ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Silent Hill (2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Christophe Gans

Starring:
Radha Mitchell/Rose
Sean Bean/Christopher
Laurie Holden/Cybil
Alice Krige/Valtiel
PLOT-CRUNCH
Mommy dearest (Mitchell) loses her whining adoptive daughter in the spooked up town of Silent Hill. Horrid creatures, alternate dimensions and religious nut-jobs make it really hard for her to find her.
THE LOWDOWN

Honey, sometimes when you go to sleep you go on a little walk.
And sometimes you talk about a place called Silent Hill. - Rose

This will be a tough review to write as I'm actually somewhat confused on how I feel about this film. You know the whole fanboy inner conflict of: "How much did you really like the flick?" versus "How much did you really like it cause you really WANTED to like it?" Well I'm going through that jive right freaking now. Through writing this review I hope to decipher where I stand.

I've only played the original Silent Hill video game and it was a long time ago. But I stuck to it enough then to know that it would've made a badass movie one day. When Christophe Gans (a director I worship) was announced as helmer of the film adaptation, I went coo-coo for Co-Co! And when Roger Avary was stamped screenwriter on the project, I was on cloud 69! This couldn't fail! Having now seen the film I will say that Gans kept his end of the bargain. This had to be one of the more sumptuous looking genre films to come out in the last ten years. The eerie/bleak atmosphere and the awe inspiring production designs were upped in impact by Gans "on the move", daring and creative eye. This flick was akin to an artsy, abstract, surrealistic, living and breathing horror painting come to life. F*cking horror poetry in motion baby! Wait till you see the "staircase" - "darkness falls" scene!  I was floored!

Another plus was that the movie actually looked like the game it was based on! This is the second time I've been comfortable in saying that (the first being with Mortal Kombat) and it should be commended! Somebody FINALLY got it right, and then some, in that respect! Furthermore, the gripping/moving score (lifted off the game at that) and the brilliant sound designs (with many sound bites from the game there too) backed up the whole like a champ! This was one of the best sounding genre films to hit the block in a while. It always cranks my dial to "f*ck yeah" when a director fully capitalizes on the audio potential that a horror film should have. Lastly, the "practically" rendered (With CG enhancements?) creature shenanigans came through enough. The baddies, looked uber creepy, were faithful to their source material and made way for a couple impressive moments (The Pyramid Head big blade attack was my fav, that mofo don't muck around).

On the "bummer" side of the bum begging for bum change, Gans rarely managed to build-up and sustain "true" tension (for me anyway) with his "too short to carry a solid punch" horror scenarios. The varied creatures where under-used and when onscreen, they were just "there", as if looking to turn tricks or something. I seldom felt threatened or scared by them. The occasional overly tight editing that often over-played the "tease card" sure didn't help in that matter either. And what was up with the awful dialogue? Simpleton lines maybe worked for the game but this is a feature film man! Some of the turd blabbing lessened the stenght of some scenes. I needed more quality than that! The same can be said about the character reactions to the events at hand. Is it me or was everybody a little too chill and un-impressed taking into account the ghost laced world they were tossed in? I would've went bonkers and cried out for Mommy 10 minutes in!

Moreover, some of the characters didn't work for me. Although the sweet looking Radha Mitchell carried the film admirably, the great Sean Bean was utterly wasted, solely there to act as Captain Exposition and nothing else. Then there was the little girl (Jodelle Ferland) who grated me and didn't sell me on her role! Thank Zeus she vanished early on! As for the cop dame (Laurie Holden), she was a joke in terms of her dumb lines and her butch demeanor while the whole "wearing sunglasses at night" spiel was the punch line. ARROW NOTE: Why do female cops in films always "have to" act like dudes? Can't we have a "female", "female cop" for once! I didn't buy it! Finally, story wise, I understood the plot just fine but had a hard time giving a shite about the religious zealots stuff (The incredibly talented Alice Krige almost saved it for me). Just didn't find it compelling. And was it me or did the narrative stall during its middle block, hence resulting in a loss of momentum? This 127 minutes flick could've easily been shaved down to 100 minutes if you ask me or my talking Donkey "Victor".

Thankfully Silent Hill got its groove back for its eye popping finale, with wet gore galore, some Hellraiser on steroids inspired happenings and familiar (The Dark anyone?) yet sly final frames that slapped a big grin on my big face. This is definitely a film that demands a second viewing as my gut is telling me that there's more to it than what I caught. You bet I'll get the DVD! I guess I now know how I truly feel about the film: I loved the striking visuals, the faithfulness to the game, the arresting music/sound and was half-half on the characters/storyline. Question is...will you visit Silent Hill?

