Genres / Traits:
Gothic Film, Horror, Supernatural Horror,
The eerie and deserted ghost town of Silent Hill draws a young mother desperate to find a cure for her only child's illness. Unable to accept the doctor's diagnosis that her daughter should be permanently institutionalized for psychiatric care, Rose flees with her child, heading for the abandoned town in search of answers - and ignoring the protests of her husband. It's soon clear this place is unlike anywhere she's ever been. It's smothered by fog, inhabited by a variety of strange beings and periodically overcome by a living 'darkness' that literally transforms everything it touches. As Rose searches for her little girl, she begins to learn the history of the strange town and realizes that her daughter is just a pawn in a larger game.
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I have fond memories of playing the original Silent Hill back in the days of the PS1. When the sequel came out, I snapped it up and was highly disappointed - I think I put maybe twenty minutes into it before taking it back for a refund. I never played anything else from the series, so I'm far from an expert when it comes to the storyline and such surrounding the Silent Hill universe. Therefore, I'm going into this one as though it were just another horror flick; after all, I can't really compare it to the one game that I have played, since it seems as though the movie was a combination of a couple of the games along with some stuff made up for the movie. However, I can't help but think that perhaps I would have enjoyed this one if I was much more experienced with the games.
Review by Chad
Added: August 27, 2006
The storyline found within this movie could easily fill up this entire page and then some, so you're only going to get the condensed version of it here. Rose (Radha Mitchell) and Christopher DaSilva (Sean Bean) have an adopted kid, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), who has recently taken to sleepwalking. Now, that's fine and dandy up until the kid starts sleepwalking near the edge of a huge cliff before waking up screaming "Silent Hill!" as if to remind the audience which movie they're watching. Chris thinks that the kid needs therapy and medicine, while Rose believes that taking her to this abandoned town called Silent Hill will do the trick. Obviously, the man knows best in this situation, but the movie probably wouldn't be half as interesting if they had went with that idea, so it's off to Silent Hill for the ladies of the house. The storyline really starts to kick in when Rose is involved in an accident while speeding away from a cop (Laurie Holden) that will eventually accompany her throughout the town, and upon awakening, Rose discovers that her daughter is nowhere to be found. Gee, I wonder where she could have went? It's off to Silent Hill for our heroine, but she soon discovers that the town isn't exactly abandoned - it just so happens to be crawling with monsters, demons, and all sorts of baddies.
Why didn't I enjoy this movie? It's quite simple, really: the storyline was horrible. Now, I do realize that it followed the storyline found within the games pretty closely, but converting a gaming world to the big screen is a tricky task, especially in a case like this. Take a game-to-movie adaptation like Doom, for example. The storyline found in the Doom games was very simple: you're a space marine, demons have infested an army base, you have to go kick some ass. Adapting that into a movie is simplicity defined, but Silent Hill is a different story altogether. You see, there's a lot to this story as it was told in the game, and that was fine... in the game, where you had a chance to save and come back to it later, explore your environments, spend time putting the pieces together, and all of the other good stuff that comes with a classic gaming title. Here, the entire storyline is stuffed into a two-hour movie, and although that could have worked out in the hands of a better director, it was cheapened to appeal to the teenage audience that the guys responsible were obviously trying to market this to.
"Cheapened" - you may be asking - "but I thought that you said this was a pretty faithful adaptation?" Well, it is, but the problem is in the way that it's presented. Instead of giving the viewer subtle clues and allowing them to piece things together as the movie progresses, it was decided that the audience was probably dumber that dirt, and as such, every last detail of the movie is explained in agonizing detail. There's way too much dialogue here, explaining things that anyone with half a clue would have already put together, and in that regard, the movie fails. If you want to make a movie with an intricate, detailed storyline, that's fine; however, don't feel as though you need to spend a quarter of the two-hour running time explaining things to the audience.
