Friday, May 7, 2010

Silent Hill (2006)

I don't know a single thing about Silent Hill the video game beyond the 10 minutes I played of #4 (The Room) and the 20 minutes I played of #2 (supposedly the best of the lot). To be fair, I played both on a PC and apparently the ports are as dodgy as your 15-year-old 486, so I always let it slide that both games sucked hard. I simply fucking hated them.

Flash forward to 2010 and I'm sitting at home in my best jodhpurs deliberating upon what to watch next when I notice a move called Silent Hill. The only reason I missed this on release was my antipathy toward the game series, or so I surmised because I can't remember it being released. Anyhoo, off I went into the video world of Silent Hill once more. And fuck, it was good.

I have no mouth yet I must scream. And shout. Let it all out.
I have no mouth yet I must scream. And shout. Let it all out.

See, there's this little girl who dreams of a place called Silent Hill and tries sleep walking off of cliffs. Naturally this worries her parents a little so the mother (Radha Mitchell) ...

Radha Mitchell
Radha Mitchell

...whisks her off to Silent Hill for some personal PI work. Here's some more of my PI work into Radha...

Radha Mitchell - hotty totty

Anyway, moving along, they are chased by a cop, crash, and all three end up trapped in Silent Hill. The daughter goes missing after the crash and the story becomes one of searching, being hunted and seeing a bunch of pretty cool stuff. Except to the characters, to them that shit is pretty scary. There's guy with a pyramid for a head (funnily enough called pyramid head by SH fans) and a bunch of things that scuttle along the ground making a funny noise. It's better than I make it sound.

Eventually mum and the cop run into the remaining inhabitants of Silent Hill and it turns out they're remnants of the population, evacuated after a fire started in the coal mine beneath the town. Over the years they've gone batshit religious and like to hunt down and burn witches among other things. The scene where the key characters are pursued by pyramid head up to the church sanctuary and he skins one of the crazy churchies, is simply an awesome spectacle.

In the end the daughter is rescued but she's found to be the good side of a little girl possessed by a demon many years previous to the movie. The possessed little girl is now a grown woman, a warped and twisted cripple with scary powers of demonage. Seems the town people tried to burn her once and now she's really pissed off.

Welcome indeed
Welcome - come for the fog, stay for the crazy
In a hectic finale, the cop is burned alive (graphically), the demon possessed woman goes on a rampage of slaughter in the church (not graphically enough) and the woman plus her daughter escape. As a little aside to the main story, we also see the husband searching for both wife and daughter. He talks to people near Silent Hill and even visits with the local cops from a nearby town, but it's a totally different place. No fog, no monsters, no church. In the end he goes home empty-handed, as does his wife. But while he is in a normal house, she and the daughter are in a house filled with and surrounded by mist. Are they dead already? It's your call because the movie ends.

So I really liked Silent Hill, sure it was long and the acting was so-so, but the story was pretty good and the atmosphere appropriately eerie. Everything else such as effects, direction and scenery was above expectations also and in some cases pretty darn good. Silent Hill for me was like heading out to a bar for a few quiet drinks and coming home later wearing a different pair of pants and a sombrero. You thought it might be an ok time, but it turned out to be a ripper.

8.5/10

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