GORE
Although they came in late within the game we get a couple of solid gore rippers; such as somedy's full insides being pulled out of their skin, people wripped to shreds by hooks, some nasty burn victims, some slashed throats and more! I would've dug on more red grub, but what was there came through!
ACTING
Radha Mitchell (Rose) handled herself well and was credible...even when her Aussie accent would slip out. Sean Bean (Christopher) did what he had to do. Basically played the same role that he did in The Dark, except here he was more of "cut away" and "exposition" tool as opposed to a well defined character. Always nice to see Sean Bean "Beaning" in a horror film though! Grade A actor!

Laurie Holden (Cybil) didn't work for me on every level. Her get-up was too T-1000 and she had the worst lines of the lot. Alice Krige (Valtiel) blew everybody away acting wise when onscreen. She that freaking good! Canuck Kim Coates was focused and on the ball as per usual. Love that guy! Jodelle Ferland (Sharon/Alessa) did "okay" in evil mode but annoyed and didn't sell me the rest of the time.
T & A
The undead nurses sported nice undead cleavage (I'd tap all of them after a couple of drinks!). That's as far as it went!
DIRECTING
Gans is a hero of mine visually and he topped himself here by slapping me in a surreal world of intoxicating mood, bleak beauty, smooth camera moves, ambitious shots, well shot set pieces and kinetic angles. I felt like "Alice" dumped in "Horror Land"! Too bad the too tight editing tarnished some of the scare bits and that the film itself just wasn't frightening enough as a whole.
SOUNDTRACK
The piano inclined score and the impeccable use of sound were mucho efficient. They were a HUGE part of the experience! Must get that soundtrack! NOTE: The score misfired once real bad with a hammy organ note kicking in near the end, making the moment "cheesy", lets see if you catch it too!
BOTTOM LINE
Big props to Gans and Avery for making such an effort in having SILENT HILL the film be like SILENT HILL the game! They went all out and I'm sure ardent gamers will appreciate that. That's what I call: filmmakers who give a shit! Personally, the film let me down but at the same time it didn't. This is one of the rare times where I didn't fully care for the characters or the unraveling of the story...and yet wasn't totally put off. The BEYOND SUPERIOR macabre imagery, the nifty creature designs/effects and the brilliant use of sound pretty much made up for the faults and had me sucked in hardcore.

SILENT HILL could've been much more with a tighter script, true scares and some snip-snip down. But as -is, I'm just INCREDIBLY grateful in getting a flawed yet faithful video game adaptation, obviously made for mature horror fans. Doesn't happen often enough! If you're an audio/visual junkie such as myself, you should have a blast! See it, debate it, love it, hate it...all I know is that I'll have to visit Silent Hill again.
BULL'S EYE
Look out for the sexy Deborah Kara Unger in a small role (She plays Dahlia Gillespie).

Friends of mine who have played all of the games have told me that the film is inspired by the first 3 Silent Hill games.

The film was shot in Ontario and St. George, New Brunswick, Canada for about 50 Million clams.

VISIT THE OFFICIAL SILENT HILL SITE HERE

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8:19PM on 05/21/2010
For someone who has never played the video games, I came into the movie with medium expectations and was still disappointed. Yes, there are some creepy parts that make it somewhat watchable, but there is virtually no plot that I could discern and I ultimately didn't care what happened to any of the characters, Rose was just annoying to me. I have had friends who know the video games explain some things to me, and that definitely helps. The games sound much better, seems to me they should have
For someone who has never played the video games, I came into the movie with medium expectations and was still disappointed. Yes, there are some creepy parts that make it somewhat watchable, but there is virtually no plot that I could discern and I ultimately didn't care what happened to any of the characters, Rose was just annoying to me. I have had friends who know the video games explain some things to me, and that definitely helps. The games sound much better, seems to me they should have just stuck with the games, the movie simply doesn't stand on its own.
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3:12PM on 09/24/2009

