“Doom,” “Resident Evil,” “Super Mario Bros.” These are only a few of the disappointing films that have stained theaters for the past decade, an era that many gamers and moviegoers have tried to forget. The words “Silent Hill,” however, mark a new era.
If there has ever been a more dire need for worthwhile video game adaptations, it would be now; a time when most of society has given up on taking the video game industry and its adaptations seriously. “Silent Hill,” which is based off of a popular and twisted video game series, could be the savior that puts future adaptations on the right track. While it’s a far cry from perfection, “Silent Hill” is a pleasing experience for anyone in love with Japanese-inspired horror films (i.e. “The Ring” or “The Grudge”).
The plot is similar to the original “Silent Hill” video game in that a woman (originally a man in the game), played by Radha Mitchell (“Man on Fire”) and the only cast member worth mentioning, loses her creepy daughter when they arrive in the foggy, ash- ridden town of Silent Hill. As the woman begins searching for her daughter, her life becomes a cross between Pee Wee Herman, Barney and Lucifer. In other words, a bit disturbing. The town sporadically converts into the worst hell imaginable and makes finding lost daughters rather challenging. Nevertheless, the audience is invited to help find the missing girl in a world where people with flesh are just asking to be skinned alive.
As the story unfolds, the residents of Silent Hill are found to be jolly witch hunters that love to burn little girls who sin. If you like complex Japanese horror films that leave you completely befuddled, take a trip to “Silent Hill.”
If it isn’t obvious that “Silent Hill” is much like a stroll down “WTF Lane,” then perhaps the crazy Japanese idea that a guy with a pyramid as a head swinging a 10-foot sword will help drive the point home. Surprisingly however, nothing in “Silent Hill” is all that scary; it’s more fun than terrifying to watch what bizarre creature will come around the corner next. Although the CGI is usually spot-on in creating these inconceivable monsters that only the Japanese could conjure up, there are others that are flat-out disappointing.
But what makes “Silent Hill” an uncanny experience has nothing to do with its complex story or blood-splattering visuals; the secret lies in its audio. The sound alone creates the foggy and chilling atmosphere that millions of gamers have come to instantly love and recognize. The predictable Japanese video game soundtrack seems a bit out of place for Hollywood, but I think most will be able to fall in love with its beautiful and childlike piano theme. Without the time and effort that went into the sound effects and music, the unnerving feeling from the video game would not have existed. Thankfully, “Silent Hill” is the first video game adaptation to transpose most of its spirit and interactivity onto the big screen.
While “Silent Hill” certainly fails to ever be frightening, it knows how to keep you interested and entertains despite its barely passable cast. “Silent Hill” has a set a bar for its genre and the abundance of video game adaptations coming in 2007 finally have something to look up to.