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SILENT HILL (2006)

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SILENT HILL (2006)

Friday, 27 September 2013 14:36

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Written by 

The Buzz

     Christophe Gans (writer and director of Brotherhood of the Wolf) directs a highly atmospheric movie version of the first game in the highly successful Silent Hill series. A mother (Radha Mitchell) takes her daughter (somebody with a name) with severe mental issues to an abandoned town in western Pennsylvania to try to fix her; it turns out to be a fairly bad decision. There is also a subplot about Mitchell’s husband (Sean Bean) trying to find where they went, which explains a lot of the backstory and is helpful to the audience, but is largely unnecessary. If you’re a very serious horror fan or a fan of the series, this can be a very entertaining way to spend over two hours, but if you’re looking to get your party moving, the long runtime and bizarrely graphic violence may not be what you’re looking for. However, if this type of mood horror, graphic violence, and lack of jump-at-you scares is the type of film that really pushes your horror buttons, Silent Hill may end up being one of your favorites that way it ended up being one of mine.

The Life of the Party

      This movie looks amazing. A lot of the credit goes to Team Silent from the game series, because their groundbreaking approach to emotional, atmospheric horror absolutely translates to screen. This is made really apparent by how gorgeous the environments are. Gans subtly nods to the fans of the series with shot-for-shot remakes of some of the game’s most iconic scenes.  For those of you who have played the series, you’ll remember how many times you have to check the damn map, and there’s even a scene where the main character has to memorize a map. Lots of very unsettling monsters from the series show up in this film (the joy of Japanese horror), and it constantly feels off-kilter and uncomfortable in ways that only a Silent Hill property could. I really can’t stress enough how well they developed the atmosphere in this film. It feels claustrophobic and agoraphobic at the same time. Toss in excepts from the award-winning Akira Yamaoka soundtrack and a whole ton of excellent actors and actresses, and you’ve got a horror movie you can really fall into and be disturbed by. Lastly, if you dig bittersweet, open endings, you’re going to love the last few minutes.

Potential Hangovers

     This movie is over two hours. For horror, that might as well be Ben Hur. I actually blame Gans or writer Roger Avary for this one, because the original script didn’t include Bean’s character until a nameless producer complained that there were no male main characters in the movie (OH NOEZ), so they wrote him in. He does a great job, but it really adds to the runtime. Secondly, if you are a big fan of the game series, you’re going to likely get annoyed at many of the seemingly arbitrary changes. A lot of names have changed, a lot of plot elements altered, and the ending, well, it isn’t fitting of Silent Hill. I will address a ton of game translation-specific complaints in my upcoming series Nonplayable so I don’t waste y’all’s time on unnecessary nerdism. What is relevant, though, is that it’s incredibly hyperviolent in very unexpected, over-the-top ways. This clashes with the atmosphere horror frequently, but considering it makes the whole movie feel dangerous for the characters, I can ignore that. Also, apparently the original plot was just a little too complicated for audiences, so there is a ten minute segment towards the end of the movie that seriously does the equivalent of a Powerpoint presentation titled “Silent Hill: Why it is so damn evil and weird right now,” which feels very hand-holdy and annoying. But whatever, at least American audiences aren’t left confused and enraged at their confusion, which is generally what happens with open-ended horror.

The Vibe: Deep Thoughts, Solo Experience, Girl’s Night

     I’ve given this film weird associations for recommended viewing atmosphere, but it does actually make sense. This film, despite its flaws, is very lovingly crafted. I don’t get the sense that Gans and Avary made the exact movie they wanted to make, but it walks the fine line between widely-accessible and fan service very well, and I’d be remiss to blame them for the effort. The music is great, the shots are (while stolen from the game) really fantastic, and all actors do really well. Sadly, where they veer from the original subject matter, it gets sillier, but that doesn’t happen until the very end. So I recommend this movie for people who want to dissect it, and if you’re looking to get creeped out, watch it by yourself. One of the constant themes is utter isolation, and that feeling absolutely comes across to the viewer, making it great for solo viewing. Also, the plot is extensively woman-centric. The primary characters are all women, and another running theme is the relationship between mothers and daughters. I’m a dude and still consider it to be fairly moving. If you’re looking for a horror movie for girl’s night and all of you can stand pretty extreme violence, you may get a lot of value out of it. No matter how you watch it, though, you have to be willing to suspend disbelief a bit and just get snatched by the fog. If you can do that, Silent Hill will consume you as well.

Plus/Minus

+ Stellar atmosphere

+ Haunting soundtrack

+ Well-acted

- The script gets pretty corny when it veers from the source material

- Really, this movie starts to drop every time it veers from the source material

+/- Unintentionally hilarious BURN THE WITCH scene

Drink:

When someone says Demon

Twice when a monster shows up on screen

Three times when the air raid siren goes off

(HARD MODE) Take a shot when Pyramid Head kills someone

Read 823 times Last modified on Friday, 27 September 2013 14:41

About Us

Tanked Matinee is the place to go for good drinking movies. What do we mean by that? Simply speaking, we evaluate and recommend entertainment media based on how much fun it is to watch with friends on the sofa and a cold beer in hand.

Everyone knows "The Godfather" is a great movie, but is it as great to drink with as "Roadhouse?" We can appreciate "Citizen Kane" as a masterpiece of cinema, but is it as good a centerpiece for your party as "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians?"

Tanked Matinee appreciates film as art, but when you're kicking back on Friday night with a tall Rum & Coke, you're not looking for art, man, you want to be entertained. We're here to recommend the best movies for your night in, whether it's a big party, small get-together, or just a quiet night alone with a bottle of wine or three.

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