Reviews: Silent Hill

Shaky plot, a let down for fans, but great visual effects

I will admit that I have not played any of the Silent Hill games, but I have seen youtube clips and read up on it. I could see why people would complain so much if they are fans of the game.

Now as a movie watcher, I would have to say that it has a plot that has a habit of changing a little too much. It goes from exploring a town, and running from monsters, to a battle against fanatics. As well as how Bean's presence in the film seemed a little unnecessary and added too much time to the movie.

Now, that said, this movie does fall under the category of great special effects. Just seeing the town rot away into the Dark World and then rebuild itself is one of my favorite effects, because it gives the impression of hiding the horror beneath the scenery. Also the monsters were well crafted with the right make up and special effects, right out of the video game(if there wasn't a game first, I would say they were borrowing the monster concepts out of Hellraiser).

(movie review) Not scary, but interesting, and enjoyable

There's many interpretations of Silent Hill, and a lot of debates among the fans of what makes Silent Hill what it is. This movie is simply one interpretation of many, but it's one that I enjoyed.

One thing I found interesting was how the Dark World was handled. For the first time, the transformation is not instant, but we actually see everything rust and peel away in the real world, revealing the nightmare beneath - a feature that soon carried over to the games. But another element is shown for the first time as well - the different "layers" of the town of Silent Hill itself, and how different people experience them.

We see that through the character of Chris, Rose's husband. While many complained about his role being unneccessary for the story, I think it added a bit more to the movie. When Chris enters Silent Hill, all he sees is an empty town. At one point, he and Rose pass each other by, literally in the exact same room of the same building, and can't see each other, because they are essentially in different dimensions/worlds. It's a great detail.

Plus, Chris's subplot also affects the pacing, giving us breathers inbetween Rose's exploration of the Dark World. While Rose tries to find Sharon, with or without help from Cybil, Chris tries to find information on the town in the real world. It's two character-driven stories in one. Chris's story may have been more subdued and is clearly less important, but I do like what it adds.

Is it scary, though? I'm not gonna lie: not once was I tense, unlike when I played the games. Not once was I scared or unnerved, unlike when I played the games. While that says something about the power of today's video game technology to transport you into a believable world and make you experience it, it also, sadly, says something about the filmmaking. I found the plot interesting and fun, but not actually scary.

And that says another thing about how Silent Hill can be interpreted. It's more than just a multi-dimensional curse that has a world of fog and a separate world of darkness and rusted walls, all while strange monsters roaming around. Silent Hill is also unnerving, strangely symbolic at times, and manages to get under your skin. This film captures the look and basic features of Silent Hill fantastically, but not really its essence.