jillian, oh jillian (jill_redfield) wrote,
jillian, oh jillian

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Silent Hill review by yours truely

da da daaaa! Bringing the review skillz to the mewvies.

Silent Hill reminds me of The X-Files movie in that I think it will only be memorable to fans of the game, excluding the other 90% of the world... I don't believe that this movie will be on any top horror movie lists or top drama movie lists either. While it attempts to stay true to the game's theme and style, it falls short of the masterpieces that are the game series, and I believe that it will fall short of other horror movies released this year in the eyes of the horror viewer. The Hills Have Eyes has already shown up this movie, in my opinion, and now horror fans will most likely redirect their attention to the release of The Omen's remake as well.

The movie starts out with an attempt to put the audience directly into the storyline, and the way it was written makes it almost too obvious that they are trying too hard at this. We see the parents of Sharon (the little girl) trying to find their daughter who, we can only assume, sleepwalks. In order to try adding a real feel for the fear that the parents have as a result of her sleepwalking, they show her over a randomly steep cliff. How a cliff like that would end up near roads and houses, I don't really know. (It's really steep, ok.) After Rose (the mother) manages to stop Sharon from falling off of the cliff, it shows a somewhat symbolic view of a lit-up cross just across the giant hole. Then we, as an audience, can only feel too honored to be introduced so soon to some of the 'excellent' acting that the director had been talking about from the young girl. Not only is she unconvincing while yelling "Go Home! Silent Hill!", but the scene adds a lot of cheesiness initially to the film, and you're wondering so soon whether or not to take it seriously. Also, it ruins the whole "put in the middle of the action" feel and gives it a "beginning" feeling instead.

A feel which is again muddled by the following scene, in which Rose and Sharon are laying underneath a tree in a random open field. Rose reminds Sharon of Silent Hill and how they're going there on a "special trip". The little girl's acting is so horrible in this scene... In fact, throughout the entire movie, it seems, she acts younger than she actually is; which, in my opinion, is not this wonderful acting that I'd read previously about and was expecting.

En route to Silent Hill the mother and daughter actually stop at a gas station for the town of Brahms which, if you remember, is the neighbouring town to Silent Hill and where Cybil is a cop out of. The movie then begins following the storyline of the first Silent Hill game. The mother and daughter crash their car because they see an image of Alessa walking across the street; the mother gets out to look for the child. In a fashion similar to the first Silent Hill, Rose sees Sharon and chases her into an alleyway where she sees a body strung up to a fence and is attacked by childish-looking 'monsters', then she ends up waking up when everything is normal again. So then Rose meets up with Cybil Benett and convinces her to aid in the search for Sharon. We get to relive the beginning to Silent Hill 2 also with a following scene in which the characters are met with one of the monsters without free arms. But then we go back to the first Silent Hill, as Rose escapes from Cybil and runs to the school, where she believes Sharon to be. (Because of a drawing, of course.)

As you can tell, the movie includes lots of tidbits for fans of the game series to go "I remember that part in the game and then blah blah blah" during the movie to disturb other people. However, as I said earlier, the movie won't be as memorable as a horror or a drama film, or any other genre. Here's why...

Firstly, the main problem with this movie, (and it leads to others), is the director. The film needed someone else... Desperately. The sets were so cardboard-looking and the film was entirely too "live in front of a studio audience"-esque.

The camera work was nothing to be proud of either. The angles were boring and didn't lend much to the 'experience of the game' that the director was trying to achieve. There were a couple cliche artistic attempts at angling the camera, but other than that, the only purpose the camera served was showing us what was happening. One very noticeably untactful use of camera angles was when the school's bathroom turned and it showed a close side view of the man's face. Not only did it do that, but the film focused on him a bit too much, actually. It almost made that particular scene laughable.

Also, commenting on the film's appearance, it was very inconsistant with its use of computer effects. They should have either used more or used less. There was too much of a different feel between the environments. I realize that there was supposed to be a difference; but the movie transitioned between polished, interesting surroundings and colors into boring, drab cardboard box sets. If they used more graphics in the entire film, it would have been really beautiful. It would have been consistant and the color would have actually made it look like a film and not a low-budget made-for-tv movie.

The next most bothersomely amateur aspect of the film would definitely have to be its use of sound. The way they edited the voices into the film, it doesn't seem like an actual movie, it seems more like a cheap soap opera. Usually the voices seem louder and more pressed into the movie, so that the viewer is right there, experiencing the film as realism. I don't think there was ever really any particularly loud moments in the film, not by theater standards. Usually you expect to feel the bass during big moments and hear the voices with a sharp, loud clarity; I didn't feel or hear anything like that.

Even though there existed these bad uses of sound, by far the most horrible part of the sound in the film was its use of the game's music. The music may work wonderfully in the game, but the way the director incorporated it into the movie was just, well, bad. I know that the director was trying to make the movie seem more like an experience in the game's world, but the way he chose to combine his bad use of sets and bad use of music really failed to achieve that. Not only did he use the music, I felt, inappropriately; but he also used it entirely too often. There was new music every five seconds, and not only that, but the entire movie was saturated with music.

