in the original game: Sure, Cheryl -not Sharon- was subliminally called to the town by a supernatural evil in order to combine her with the lost half of her consciousness, but at least it made sense from Harry's -not Rose's- view: his daughter just suggested Silent Hill as a good vacation spot.
Sympathizes with the foo'
Sep 26th, 2008, 03:45 PM
And for what it's worth, those straight-jacket thingies weren't knock-kneed in the source material, but that corrosive liquid they spew still made them plenty dangerous in both movie and game.
Mar 20th, 2010, 12:26 AM
I love this movie, and I love the games too, except for Silent Hill 4. This movie tells its own story in a Silent Hill vein. I love it.