Director: Christophe Gans
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige, Deborah Kara Unger .USA/France/Canada. 2h 5m
Before the massive remake revolution audiences used to get some kind of excitement when their beloved media was about to be revamped into something new and shiny. However over the years we were battered to death by abysmal rehases that missed the plot and we all lost faith that any remake was going to be worth our time… but before we learnt the painful lesson there was some hope that Silent Hill, in the hands of Christophe Gans, might, just might make a decent horror movie. After all the games are fucking terrifying so even if you miss the mark, you’ll still end up with something unsettling and creepy right? Right?
From the initial line up Gans seemed forced to make the worst decisions, casting Sean Bean as Harry Mason is incredible it’s got that blocky PS1 face, he’ll be perfect and if he dies, well, we’d all expect it so whoop! But he wasn’t going to be the star, instead, it was going to be a mother searching the foggy streets. Many SH fans were appalled by this, why can’t a father show as much care, why are we being stripped of Harry Mason? Also Cameron Diaz wasn’t cast as Cybil, so why bother anymore.. 😦
Drawing on the first two games, a strange basic story was constructed, you don’t need to know the games inside out to get the film and to be honest you’ll probably appreciate it more if you haven’t got 100;s of hours of gameplay under your belt. Radha Mitchell stars as Rose, a woman who’s broken about the fact that her daughter is dying and decides to take the girl to a faith healer, on the way they drive into Silent Hill, an eerie deserted town surrounded by darkness, a handful of survivors attempt to fight against the creatures that lurk in the dark and Rose is tasked with finding out the secrets of the cult that lurk in the town and locate her daughter before it’s too late.
Gans did get a few things right, the character choices were pretty good, despite the earlier gripes, he managed to create a really accurate atmosphere and along with Dan Laustsen, the camera angles, motion and overall feel is identical to the game’s cutscenes. Lausten had worked with Gans on Brotherhood of the wolf and other horror directors over the years, so rest assured that the film looks toally brililat, but it’s hard to make sense of the plot and the run time of 2 hours is torture for a movie that doesn’t really go anywhere.
Rose spends a lot of time sleuthing and running away from various monsters, just like the game, but the revelations don’t make sense and it seems the movie is constantly being re-invented to include as many monsters as possible but they just pop in randomly. The monsters, as expected do look good, after all they are the saving grace and the reason why any bums were going to be on seats. Pyramid Head makes several appearances, acted by Roberto Campanella in platforms, to ensure he towered above all the cast and he does give the film its one highlight involving stripping a woman of her skin in a shock scene, just to prove a point.
If you squint the film does feel a bit like Silent Hill, but it doesn’t progress the quintessential horror game universe. If half as much effort that went into something like the Joker was dedicated to this production then we might have an interesting contender that could spur on a new game!?
When you’re hurt and scared for so long, the fear and pain turn to hate and the hate starts to change the world.
Gan’s can make a really attractive movie, Brotherhood of the wolf has a charming cult status as fans puzzle over its mysteries, and it seems that he might be working on a remake of his original remake, maybe an attempt to give fans what they deserve and correct this embarrassing faux pas.
In all honesty if you seperate the game from the movie, pull up your big girl/boy pants and sit back to enjoy the film, it’s watchable, but only just, there are a few exciting moments when you see a character turn up that you battled against, or a scene looks just like the game but only briefly. It’s not terrible in production or acting, the story hops around and only barely clings on to what was promised. Most of us have played the game and we kinda know what to expect for the most part, so did the movie give us something new, yes, but is it something that we needed, not really, it really could have been a missing chapter, a new ending to the game (that already has about 7 endings),but it is a bold attempt.
Silent Hill (2006) Debut movie adaptation of the iconic game series. A mother searches for her daughter in an abandoned town only to stumble on a strange cult trapped in an alt reality.Visually impressive,muddled plot only one highlight aka skin ripping on the church steps IYKYK
Related: Silent Hill Revelation (2012), She Will (2021)
Lists: Game to Screen remakes Vol 1
Spotlight: Sean Bean