Silent Hill is one of those movies that make me wonder about who the intended audience for this movie is. Now, obviously, they’re trying to market this thing to the millions of people who have bought the Silent Hill games over the years. That goes without saying. And I think it can be safely assumed that a large number of the people that like getting the crap scared out of them while playing a video game also probably like scary movies. But what about those of us who don’t play the games, but do see the movie? Do the filmmakers think there’s enough in the movie for Silent Hill virgins to understand?
For the most part, Silent Hill does a good job of explaining the world the movie takes place in. I actually like the explanation for why Silent Hill (it’s the name of a town that’s been closed off due to a coal fire burning under the city) is so full of terrified religious folks and warped monsters. The one thing that leaves me puzzled though is the pyramid head guy. He’s got such a crazy design element to him that I love, but I don’t think he ever gets explained. Now, I have no idea if he’s given a back story in the games and he doesn’t really have much to do in the movie, but it just got me thinking.
For the most part, I dug Silent Hill. There’s definitely flaws, but overall the effects were pretty great, the few deaths we get to see very graphic and the story interesting enough (I haven’t seen something like it in a while).
But there are problems. One of them is the inciting incident. There’s this girl (the creepy one on the box above) who draws these crazy pictures and has terrible dreams about a place called Silent Hill. So what does her adoptive mother do? She freaking takes her daughter to said town, even though everyone (including a lady cop) tries to stop her. I’m guessing this is the plot device used in the game, but it just flies in the face of logic. I understand wanting to help your child, but is taking her to the place that terrifies her really the best idea? Methinks not.
Oh well, once she gets into the town, there’s a slow build to the craziness and monsters that eventually fill the screen. But it doesn’t just go all out crazy with the monsters as they introduce the quasi-religious element I mentioned before. It’s got a pretty good sense of pacing, though it does clock in around two hours and can drag a little.
My biggest pet peeve with the movie is that when it’s dark, it’s very, very dark. And I’m not talking about the mood, I’m talking about the visuals. The first time the mom encounters something supernatural you pretty much have no idea what they are until the little bastards start glowing like embers and even then they’re hard to get a read on.
Again, these are just little problems, Silent Hill is worth checking out I think. It’s not an A+ movie, but it’s on the better side as far as the video game-based movies I’ve seen (Super Mario Bros., House of the Dead, DOOM). I’m not one of those people who think that video game movies are a lost cause. I think a good writer can look at any kind of source material and find something really compelling about it and create a wonderful screenplay around it, maybe we just haven’t seen that yet because the movies are trying to just recreate the games. Really, I’m just waiting for someone to pick up my Roadblaster and Burger Time scripts. So if you’re interested, drop me a line.