Now, about the little girl. I was expecting so much more, because I'd read that the director was so impressed with this girl's ability to act out multiple characters, etc. Well, I'm sure I won't be the first person to say that I was not impressed at all. Not only did the girl act like she was 4, but she failed to show any believable emotion. She also made the character of "evil Alessa" even cornier than it already was.

While I'm on the subject of the "evil Alessa" character, I would also like to suggest a removal of that explanation part of the film. It tries to explain to audience members backstory which may or may not be correct, and only serves to cheesify the storyline and deduct from the seriousness of the entire film. The over-usage of the old film effects during the scene was laughable and so was that overly-innocent tone with which the young actress spoke. On top of the scene's crapilicious execution, the monologue's actual words were just too easy to mock. I'm sure the Wayans brothers are upset that they finished Scary Movie 4 before this scene was exposed.

While I've spent nearly this entire review saying negative things about the film, I'd like to say that I did enjoy the death scenes. They were creative and very well-done. If the entire film had been a gorefest with a record death count, instead of trying to be story-related, maybe it would have survived, in the eyes or horror-viewers, with all of the negatives. Oh, I also liked the way they incorporated Pyramid Head into the movie, he was pretty badass. They should have used him more.

To sum it up: If a new director had polished the movie up and used more graphics (to give the entire movie a graphic, creepy consistent feel), made the sounds of voices and loud noises louder, either correctly used the Silent Hill music or new atmospheric music, used a new little girl, and removed the cheesy explanation segment, then the film would have definitely been memorable. It's full of potentials that never deliver. Like I said, fans of the game are the only ones who will be looking forward to this DVD's release date.

I'd give it a 5.5/10, average.

Edit: As a sidenote, me and Ash have been discussing the plotlines of the movie and they really don't make any sense. So, there's actually 3 demensions?? Because I thought that the town was real how it was, and actually that Alessa's manefested nightmares were real in the game, since she had powers because of her ability to birth the town's god. I also thought that, actually, all that weird stuff that was wrong with the town when it was "real" was all mind tricks played on the people there by the memory of Alessa. So then, it gets confusing because somehow when they return home they're in the real world, but only it's not the real world? People say you have to play the game to understand, but that doesn't make sense still. And, so then are the people in the town dead? So then did Rose and Sharon and Cybil die in their crashes on the road? Cause they didn't find any bodies. If the townspeople are dead in purgatory, then that would make Rose, Cybil, and Sharon dead, only they're not?? Are they zombies? In a special zombie world?

On top of that, the movie claims that the events (Alessa burning the town going in flames, etc) happened 30 years ago. This would have been when the baby Sharon was created, so why then is the lil girl only 8?? Shouldn't she be 30?
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Thanks! Yeah, they should have asked me about the RE movies too becuase the plot was so off in those, but atleast non-fans of the games still enjoyed the movies as good action flicks, or good zombie flicks.

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Yeah, I wish the second movie had strayed away from the game more aswell instead of trying to tie in game chars and getting the chars wrong.

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Well, that and they spelt Carlos's last name wrong, and they messed up Nicholai's character. On top of that Raccoon City isn't really a big city like they made it out to be, it's sposed to be like a small mountain tourist town. Then there's other stuff but I'm not gonna get into it.
/wah I had such high hopes for this movie!! Whenever I saw the previews I was like wow that actually looks like it's pretty good! After seeing the movie though, I have a feeling people in love with the game will love the movie just cause they'll be like "omg I so remember that from the game <3333," but for everyone else it'll be very lackluster. =(

This is kind of proof to me that what makes a good video game does not necessarily make a good movie. In a video game you can really immerse yourself in the scene, you *are* the character, and you're "living" this horror. You get to choose where you go (sort of), what you do (sort of), and you have to figure things out for yourself.. sort of =P. The music in a video game just enhances your own adventure and emotions rather than guides them. You can also get away with crazy monsters because, well, it's a video game!

These same rules don't apply to movies, however the makers of Silent Hill tried to make it as video-gameish as they could. When watching something from 3rd person instead of experiencing it in 1st person, you need that extra "umph" to put you in the scene. That extra "umph" was never added, and that's a major reason why the movie will fall flat to those 90% of viewers Jill was talking about.

You're never really given the opportunity to get "into" the film. The music only assists in being an annoyance rather than motivator. The shift from light/dull to dark/lustrous made the film seem a bit disjointed instead of establishing this "two worlds" kind of thing they wanted (light vs the darkness). (Actually, after saying that it makes me realize there were three worlds they were getting at. The "normal" one, where the father still exists, the "light" one, which is sort of a limbo type of place, and the "dark" one, where your fears and sins are punished... or so I gathered. Anyways, it still doesn't work for me!! =P There had to have been a better way to do the "light" world without it looking so low budget, and a better way to do the "dark" world without it looking like a total cheesefest.) The CGI effects end up looking silly in the parts with the big baby monsters, the bug face, and the dude in the bathroom.. oh and at the end where the bed is hovering in the middle of the room *rolls eyes* (I'm not a huge fan of CGI in movies anyways, but it really hurts it in this film because it shows such a huge contrast between CGI and non-CGI moments).

