Silent Hill review, Silent Hill DVD review

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Buy your copy from Silent Hill (2006) half starno starno starno starno star Starring: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Jodelle Ferland, Alice Krige
Director: Christophe Gans
Rating: R
Category: Horror/Suspense

He’s no Uwe Boll, but French director Christophe Gans (“Brotherhood of the Wolf”) has certainly fallen to the same level with his adaptation of the popular survival-horror video game, “Silent Hill.” It’s not the worst film of the year (no, no – that honor is reserved for “Hostel”), but it’s a close second, thanks in part to less-than-stellar performances and a plot that makes absolutely no sense. What starts out as an eerie, highly-stylized suspense flick quickly turns into an Amateur Night performance of “The Crucible" - complete with all the witch-hunting you could ever want - for the low, low price of two hours of you life.

The film stars Radha Mitchell as Rose, a concerned mother desperately seeking a cure for her adopted daughter, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), whose random fits of sleepwalking include the mention of a place called Silent Hill. Apparently untrained in the skill of parenting, Rose does the one thing that no sane parent would ever do: she takes her to Silent Hill. Of course, the drive to the historical ghost town doesn’t go smoothly, and when Rose is pulled over by a suspicious police officer (Laurie Holden), she speeds away only to crash the car and black out. When she awakens to find Sharon missing, Rose sets out to find her daughter, only to uncover a dark secret about the town’s fiery past.

First off, the pacing of “Silent Hill” is all wrong. No sensible director would ever make a horror movie that drags on for over two hours, and if he would have just cut out all the senseless running around, the final product could have been a lot better. Perhaps even more frustrating is the god-awful dialogue that pops up throughout the film. The characters just talk and talk and talk, but no one ever makes the slightest bit of sense. Any suitable moviegoer should come to expect a lot more from a script written by Roger Avary (perhaps best known for his work on “Pulp Fiction"), but there’s absolutely nothing of merit here to discuss other than its loyalty to the original source material.

Fans of the hit series will probably even call this the best game-to-film adaptation ever produced, and they wouldn’t be too far from the truth. Aside from the absurdly entertaining “Doom," “Silent Hill” is the first true-to-life interpretation of a video game, but that doesn’t make it any good. Sure, diehard supporters are going to love the incredible attention to detail, not to mention the fantastic visuals (including a scene where a woman gets the skin ripped off her body by some evil dude with a biggie-sized butcher's knife), but as a horror flick, “Silent Hill” bombs on multiple levels. Game over.

DVD Review:
The single-disc release of “Silent Hill” doesn’t include much in the special features department, but the 6-part making-of, “Path of Darkness,” should be more than enough to satisfy the average fan’s appetite. Running just under an hour long, the featurette covers everything from the origin and casting of the film to set design and creature effects. It’s definitely an interesting behind-the-scenes look, and in many respects, better than the film itself.

~Jason Zingale

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