Film Review – Silent Hill (2006)

Title – Silent Hill (2006)

Director – Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf)

Cast – Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Jodelle Ferland

Plot – After her adopted daughter Sharon (Ferland) disappears, determined mother Rose (Mitchell) must search the mysterious abandoned town of Silent Hill, that harbors its fair share of potentially deadly horrors.

“The faithful must gather in judgement for we are called to purify this filth”

Review by Eddie on 12/03/2020

While it lacks storytelling nuance and leaves a lot to be desired in a refinement sense, there’s no doubt in my mind that Silent Hill is one of, if not the most faithful video game adaptations ever made.

Perfectly capturing the vibe and setting of the famous Japanese made series, a series that haunted the lives of many a player in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Christophe Gans film which is based off a Roger “Pulp Fiction” Avary script, is a film made by fans for the fans, as it sees Radha Mitchell’s determined mother explore the abandoned mining town of Silent Hill in search of her missing adopted daughter.

Gans, who was and still is a huge admirer of the game series, ensures that every part of his horror outing is lathered in game lore and homage, as his film doesn’t supply jump scares or layered metaphors but rather a collection of grisly images, characters and set-ups that literally transports viewers into the world that was established well before this film arrived.

Utilising such memorable gaming components as “Pyramid Head”, some ghastly creepy crawlies, unnerving nurses and gas mask clad religious zealots (plus use of the games famed music score), if nothing else Gans film is a visual feast that feels entirely unique, in an often carbon copy environment of the genre, with the setting of Silent Hill itself creating an added bonus as one of the most memorable horror locales of the modern era.

Most video game adaptations struggle greatly in transporting their game locations and characters into a movie setting but Gans and Avary managed to do the impossible, with Silent Hill feeling like a game as much as a movie, no doubt part of the reason why many film critic upon release dismissed the film without ever understanding where it was born from.

It’s a shame then that Gans film wasn’t able to be delivered with a polish and sheen that would’ve really ramped it up to another level, while the films oddly structured narrative that includes the bizarre tacked on Sean Bean scenes that were added at the behest of the studio really do slow things down, moments that are at their best when Mitchell and her offsider Laurie Holden as police officer Cybil Bennett are exploring the dastardly surrounds of the Silent Hill township.

The other component of the film that is cause for debate is Silent Hill’s oddball and utterly insane finale, a finishing act that will be too much for some, as people’s skin is being flayed off like meat off a bone or communal burnings take centre stage, there’s no doubt Gans and Avary really went for it as they combined to end things off with a bang.

Final Say –

A flawed film that is first and foremost a film for its fans, Silent Hill is not high class cinema but it’s one of the most successful examples of a faithful video game adaptation we’ve seen.

3 oversized swords out of 5   

4 responses to “Film Review – Silent Hill (2006)

  1. As a big fan of the game series I loved this film when it first came out and having revisited it recently, it’s still a great guilty pleasure. Love its visual fidelity and especially that faithful soundtrack. Sean Bean is a little out of place but I suppose he brought name value, haha. Definitely one of the stronger game adaptations ever made. Have you played the games yourself?

    • I have played the games, not religiously and was probably too young at the time but I have to give massive props to the filmmakers here for such a faithful bringing to life of the source material.
      E

  2. Saw it when it came out. Here’s what I remember. The final shot was devastating but the movie didn’t do much to explain how and why that wild happen. The overall feel was foreboding and dread but something was missing. Perfect time to revisit the film.

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