Anyways, there were just better ways to do things to make this film work, like hiring a new sound guy, a new director, new editors, better actors, possibly a new cinematographer... see what I'm getting at here? I would have rather them made a great movie loosely based on a video game than a so-so movie greatly based on a video game.
Nice comments! Well written. /ok
I'm a zombie girl! In a zombie wor-rr-rld!!
hey kewl you're listening to goldfrapp 8)

anyways i'm already talkin tew you about the movie on msn so i guess i'll comment here too /ok.

It seems like most long time fans of the game either really loved the movie or really just tried to find every possible thing wrong with it and nit pick at it. I mean how much of the sh story could they really put into a 2 hour movie o.O? I def. think some parts could have been better yes, but over all i think it's probably the best video game movie, in that it stood true to the plot. Unlike resident evil, doom, aliens vs predator, etc did not. All of these movies just did their own thing and pretty much pissed off everyone. Silent hill pretty much changed the whole ending to the game yes, but at least they didnt leave it so they could make crazay ass sequels like some other movies.

The sound was pretty bad in parts but even in the game the music came in in pretty much every scene. Maybe that's what they where going for who knows. With using the game music they totally stayed true to the atmosphere of silent hill. It wouldnt have felt lke a sh movie without it. I mean would you all seriously have rather they used some random slipknot song in the ending when everyone was being torn apart :p? Even the graphics at least i thought were perfect at the theater i went to, i sat up pretty close and the angles and what not where really nauseating and creepy just like the game. Especially the other world scenes, i thought they did a really good job in that department.

Sharron/Alessa's acting was by far the worst part of the movie. I couldnt stand her, they should have seriously cast someone else >.>

other than that i think it was a great movie. No movie can be "perfect" so there is no use in nit picking every little thing about a movie, since it really cant be perfect unless you directed it all to you liking. I mean come on ppl we cant really expect a movie from a video game that we love to be "perfect" thats silly, with something we love/like this much we are bound to not like someone elses take on it.
"Sharron/Alessa's acting was by far the worst part of the movie. I couldnt stand her, they should have seriously cast someone else >.>"

Makes you wonder wth they saw in her when casting her, eh? =P I mean, she even sucks her damn thumb. =;
lol that part was like so cute/evil. Every other part i wanted seriously kill her, i think she ruined the parts of the movies she was in. She made the movie seem corny at her parts >.>
Yeah, I think a lot of people automatically loved it. Well, obviously. XD I liked the cgi effects and the death scenes, mostly. /ok

(But, Aliens vs Predator wasn't based on a game, though. It was based on the two movie series, then a game came out based on the movie... Actually, I think there's like 2 games? Or more maybe? I dunno... D:)

I actually think I liked those old Mortal Kombat movies. I was reading on IMDB and someone mentioned them and I was like oh yeah those were neat. XD Get ready for the Halo movie. >.>;; I think they're making one. -.-;
well i didn't automatically love the movie. I seriously was about to cry i hated it so much up until she got to silent hill and she went into the other world. Then i was like holy shit this is gewd 8). But yeah man, the beginning was totally fucked up =;. Bad acting and sounds galore.
I totally agree with you on this one Jill... I saw the movie last night... of course it was sold out twice, and the stupid marines laughed at EVERYTHING... the movie didn't hold my interest as much... I figured if the games scared the crap outta me, the movie's got to also... I'll probably won't see it again, unless it's on t.v where I happen to be at the time... Pyramid Head was awesome... I just kept remembering the "monster sex" in SH2... haha... when the movie ended, so many people were like "WTF?".... Ross and my sister kept begging me to explain it... but I was like... I can't... it doesn't really make sense to me either... atleast I paid matine price :)
Yeah we went to see it on Friday at 1:50. XD It was the first showing but there were already people there. Nobody laughed when I was there, but I know Ash said her mom kept laughing at everything. hehe. I'll see it again, I'll probly get it on DVD, but I'm a dork. XD
Yeah no one really laughed when i went except some obviously funny parts. Like for example the part in the beginning where she ends up in some bar and it goes back to the real world, and the juke box is playing johnny cash-ring of fire XD.And plus the end too we were laughing at everyone getting pwnt 8). That was pretty funny tho ;( they so deserved it.
Even my bf that i took got the movie and he had never played it, it's weird that your friends didn't o.O. I thought the director did the movie in a good way that most people could understand in a 2 hour time span. Even with the games i've found that allot of people who think they understand the game just don't :p, so who knows maybay i'm just too much of a silent hill nerd :(