Thursday, April 27, 2006

Just watched Silent Hill with my Panda Bear Isha and here's what I can say. The first half of the movie was astounding! Christopher Gans really was able to tap into the game and flesh out a tense-building movie that matched the disturbing quality of the game. But once the protagonists arrive at the Church... well, it seems the more Western mindset of filmmaking takes over and... let's just say there is an over-abudance of "trying to explain what is going on" rather than keeping the movie twistedly disturbing.

<-- Rose upon realizing her script requires her from being a very believable mother with a desperate need to save her daughter into some strange heroine with the power to shut up a ranting mob of idiots by speaking out in a Shakespearean manner.






Well, let's begin. The movie combines elements of the four games into one narrative and attempts to make it easily coherent to the ignorant masses mindset by the second act. Beginning with a heart-palpitation-inducing intro with Sharon missing in the couple's wonderful house, we get glimpses of the interesting camera play and composition which the Director found from the game. Strangely, however, they use this scene to instead force the issue that Sharon is going through some strange event that is tied to some place called Silent Hill. They even spoil the later scenes with a touch of the "dark world" this early and reveal they had a set that could have matched the way Silent Hill 2 first introduces the power of the radio and the need for a broken pipe to serve as a weapon: they had a pipe set.

They play up Sharon as some spooky girl with nice drawings (which was a good touch to connect to the drawings helping Rose find which place to head next.) but then mess up the approach of Silent Hill 1's intro by having the cop play a larger scene this early and having some unnecessary far wide shots of a car travelling alone in a winding road. They have the crash happen, but then the car emerges in the fog... oh sorry, smokey world of Silent Hill with nothing there as what it slammed into. Then, rather than stick to the disturbing intro of Silent Hill 1 where Cheryl first plays hopscotch, then runs off to lure Harry into more trouble, they have Rose chase after an evidently running away Sharon who doesn't seem to even possible be the same kid other than they wear the same clothes.

The initial scare sequence with the darkness and the sirens is done well, but then they replace the scream-inducing twist of Silent Hill 1 (anyone who has played it would know what i mean) with something less effective and more appropriate in movies like X-Men or other high budget B-movies.

Then it gets stranger. Though visually compelling, with an event disturbingly beautiful rendition of Pyramid Head, they turn the bathroom sequence into something almost stereotypical of horror flicks and have Rose run out a door she just locked far too easily. Even more annoyingly, they contradict the games by having Dahlia Guillespie, the original cult leader, suddenly become some sympathetic mother and having the place suddenly filled with so many people wanting to stupidly follow a Narnia Ice Queen reject's words of burning anyone they don't like.

Since they used the innocent-evil halves concept of Silent Hill 1 and 3, the concept of hidden crime and sin of Silent Hill 2 and even the hints of Silent Hill 4's the Room in the ending, why in heaven's name did they ignore the really cool fetus scenes of Silent Hill 3, the disturbing phone sequence of Silent Hill 1 (which remains a classic with its "Daddy... Help me... Daddy...." line) and more so, the triumphant two headed monstrosities of Silent Hill 4, the less C-G dependent approach of a boss ending in Silent Hill 2 and the rebirth cycle of Silent Hill 1? Why did they abandon the Doctor and the Merry Go Round sequences which really were disturbingly uniquely effective in the game? Where have the names of the angels gone? Why is suddenly the cult focused on twisted judeo-Christianity rather than a more gnostic Female God Figure?

And lastly, where are the twisted pink rabbits, damn it?!?!?

So, ultimately, if you were to ask me: Yes, Silent Hill is still worth watching. Definitely worth seeing if you're a fan. But hey, once they start turning hokey and struggle to explain everything without looking like B-movie characters in a high budget film, shut down your mind and just enjoy the fact that at least the movie stayed scary to some level. Resident Evil tried to do a Terminator meets Aeon Fluxx.


  1. The part where the woman enters Silent Hill was downright creepy. It kinda lost its fright factor when the blood bath came up. ;-) But overall I enjoyed it!

  2. I too found the blood bath in the end very unecessary.

    A saving grace, however, to appreciate the movie, is to see it as a strange Prequel to the games. That actually to some extent works!

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  4. A saving grace, however, to appreciate the movie, is to see it as a strange Prequel to the games. That actually to some extent works!


    pero, putangina, creepy pa rin 'yung nurses!

    but what i really really really loved about the movie was the fucking downer of an ending. that was really really really refreshing.

    at ang nakakatawa pala dun para sa akin: lahat nung mga babae dun sa pelikula (aside from the sharon/alyssa actress), naging crush ko sa mga b-movie outings nila, from PITCH BLACK to GHOST STORY to CRASH to, um, PICKET FENCES.

    pero, shit, a, roger avary 'yung sa screenplay. sila daw ni gaiman ang gumagawa ng hollywood version ng BLACK HOLE!

    at ang word verifiation ko ay "svgny", na apelido ng crush ko dati-rati pa. oh, chloe!

  5. Astig!

    Mine is etzcsyr.
    Sounds like something from... I dunno... Russia?



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