Thursday, April 27

Silent Thrill

I finally got to watch the Silent Hill movie. Based on the hit survival-horror videogames by Konami, this is all about the story of a mother's search for her daughter as they both get trapped in the mysterious, haunted town of Silent Hill. Far more visceral and twisted than the more conventional monster and mutant-infested Resident Evil series, Silent Hill is all about curses, demonic dimensions and nightmares made real, and spirits that are anything but silent.

On the good points, the movie at least gets the look and feel of the games right. The titular town... a bleak, ruined, ash-covered and seemingly deserted (at first) array of endless shops and facades, is a character in itself. The various creatures- some CG, some not- are pretty impressive, twisted depravities that seem ripped from the actual game... or from someone's hideous nightmare. There are a lot of homages to the games which fans will surely recognize and appreciate, though the script takes a lot of liberties with the movie version. As for the music, a lot seems straight from the game, and the sounds... darn, you'll learn to dread the sound of sirens after you watch this movie. Creepy.

As for characters, I'm glad they put in the character of lady cop Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden) into the story, although I'm not at all happy with how she ends up. Not totally sold on the replacement of original SH main character Harry Mason with a new female hero, young mother Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell). Sean Bean plays Rose's husband, Chris, who had the better sense to check the websites before foolishly driving off to find some mysterious town to cure their adopted daughter's sleepwalking malady.

Some bad points too... the character of Rose is a bit irritating; yeah, she's a mom and we're supposed to care for her as she goes on her search... but she's darn difficult. Sometimes you can't help but feel "YOU IDIOT!!!! YOU BROUGHT THAT ON YOURSELF!!!" Heheh. There are also some weird dialogue choices or sudden changes in character that seem... off. Like, right after a particularly fierce monster attack on the two lead heroines, Rose (who was screaming her head off the whole time) then turns to a creeped-out Cybil and calmly says "We're going to be okay." Really? On the whole, the script could have been better written and the performances less chilling. But what the hey. We're expecting scares, not Oscar performances here.

The movie is also a bit on the long side- not terribly dragging but you do feel the length... which you'd probably expect from director Christophe Gans, who also megged Brotherhood of the Wolf, which also could have done with about a half hour chopped off. And while for the sake of clarity, a lot of things are explained ala exposition in the movie, perhaps some things shouldn't have been said, just implied. It kinda takes away the mystique and the secrecy of what's really going on in the story... something that the games themselves always maintained.

I have to say that on the whole I appreciated the movie for what it was at best- a very close translation of the game's mood, imagery and storyline into a motion picture. But while I appreciated it, I can't say I really enjoyed this that much. Perhaps because maybe going into it I kinda expected more of a scary adventure film... what Silent Hill turns out to be is more of a straight horror movie, and I'm not really a horror buff. Not the sort of thing I'd watch again and again, but I'm glad, as a fan of the games, to have seen it.

Silent Hill is now showing at cinemas all around the Metro. Get caught up in it, if you dare.

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