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Silent Hill (2006)

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

A worthy adaptation to a classic video game series.

Score 7/10 - Recommend

Posted by Anthony DeRouen | January 12th, 2022

SILENT HILL (2006), starring Radha Mitchell and Sean Bean is a film adaptation from the eponymous horror video game series of the same name released in 1999. Christophe Gans’ effort won over enough fans to warrant a sequel he was regrettably not involved with, and if he was the franchise may have gone in a better direction.

The film is admirably true to most of the original game’s narrative, with a few acceptable changes in the spirit of adaptation. If you played the Playstation classic title then you’ll appreciate how Christophe employed the use of fog as an atmosphere builder when the video game designers originally used it to hide the console’s technical limitations. In truth the fog (whether intentionally or not) became a character unto its own in the town Silent Hill. The film uses the inclement weather to differentiate between the various worlds this cursed town inhabits. We see Rose (played by Radha Mitchell) stumble into SILENT HILL’s otherworld while on a quest to determine why her daughter is experiencing visions of this foreboding place. Christopher (played by Sean Bean) scours the town in a real world setting which gives us a unique vantage of how the town suffered through a devastating coal fire.

While veterans of the video game franchise will find this twist fascinating it doesn’t explain why the town is existing in multiple realities in the first place. Moreover, the film doesn’t expand on this topic enough to satisfy any level of viewer. The nightmare landscape in the video game is the stuff of legend. Many a nights were spent creeping through its dank and disturbing halls. Oftentimes you moved Harry Mason (the main character) slowly around chipped and cracking corners or down blood encrusted staircases, not realizing your personal fear was paralyzing the controls and thus the character.

SILENT HILL is not without its cringey moments as well. Laurie Holden (of Walking Dead fame) is on the receiving end of two violent scenes that fail to propel the story any further than shock value. Sean Bean screaming for Rose in an obviously dead and buried town feels more like a cheap emotional trick rather than a husband desperately reaching for his loved one. These examples aside, SILENT HILL is a fun ride.

Narratives aside, SILENT HILL is a visually pleasing film to enjoy. Employing a set design of over 100 variances the film captures the look and feel of the game, and this alone is worth a watch. The film’s music is equally on par. Composed by Akira Yamaoka and Jeff Danna the film invokes a number of memorable queues from the gaming franchise’s opening salvo, and you’ll enjoy their placement. As far as video game adaptations go SILENT HILL is a step above RESIDENT EVIL and DOOM. We, as fans, must realize the thrill and lasting impressions of the game will never fully bridge the storytelling format. Something will always remain on the joystick.

Bonus: Shout Factory’s 2019 SILENT HILL collector’s edition is a worthy addition to your horror title assemblage.

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