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Silent Hill (2006)

Growing up as an avid PlayStation one fan, and still a to this day a Retro gaming fan, for me survival horror games were what I lived and breathed for so many years of my life. That being said though I never really found myself drawn to the Silent Hill games, these were extremely difficult and a lot slower paced in comparison to the likes of Resident Evil and Dino Crisis. It wasn't until more recent years that I actually went back and played these games through to the end. In doing this it only enhanced my love for this film and cemented my already drawn conclusion that this is the best video game film adaptation to-date. The score is a very creepy piano driven melodic theme, very similar to that of the game. Something that really plays well alongside some of the more iconic set pieces in this film. This was especially noticeably when we first arrive in Silent Hill, the whole tone and atmosphere reminded me so much of the first game. The fog and constantly failing Ash from the sky is so iconic and I feel like they recreated this perfectly. It is during this scene that we first hear the war siren starts to bellow out and the sky draws dark, a scene I get chills from every time. I will say it has been a while since I had seen this film and its fair to say the CGI effects have not aged well. This is something I picked up on immediately when we are first introduced to the Grey Children during the first transition stage. This is then certainly more noticeable in the second transition stage at the elements school. This isn't to say the sets look bad because they really don't, in fact they look phenomenal, it's the effects work that goes into showing the actual change from one reality to another that causes issue. Once the change is complete everything looks outstanding, it is clear a lot of effort had gone in to capturing the true aesthetics of the game. I have no complaints at all regarding the casting in this film. I feel everybody involved gave very committed performances, even Laurie Holden who I usually fine extremely annoying. Being such a big fan of Radha Mitchell it was nice to see her take the lead role here. I loved her in 'Pitch Black', my favourite sci-fi horror and also 'Rogue', another one of my favourite creature features. I feel she is very under-appreciated and I would love to see more from her again in the horror genre. Sean Bean is Sean Bean, the man is a very talented and I expect nothing less than greatness from him these days. The overall biggest surprise though is that he makes it all the way through to the closing credits without dying. The run time on this is slightly excessive, and for me I think this falls solely on Bean's entire arc. I think the whole thing could have been cut and would have very little impact on the film. I can appreciate the purpose it has and shows that they are both there at the same time in the same location and also provides a much needed exposition on the location of Silent Hill. However, it always felt unnecessary and pulled away from the better moments taking place in Silent Hill and I feel the purpose of his role could have been condensed down or presented in a less time-consuming way and still had the same outcome. Without any doubt the strongest elements in this is the creature design, having such a creative back catalogue to pull from it was obvious that this was going to be the case. Seeing such iconic antagonists such as Pyramid Head, the Armless Man and best of all the the Nurses. The thing I appreciate the most about the introduction of these characters is that when we first meet each one of them it very much feels like a boss level in a game. Each taking center stage for their own "side quest" if you will. The best moment from Pyramid Head is when he rips the girls skin from her body and slams it into the church doors. As well as these in-game characters we also get to see some new stuff such as Colin the sex offender Janitor at the elementary school. His make-up and costume design during the transition scene as he creeps through the bathroom stall is phenomenal and one of the more genuinely horrifying moments in the film. I really like the way things get wrapped up in this film, it does a tidy job of tying up all of its unanswered and unexplained plot points and threads in the last third with the exposition of Alessa. This might seem rather in your face and a cheap story telling narrative, something I would usually agree with, however in the context of this particular film I think it fits nicely and is handled well within the overall story arc. This is about as good as it get in-terms of video game adaptations. I am yet to see anything come before or after it that even remotely comes close to the level of quality that this film sets. This is something I struggle to understand, video games have such well-developed story's and characters that it amazes me how they seem to get it so wrong every time. It has been a very long time since I have seen the sequel and I don't recall ever enjoying it. I certainly don't remember it, so I am curious to see how it picks up after the credits roll here with Sharon and Rose still trapped in the "Silent Hill dimension".



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