6/02/2006

Silent Hill

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you! :O
With such a film as Silent Hill I will most likely rip it apart and constantly compare it to the series, so if that is not want you wish to hear, then I am not forcing you to read, but perhaps you will be interested to see how I felt the film was.

Well obviously, like most other films I see there was a reason, and the reason for watching Silent Hill was simply because I am an extremely big fan of the video game series; that put forth intriguing plots and twisted ideas into a media that does not always get such great ideas.

Directed by Christopher Gans -of The Brotherhood of the Wolf, which I have yet to see; though it can be said that I have actually heard of him- Starring Radha Mitchell (Rose), Sean Bean (Christopher), Laurie Holden (Cybil), Deborah Kara Unger (Dahlia), Kim Coates (Officer Gucci), Tanya Allen (Anna; who reminded me quite a bit of Christina Hendricks), Alice Krige (Christabella) and Jodelle Ferlan (Sharon/Alessa; whom I found extremely annoying).

The film is basically a re-telling of the story that the prolific Silent Hill set out to tell - except with a load of changes along the way, leading to pretty much overall confusion, but leaving you with the satisfying feeling that you have witnessed the telling of a story of Silent Hill.

Someone that knows little of the franchise could probably see the film as pretty much a moderately successful horror film, the film's premise and middle are altogether a great cinema outing, though I believe past the story of Alessa the film falls on its knees..

As I have already mentioned; I could not stand that of Jodelle Ferlan (Sharon/Alessa) now, if you know me -I badger on about it time and time again- if there is one thing I cannot stand it is child actors; now there are exceptions, I did not mind Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds, and you cannot possibly hate Drew Barrymore in E.T, or Natalie Portman in Leon. but Silent Hill is a horror film; and if there’s one thing horror films succeed it, it's creating -'stupid, I'm really evil'- children that I cannot help but roll my eyes at (be careful more ranting is in store). Now that all of that nonsense is out of the way, Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean and Laurie Holden were bearable, I could not stand Dahlia, but then I could never stand her in the game either; she always had a big case of overacting, and suffice to say I do not think there was much acting present that I could call outstanding.
Except of course -enter fan girlish pathethicness- that of Pyramid Head. Now I am extremely unsure if they were using a real actor, or if he was CG, but he was awesome; amazingly capturing the raw strength and atmosphere that he sufficiently deems in Silent Hill 2 (the videogame).

As for the screenplay, I'd have to say the film faired pretty well; other than the whole cult thing (which was really silly if you ask me) the film had a pleasant vibe of Silent Hill.
When it came to the soundtrack it was the one part of the film which could never fail; but then again, I was expecting full on Yamaoka, after all one of the most memorable parts of any Silent Hill game is its music. Though I must say I was a little put-down by what the film had to offer, only being given a few tracks thrown in every now and again; lyrical songs on the radios, and composed ones popping up at the most inappropriate of times, making it feel at times uncomfortable because it just didn't feel right. I suppose they should be given props for actually including some of the Silent Hill series' best tracks.

The film probably fairs well in this review because it’s based on the fictional town of Silent Hill; and anything and everything that they throw at me is held in high regard. The story seemed very different to that of the game, which was refreshing; though I would have much rather preferred a straight out original tale of Silent Hill. The acting was ok, the music was good, and the ending was... well... confusing. The film had some lovely set designs, and some nice CG going for it; the other side of Silent Hill looked magnificent and the endless supply of fans, mesh fences and rust was a warming sight; the strange cult members in their gasmasks were also a rather nice overall touch. There really isn't so much bad as there is good, which surprised me for a series that I feel so strongly about.

Ok, ok, now stop me if you've heard this before. But if there is one thing I cannot stand its child actors! I do not care if they are good actors or not, it is just that their portrayal or all-round characters always end up getting on my nerves... I think two films that summarise my hatred are Identity and Pet Cemetery wherein a child takes down an adult three times their size; it’s just ridiculous and stupid. (If you ask me)
Now I realise that Silent Hill needed Cheryl (or rather Sharon in this case) but I just couldn’t stand the girl -that whole stupid “I’m on fire” thing just seriously irritated me. Secondly on the same note, audience’s are going to be leaving Silent Hill thinking they have just seen some sort of Japanese orientated film, now of course on a few levels it is, but they made Sharon to look like a “ghost-girl” as my media class would say, which irritated me just as much as the fact that she was a small girl.
The only other problem I have with the film is the third act; completely unnecessary, I did not need to know about the cult or anything else, the film could have ended just fine at the telling of Alessa's tales of woe and I would have been satisfied, but instead they needed more of the ridiculous cult; with no mention of Samael, and all their stupid witch burning, but I shall not dwell, because ultimately Silent Hill is my least favourite of the series.

Although the critics have really attacked Silent Hill; strangely I have not heard any untoward comments of it. Specifically of people I know, loved the film... so it completely baffles me as to who will like the film. Though if you are a die-hard fans of the series, it can most definitely be enjoyed as more of a Silent Hill story, than a remake of the original, though I suppose if they had set it on Silent Hill 2 and butchered it, I would be up-in-arms, but then who is that really going to benefit?

Cptalbertwesker Rating - Orthodox 7/10
Although the film went off on a tangent after about an hour and a half it faired pretty well, and as a stand-alone film it was pretty good. I would be very pleased to hear any opinions non-players had of the film, or if you were simply able to get along with the film, regardless of the fact you were watching it with no prior knowledge to the series.
Nice little anecdote here; apparently the directions that Rose has to memorise are none other than, that’s right, the Konami Code!!!

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