“Silent Hill” is a film that still isn’t grand enough to appeal to the general cinema going crowd. As with all the films in this genre, it is only going to tickle the fancy of those that know the video game. To others, it’ll seem lean, long-winded and rather asinine, but to those that have played the game time and time again, they’ll probably find it a good representation of the world they’ve gotten to know from the console.
Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige
Video-game inspired films are like Brussel Sprouts – there’s nothing really good about them, yet they keep producing them, because we keep returning for more.
So, is “Silent Hill” the scrumptious middle that the bland genre bas been longing for, or will it again leave you ready-to-heave by the time you reach the core?
A fretful mother (Radha ‘She’s much better than this’ Mitchell) decides to drive her troubled daughter to the place the little one wakes up screaming the name of in her frightening dreams – Silent Hill – every night. Upon reaching the town limits, they’re involved in an accident. When mum comes through, she realises daughters gone.
Alone, our heroine wonders into the ghost town of Silent Hill to find her spawn – and in turn to fight a few ghouls, discover some survivors holed up in a church, and stumble upon breadcrumb-size clues leading to the town’s mystery. And, well, that is about it.
To an extent, Christopher Gans’ “Silent Hill” is a tastier offering than say, “Resident Evil”, “Tomb Raider” and “Mortal Kombat” (and definitely, any of Uwe Boll’s films) – but like a serial killer on parole, you can never be that good, after being so bad for such a long time. So yes, the genre still has a long way to go before it is awarded it’s own category at the Oscars.
This isn’t bad. What works about “Silent Hill”, that didn’t necessarily work for those other films, is the imagery combined with the libretto.
OK, so the stencil isn’t quite Charlie Kauffmann (It’s actually Roger Avary’s writing) but it isn’t bad – it offers a fair slab more detail than most films of its type usually encompass. For starters, the characters seem to bare flesh, the storyline flows at a pleasing enough rate, and the dialogue doesn’t – or it could be, but because good actors like Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell are saying the stuff, we don’t notice it as much – seem as tawdry as we’ve come to expect.
Best, is the imagery. Taking a cue from the films of horror master Dario Argento, it is a film that relies heavily on its macabre images and potboiling pace to captivate its audience. It succeeds too, with the ability to raise the Goosebumps at quite a few occasions throughout the film.
At the end of the day though, “Silent Hill” is a film that still isn’t grand enough to appeal to the general cinema going crowd. As with all the films in this genre, it is only going to tickle the fancy of those that know the video game. To others, it’ll seem lean, long-winded and rather asinine, but to those that have played the game time and time again, they’ll probably find it a good representation of the world they’ve gotten to know from the console.
Reviewer : Clint Morris
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