The movie wasn't a complete bust, I must admit. The monsters were excellent, and I have to say that seeing some of them on the proverbial big screen (in other words, my television) was a real treat. They were created with a minimal amount of CGI usage, and it just goes to show that the man-in-a-suit treatment is still better than computer graphics even in this day and age. The scenery and visuals were just as good, and although some scenes do suffer from some horrid CGI-work (watch when Pyramid Head scores a kill, someone is burned alive, and the grand finale for but a few examples), I do have to give Gans some applause for creating a truly immersive town filled with some disgustingly-great creatures. It's just too bad that that's about all the film had going for it.
If you're a huge fan of the game series or if you're a little slow with piecing things together, you may very well enjoy this one more than I did. However, if you've got a decent head on your shoulders and can figure things out for yourself, getting through large chunks of this movie is tedious at best; I personally lost count of how many times I found myself thinking "I understand that, don't explain.... fucking hell, here we go again" throughout the film. Overall, it has a neat storyline buried under that mess, there's some damned good visuals, and the monsters are great; it's up to you to decide if wading through the crap is worth it. Personally, I found that it's an extremely forgettable movie that was barely worth the rental cost. 4/10.
- added 08/29/2006, 03:02 PM
First off, I hate video games. I gave up on them
after the Super Nintendo. I avoided "Silent Hill"
in the theatres because the trailers looked awful.
Any filmmaker who willingly casts the crazy cat
bitch from "Sleepwalkers" does not deserve my
eight bucks. So, I watched this one with a friend
and thought it was just as terrible as I
originally thought it was going to be. This kind
of horror is so dead nowadays and it doesn't even
come close to frightening me anymore, not that it
ever did. Christophe Gans is a fine filmmaker,
but this is far from a fine film. 2/10.
grain of sand
- added 01/11/2007, 02:38 AM
I'm a huge fan of this video game series, so when
this came out I saw it right away, I was pretty
happy with all of it..
that could be due to
the fact that I'd enjoy anything as long as it
gave some decent looking characters from the games
and an ok story..
I liked this
- added 04/24/2007, 12:10 PM
I liked this one. Never played the games but the
movie stands alone quite well.
- added 07/27/2007, 04:22 PM
I'm a fan of these games. I'm a fan of most
horror games. This movie should NOT be viewed as a
companion to the games. Stand alone I thought it
was mediocre, as a sequal/prequal to the series I
thought it was bullshit. No real charecter
development to be found here... really though, I
went to see Pyramidhead... he was in it, but for
what? He was there *POOF* gone... there went my
reason for seeing it. All in all, I liked the
atmosphere, it was fun, but alot of the monsters
looked pretty weak, and the performances felt
alittle forced (with the exception of Sean Bean...
he did suprisingly well in this one) and the
overall action was... well... shit. It got boring
pretty quick. However the minimal CGI was great...
I'm so glad that there is a big-budget horror film
that doesn't go overboard with computers... suits
are fine as long as computers make them look
better. A movie should NOT be made with CGI
everything unless it's a goddamned cartoon. Hear
me, Bay? CARTOON! But, I digress... 6.8/10. Not
quite what I wantedm but it wasn't absolute shit.
- added 01/09/2008, 11:03 AM
I actually found this story quite enjoyable. The
part where Pyramidhead rips the skin off the woman
was one of the coolest shit I've seen in awhile.
- added 07/01/2008, 12:36 AM
it is best.
- added 07/01/2008, 12:37 AM
I hope when I'm in my thirties, I can pull off a
- added 07/01/2008, 12:46 AM
The sad thing is that's one of the more coherent
sentences the internet has to offer.
- added 07/01/2008, 02:18 AM
I are legend
- added 12/25/2008, 02:37 PM
I wasn't thrilled with the story or the dialogue,
but the film itself looked great. There were some
pretty creepy scenes, and I think overall it was
just well shot. Considering her age, I felt the
little girl did a damn fine job as well.