Silent Hill, The Movie

I went and saw Silent Hill today. I’ll try to write a spoiler-free review that describes how I feel about it.

As you might expect, the Silent Hill movie has a lot of elements of the Silent Hill games. In fact, it is not difficult to classify the movie as a collection of such elements. Here’s a few that I thought they did really well:

  • Locale. Silent Hill looks exactly like it should. The otherworld looks the way it should. The sets and locations are extremely close to the game, and I liked them a lot. The first 45 minutes or so in particular will really please people who have played the original Silent Hill.
  • Pyramid Head. He’s awesome, and they don’t overdo him.
  • The soundtrack. They mostly used music from Silent Hill 3, but the industrial booming works just as well in the movie as it does in the games.
  • The fog and darkness. With the exception of a couple of extraordinarily bad shots, the fog and darkness are spot on. They really help to convey the “Silent Hill Feeling.”
  • The body bag monsters. You don’t see much of them, but they look perfect.
  • The sirens. Again, perfect.
  • The nurses. A little different than the variations of nurses in Silent Hill (probably closest to 3’s), but they were still very cool.

There were also some elements that I think they could have done a lot better.

  • The radio. They used the siren well but totally missed out on the importance of the radio.
  • Dahlia Gillespie. They split her character into two, and I don’t think it was really a good move.
  • The pacing. This is a difficult problem for any movie based on a game, but Silent Hill breaks down around the middle. It’s too long and it meanders in the middle.
  • The story. It’s very similar to Silent Hill 1, but it’s far more explicit and far less interesting. The elements are there but the presentation is not as good. I especially didn’t like the last half.

The reviewers aren’t big fans of this movie, but I understand why: the film is built to please people who’ve played the games, and I think it would seem even less interesting and have even more pacing problems if you do not recognize some of the content. So, if you didn’t play the Silent Hill games, you probably won’t like this movie very much.

However, if you are like me and have played these games to death, there’s a lot to enjoy. As I mentioned before, the first 45 minutes or so are expertly lifted from the games, right down to some of the cinematography used in the games. The otherworld looks excellent and conforms to the regular Silent Hill otherworld rules, and the characters in the game are suitably close to their game counterparts. If you like the game I think you’ll get a lot more out of the film.

Silent Hill was surprisingly the most gory movie I’ve seen in quite a while. Most of the gore is well done and it’s only used in a few key scenes, but it was a bit of a departure from the games’ usually understated and implicit violence. The main failure of the movie, in my mind, is the trap that so many horror movies fall into: explaining everything to the viewer. There are a couple of scenes where the movie just stops so they can go back and explain everything in excruciating detail. The Silent Hill games are very careful to never give too much away; they drop many hints, but putting the story together has always been a job for the player. The movie, however, fell apart for me towards the end because they insist on making everything as brutally clear as possible. There are also some major changes to the story that I thought were bad, and the ending was sort of annoying. Still, the movie was by far the best video game translation I’ve seen, but on the other hand, there’s not a lot of competition in that category.

In short: Silent Hill is enjoyable if you’ve played the games, but probably not if you haven’t. As a film translation of various game elements, it works pretty well. As a horror movie, it’s not all that great.

10 thoughts on “Silent Hill, The Movie

  1. I thought it was rubbish. Rose’s husband was pointless. Officer Gucci was okay, cos you weren’t sure if he was evil or not.

    Other than that, the whole backstory ruined it for me.

  2. I thought it was the BEST video game to movie EVER. Even better than mortal kombat 1. Awesome movie. 9/10

    and you forgot to add Lisa Garland, the BEST character from Silent Hill 1. She was in the movie. 🙂

  3. SH was an OK movie. I didn’t like the way they re-imaged Dahlia, but the new Alyssa/Sharon was cool and down right menacing.

    While there are only a few on screen deaths, everyone who does gets it on screen, dies a very horrible death.

