If there was any doubt before, there’s none now, they finally did it. They made a good movie based on a video game. Silent Hill is a visually stunning, creepy, and, above all, scary horror movie. And you don’t have to know anything about the video game to enjoy it. As a member of the PC Master Race, I have not played a minute of Silent Hill and I loved the movie. The special effects along with makeup created not just memorable scenes but also creatures that are going to haunt your dreams. Although I’m sure that in a few years after you’ve seen enough cosplays, they’ll lose their charm.
We will be following a married couple looking for answers to why their adopted daughter keeps having dreams about the abandoned town of Silent Hill. And to find those answers, they will have to travel there, right in the mouth of madness. The first thing I noticed and loved about this movie was the camera work. It’s simply sublime, taking us on this not just emotional but also visual rollercoaster. Just pay careful attention to the way the camera moves in the opening scene. And what it reveals.
There’s a sense of escalation as we start small and end up with these imposing and impressive wide shots. Christophe Gans’s previous project, a French fantasy adventure Brotherhood Of The Wolf showed just how talented he is. Cristophe is a huge fan of the video game franchise and he personally sent a video to Konami explaining this. It took him five years to secure the rights so we can consider this a passion project. And with a $50 million budget, he could make his nightmarish vision come to life.
Silent Hill is that type of horror movie that once it grabs you, it doesn’t let go. The atmosphere is all-consuming and there’s always this foreboding vibe in the air. Like something really nasty is about to happen. Oddly enough, 2006 saw the release of another, similarly ominous horror movie, Alexandre Aja’s The Hills Have Eyes. Both of these movies subverted viewers expectations but Silent Hill goes a step further. All the main characters are female and there’s not an ounce of sexual tension in the air.
Rose and Chris De Silva are at the end of their wits. Their adopted daughter Sharon keeps running away, plagued by nightmarish visions of a small town called Silent Hill. They’ve tried everything but nothing worked. So, frustrated and wanting to help her daughter get over this, Rose decides to drive the two of them to Silent Hill. And right away, they sense that something might be wrong with this place. However, that’s nothing compared to the horrors that await them soon, very soon.
Featuring a running time of two hours, Silent Hill is a true horror experience. This is a creative, authentic, and genuinely creepy movie, a breath of fresh air in a genre now dominated by slashers. And this is also a movie that’s going to stay with you. You’re going to remember Pyramid Head and Nurses from Hell for a long time. What was Hellraiser for our generation, Silent Hill is for the generation that came after us. Back to the video game thing, I would be remiss not to mention Resident Evil from 2002, that was just fine.
Although I also loved Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, but that’s just me. Finally, considering the visual splendor of Silent Hill, it’s easy to forget the potency of the story behind it. And there’s is a story behind it, a story that’s more of a psychological thriller than it is a horror movie. Kind of like Tarsem Singh’s 2000 masterpiece The Cell.
Director: Christophe Gans
Writer: Roger Avary
Cast: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Tanya Allen, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates
Fun Stuff: There were a total of 165 sets and locations used for the film.