There aren’t many very good video game-to-movie adaptations out there, but “Silent Hill” manages to stray from the video game to movie curse by embracing what makes the classic games so entertaining while also telling its own tale. It’s a shame that “Silent Hill” never became a full fledged horror movie franchise, as Christophe Gans’ adaptation of the classic video game allows for a visually stunning horror thriller that spooks in all of the right places.
Unable to accept the fact that her daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) is dying, Rose (Radha Mitchell) decides to take the girl to a faith healer. On the way there, the pair drive through a portal in reality, leading to an eerie mist soaked town called Silent Hill. The town is surrounded by a potent darkness, and there the human survivors fight a losing battle against it as it begins to evoke horrific supernatural enemies.
“Silent Hill” is by no means a masterpiece, but it benefits by the wonderful cinematic prowess of Christophe Gans who injects the atmosphere with a sense of mystique. “Silent Hill” thrives on being horror, mystery, and noir and from beginning to end it evokes so much of those sub-genres. Everything about the film feels like an extraordinary pulp mystery with Sharon having to do everything she can to save her daughter from the clutches of death, all the while trying to solve the mystery of Silent Hill. Gans creates a visually beautiful film that looks like a moving painting. Rose and Sharon are stuck within this canvas, as the supernatural constantly manifest horrific demons, ghosts, and even iconic phantoms like Pyramid Head, and the Dark Nurses.
Gans injects mystery in place of pure horror more times than not, giving character Rose a chance to rest the moment she’s dropped in to Silent Hill. At its core, “Silent Hill” is a supernatural neo-noir revolving around Rose’s quest to decode the mystery of the town. There’s a great cast with Jodelle Ferland and Radha Mitchell, along with Sean Bean as the suffering spouse of Rose. There’s also a great supporting turn from Laurie Holden, as well as Kim Coates, and Deborah Kara Unger. “Silent Hill” is about as close to great as a video game movie can get, as it stays true to the video game’s vision and brings the compelling thriller to life for a broader audience. It’s too bad we never saw another film of this ilk.
The new edition from Shout Factory contains two discs with one including mainly the film, while disc two is primarily special features. Disc One includes an audio commentary with cinematographer Dan Laustsen, along with the original theatrical trailer. There’s an extensive twenty six interview with director Christophe Gans who discusses his personal touches toward the film, and his attempt to keep the game’s feel and atmosphere. There’s a fonder appreciation that comes with Gans speaking in so much detail. There’s the twenty six minute “The Origin of Silence,” and the twenty one minute “Adapting a True Work of Art.” There’s the twenty four minute “Delivering a Nightmare,” and the twenty six minute “A Tale of Two Jodelles,” an interview with actress Jodelle Ferland who discusses in depth her career and her work on commercials. She’s very engaging to watch. “Dance of the Pyramid” is a thirty six minute interview with actor Roberto Campanella who discusses how Gans influenced his work on the film, and how he incorporated his career in dance in to his work.
There’s a great Interview With Makeup-Effects Artist Paul Jones who discusses his history with effects, how he came in to the profession, his original work, and his work on the film going from scene to scene and monster to monster. There’s the thirty minute “Monster Man,” and the twenty five minute peek in to the movie called “Silent Hill.” There’s “Paths of Darkness: The Making of Silent Hill” which was not included in the Blu-Ray edition from 2006. Among the many short segments is the nine minutes Origins, the ten minute long Casting, the ten minute long Set Design, the eight minutes Stars And Stunts, the twelve minutes Creatures Unleashed, and the eleven minutes Creature Choreography. The fourteen minutes On the Set Vintage Featurette is an older EPK with interviews not yet seen on previous releases. The five minute Around the Film Vintage Featurette is another EPK that discusses the town, the setting, and the character motivations. Finally there are two HD photo galleries.