Silent Hill

Look at the time...
"Welcome to Silent Hill"

Happy Thursday everyone! We're still in the thick of October, and a new Silent Hill movie, Silent Hill: Revelation, is hitting theaters this Friday, so I thought now would be an appropriate time to talk about the original Silent Hill movie, a movie which surprised me by not sucking ass. You might recall that I did a two part list of the shittiest game movies ever made (here and here) and mentioned that there was a short list of movies that fell into that category and were not absolutely awful. Among those was this movie, released in 2006. Based loosely on the games of the same name, Silent Hill starred Radha Mitchell (you might remember her from the science fiction/horror film Pitch Black), Sean Bean (to a lesser extent than Radha Mitchell, we don't see as much of him) and also Laurie Holden (most recently she has portrayed Andrea on the AMC original series The Walking Dead) portrays the police officer Cybil Bennet. Jodelle Ferland (she appeared in the Twilight sequel Eclipse as Bree Tanner) portrays the requisite creepy little girl.

She'd be cute if she weren't so creepy.

For a quick overview, Silent Hill is a movie about Rose Da Silva (Mitchell), a woman whose adopted daughter Sharon (Ferland) has been sleepwalking, and calling out the name of a town, Silent Hill. Deciding that it might help, because she is apparently an idiot, Rose takes Sharon to Silent Hill, leaving behind her husband Chris (Bean) who soon follows in pursuit of his wife and child, reporting them missing to the police. Rose and Sharon arrive in Silent Hill, and Rose immediately falls for the old spectral girl in the road trick. She crashes her car and wakes up in a dim shadowy world, welcome to Silent Hill sign in front of her. Good job moron. Sharon is missing, so Rose sets off after her, and along the way is confronted by the nightmarish, surreal hellscape she brought her young daughter willingly into, and learns more about her daughter's mysterious past. I'm not going to go into that mysterious past, suffice it to say there is a cult involved, and also a bunch of other fucked up stuff. The town alternates between creepy fog world, and nightmare rust world drenched in blood. Not really great options. The town is still occupied by the survivors of the aforementioned cult (they say religion) and also nightmare monsters, like the famous Pyramid Head, who will be glad to help you relax by literally tearing your skin off. Let me reiterate, Rose came here voluntarily.

This guy seems cool, we should hang out together!
Visually this movie is everything that I dreamed a Silent Hill movie could be. Whoever was in charge of the sets, and the director also clearly did their homework, and assembled a visual style that perfectly captured the way the game first appeared to me when I played it waaaay back in the day (2000 I think, though Silent Hill 3 was definitely my favorite, and certainly inspired aspects of this movie). The unnerving fog, the constant oppressive atmosphere, the peeling paint and decaying facades, and of course the creepy, weird sex monsters. Despite that, I can only give this movie at best maybe like, a B- Why is that?

Well to be honest, this movie has maybe the dumbest script of any movie ever written. I don't mean that the plot isn't well structured, it is perfectly serviceable, or that the movie isn't well acted, it is! But honestly the dialogue is just... well for the most part you can barely even call it dialogue. I didn't actually measure it out, but I have to figure that something like 60% of the speaking parts in this movie are just people shouting each other's names, and a lot of the rest is unnecessary exposition. Golden rule Silent Hill! Show don't tell. Like the creepy raper guy up there! He showed, instead of telling. Okay, bad example. I would also complain about the entire Chris Da Silva sub-plot. Every now and again the movie cuts back to him and you're just like, am I still watching the same movie?
Why am I in this movie?
Silent Hill did not receive favorable reviews, but I don't think most of them honestly had to do with any real faults of the movie. For all of history "Game movie" has been synonymous with "bad movie" and I think most people are determined to stick with that label, regardless of the actual movie. The most hilarious criticism I read was one that proved just how slapdash most movie 'journalism' is. The critic praised the soundtrack of the movie, claiming that it was a grand improvement over the quote "beeps and boops" of video games (apparently this person had not seen or played a video game since 1985). This is particularly hilarious in the case of Silent Hill, because with the exception of a single Johnny Cash song, the soundtrack is taken directly from Silent Hill 3 (which was a beautiful choice, because that game had a great soundtrack). So clap clap nameless faceless reviewer. You look like a goddamned moron.

Behold! A 3D Cash Cow!
The movie performed okay in theaters, grossing 98 million against a 50 million budget. This was obviously good enough for a sequel to get greenlit. What I've seen from trailers hasn't filled me with hope for this upcoming movie (IN THREEEE DEEEE!!!) but hey, maybe we'll be surprised a second time. Right? Yeah probably not.

Join me on Saturday, when I run down another horror top 5, that is also top secret!

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