    I would say on par with the RE movies…

  4. I don’t think that anything they added to the story was any good. NOT because I’m a fan, just because everything that was added was only there to make things easy on the audiance. PH was nice, but totally limp. He’s interesting in the games simply because he’s so strange. I didn’t get any readings on my “weird-o-meter” with this movie. It was all too simple.

  5. The general concensus seems to be that it’s pretty decent as a VG film goes [relatively good in the terrible genre doesn’t mean it’s actually any good compared to most other films though].

  6. it was beautifuly made The wourld that is Silent Hill was exactly what it should have been. Though there were parts of the story that i could have done with out. It was much better than i thought it would be. I was very happy with it.
    Though i disagree with many coments i’ve heard about it not just here but that doesn’t matter.
    I love the movie for the most part.

  7. I’m just disapointed with the interpretation of the silent hill cult.


    There shouldn’t be anything about killing “witches.” Dahlia is trying to get her daughter to give birth to “God.” Not kill the witches. She’s highly manipulative, like Christabella in the movie I guess but the whole .. cult thing is wrong.

  8. I agree with most of Chris’ comments on the film except from the one on the ending. I really liked the ending, in a way it was better than the games endings with some of them being ridiculously bad and make you feel conned for investing the hours on the games .The movie ending conveyed that things went better after all the hell…although they actually didnt. You never escape Silent Hill that was the point of it and it was a beautiful non-cheesy and sentimental endimg(in my book anyway).
    The main problem of the movie was the pace. Somewhere in the middle it dragged too much I was trying to reach for my pad to make things move on,lol. But then I realised that we could never have the involvement we have with the games in a movie since in the games we are active participants while in a movie we are simply viewers. What they nailed though is the atmosphere and the mood and for me that is what Silent Hill is all about so congrats to them(it is a good thing the actors were very good and I was particualrly surprised by how good the little girl was, I think she was outstanding in her dual role). One last point is that I think that people who havent played the games (personally I ve played and finished all of them) needed that “near the end” explanation about what is happening. If you dont know the story of the game you cant understand a thing about what is going on on-screen but I think most non-players gave up by the time the explanation was given.That is probably why it didnt really register with non-gamers who just want jump out scares and lots of bouncing boobs(nothing wrong with that,lol).

    Personally I think that the Silent Hill 1 game story was just OK and quite confusing on first play.The only story that begs to be told on film is the Silent Hill 2 story. I think that game has the best story I have ever seen in a game and I dont think I ve ever actually sympathized with a character from a game that much as with the lead guy of that game.

    Anyway, I liked the movie a lot and loved the use of the music of Akira Yamaoka! Especially that song “You are not here” I love it , too bad they didnt have “Promise” though…

    P.s.1 Sean Bean in this movie looked a lot like the lead guy from Silent Hill 2 (James Sunderland I think)

    p.s.2 I still cant believe they used some shot angles similarly to how some scenes were depicted in the original game. Very well done indeed.

  9. I think it’s a very good film.

    It takes a lot of elements from the games, specially from the first one.

    I liked they used very gory death scenes for the characters who die on screen, specially Alessa’s revenge scene…

    I agree that changing Dahlia’s character was not that right, but at the same time, it was something different, I mean, I was expecting her to be the crazy evil woman of the film, but I got a surprise when I discovered she wasn’t.

    The dark world and the town were well done. I just didn’t like that they used brookhaven hospital, I think they should’ve used alchemila hospital.

    The monsters, pyramid head, alessa the reaper, the nurses…oh, and Lisa’s cameo, were just great.

    I think the movie is very weak in Rose’s husband scenes, but I think those parts are useful anyway, specially the scene at the school.

    Oh, and I almost forget to mention the music, they piked some of the best tracks of the games, I really liked they used You’re not here and tears of… for the ending credits, there’s another track from silent hill 2, but I don’t know it’s title.

    Well, I give this movie 4/5 stars, if you played the games, watch the film, I promise you’ll not regret.

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