When the unknown is demystified by these lengthy exposition dumps, some of my investment in the film evaporates with it. It’s like a magician showing you the ins and outs of how their best magic trick works, and it sadly takes much of the wind out of the movie’s sails, which is a shame.
Now, I don’t want to sound too glass-half-empty, as on the whole, I think Silent Hill is a worthy stab at taking some of the finest horror games ever made and translating them to the big screen. The fan-service is spot on and if you’ve played the games, I’m sure you’ll find a ton of nods to the original “Team Silent” developed titles.
From the haunting air-raid siren when the otherworld begins to loom (I legit had goosebumps when I first heard it), to the inclusion of some of the iconic monsters from the games (Pyramid Head kind’ve works as a judge, jury, executioner-style antagonist in the context of this movie), to the smaller touches like the crackling radio, the map reading sections and the culmination of a boss-style encounter in the basement of a decrepit hotel. All of these thoughtful motifs combine to really make my inner Silent Hill fan one happy Robbie the bunny. And that’s what’s truly surprising about the film; it often feels like it was made by a team who were genuine fans of the source material. And it shows.
Silent Hill is almost a great horror movie. It teeters on the edge of greatness for its first half, but falls into some narrative pitfalls in the final act. Though it won’t go down in history as a horror masterpiece, it’s a valiant effort at bridging the gap between video games and cinema, with an end result that is definitely worth a watch, particularly for all you gore-hounds out there.
The film’s eerie atmosphere, sharp-eyed cinematography and strong performances, along with Akira Yamaoka’s incredible soundtrack all coalesce wonderfully on the big screen. And I’m happy to finally say it out loud: Christophe Gans’ Silent Hill is one of the best video game to movie adaptations yet. Sure, that may not be the most prestigious accolade out there, but it’s a damn good start. Now, if only we could get a decent Resident Evil movie…