Movie: "Silent Hill"
Directed by: Christopher Gans
Writing credits: Roger Avary, Christopher Gans, Nicolas Boukhrief
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.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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