Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Silent Hill

Title: Silent Hill (2006)
Dir: Christopher Gans
Rating: **1/2 out of 5 stars

Damn, I was really hoping this one would break the stigma on video game films. With Gans behind the camera (I loved Brotherhood of the Wolf) and Roger Avary writing, how the hell could you go wrong? To its credit, Silent Hill doesn't fail for the same reasons all other video game adaptations have. It doesn't really feel like a video game movie at all. It just fails as a horror film. Mostly.

When Rose's adopted daughter Sharon won't stop sleep-walking and screaming the name "Silent Hill," she decides to find the ghost town and take her daughter there for some answers. Once inside, Sharon disappears and Rose (Radha Mitchell) becomes trapped in the town, which is inhabited by creepy residents and really scary ghosts/demons/somethings. With the help of a cop (Laurie Holden), Rose looks for her daughter and uncovers the town's dark history.

One of my biggest problems with Silent Hill is the usual one - CGI. I just cannot take a horror movie seriously with such half-assed computer graphics. There are some incredible makeup and practical FX guys in the business - USE THEM. Some of the costume design was sweet, though, including some scary nurses and the infamous Pyramid Head, who is a badass-looking but otherwise worthless villain.

I cannot say how accurate the film is to the video game since I have never played it. I've heard it's a good adaptation, and if that's true, well good for them. The film does manage to stand on its own without the video game; however, the movie goes off the deep end about half-way in. Much of Hill makes no sense, or just contradicts itself. And the ending is a complete sham. I guess I am most disappointed with Avary's script, which gets way too complicated and illogical. On second thought, I don't know why that surprises me...

Anyway, Silent Hill does serve up a few creepy moments. I generally like the whole alternate-universe thing going on in the town. And while Pyramid Head doesn't get nearly enough purpose or screentime in this film, he does freak me out when he shows up. As for the gore scenes, most are derivative of other films. But there is one particularly good scene involving Pyramid and a girl; so good in fact that I forgive it for being CGI. You'll know it when you see it.


Anonymous said...

Actually, you should check out the making of Silent Hill. They rarely used CGI on the characters, if you can believe it, its mostly costumes latex, makeup, etc. Even pyramid head.

Heather said...

Yes, Pyramid Head was clearly costumed, and that's probably why I liked him as much as I do. He's one of the few that didn't look fake.

I'm referring to the creatures that, admittedly, you couldn't really do without CGI - those creepy armless things; the demon children (I'm making up terms for them lol), etc. I just couldn't get into them.