Jodelle Ferland is God

Silent Hill was Jodelle's #30something film,her 4th Devil,she is the total Lolita of this millennium.BTW the bug Cybil stomped was Alessa,Gans website has his confessions,Colin was meant to be Alessa's husband-no crappy USA age-issues in Canada!
Silent Hill was Jodelle's #30something film,her 4th Devil,she is the total Lolita of this millennium.BTW the bug Cybil stomped was Alessa,Gans website has his confessions,Colin was meant to be Alessa's husband-no crappy USA age-issues in Canada!
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12:00PM on 06/25/2007

Stick with the Games

Although the overall design and sounds made me feel like I was in Silent Hill, the movie as a whole could have been much better. Unlike the actual games, there was no scare-factor in this movie. I thought the first half of the movie was alright with a lot of cool shots and sound effects from the game, but the second half was boring and slowed the movie down. Overall, I was disappointed with this movie. Stick with the games.
Although the overall design and sounds made me feel like I was in Silent Hill, the movie as a whole could have been much better. Unlike the actual games, there was no scare-factor in this movie. I thought the first half of the movie was alright with a lot of cool shots and sound effects from the game, but the second half was boring and slowed the movie down. Overall, I was disappointed with this movie. Stick with the games.
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3:28AM on 11/14/2006
I'm a huge fan of the games and I thought it was just perfect. Bring on a second helping Gans, I'm ready!
I'm a huge fan of the games and I thought it was just perfect. Bring on a second helping Gans, I'm ready!
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4:55PM on 07/05/2006

From a HUGE Silent Hill fan.

You dont need to go too far to understand just *how* excited I was about this movies release. Just check the number of posts in the Silent Hill thread. Youll notice that not only am I the one who replied the most . . . but also the one who replied the most with over 150 replies in one thread. I had read way too many things about this movie since before the release, among them a wide variety of negative reviews. Of course I memorized all the problems most of the critics had with the movie
You dont need to go too far to understand just *how* excited I was about this movies release. Just check the number of posts in the Silent Hill thread. Youll notice that not only am I the one who replied the most . . . but also the one who replied the most with over 150 replies in one thread. I had read way too many things about this movie since before the release, among them a wide variety of negative reviews. Of course I memorized all the problems most of the critics had with the movie (because audiences mostly seemed to like it) so I could have by guard up while watching it. I should know with what weapons I was going to be attacked, right? Anyway. I had already prepared what someone else eloquently called my nerd barrier. Am I so much of a Silent Hill nerd to completely overlook any flaws the movie might have? How can I put this . . . okay. Imagine you have a girlfriend who isnt 100% attractive according to everyone else. OMG ugly nose! they say. But hard as you look, you dont see any of these things. You love her too much.

I knew that the movie was only an adaptation of the first game; I had put my endless knowledge on the series (quiet, I have, like, a PhD) aside and open straight to see the plot the filmmakers had weaved for the adaptation. It was pretty hard for me to completely isolate the elements that seem to be implemented into the movie but not clearly but I managed to look at the films plot as it is. And as it is, it could easily be something in a Silent Hill game (the mythology is very different to the mythology of the games) as it contains the series trademark dark backstory, characters driven by grief, people caught in the bad place at the bad time among other things. The plot creates its own mythology, its own universe and making perfect sense in every way. Yes, its true, you might want to read up some plot guides for the first Silent Hill to get some things that might not be completely explained or to get a guide about how to go while trying to understand it. Do not misunderstand though, this ISNT a confusing movie. Not a mindfuck. Not like Mulholland Drive. Most plot points are perfectly explained during an extended flashback near the end of a movie. Blatant plot exposition? Yes. Does it work? Yes. Why? It ties it with the characterizations. Your reward the truth. Rose finds what she was looking for in Silent Hill, much like Heather or James (protagonists of SH3 and 2 respectively) do at the end of their journeys.

A big problem I had heard in most reviews even positive ones- was the dialogue. Now, here it comes: I had no trouble with it. I thought most of the time, the dialogue was great (loved the religious way of speaking of some of the characters). It was obvious from frame one that Silent Hill wasnt setting itself into this reality (and dont be funny, its not like Uh, its good enough for a videogame.) but creating its own ethereal shell of a world. No, the dialogue isnt natural, its everything but. But it works in this little foggy world called Silent Hill. Mother is god in the eyes of a child. is nothing but a plain beautiful line that we would never hear in this world. But we would in Silent Hill, and its perfectly fine in there. Ill admit, the VERY short exchange They said this place used to be haunted. came off as just silly when the reply is I think they were right. Other than that, never ever had troubles with the dialogue or the plot (loved the succession of places to visit. Us fans get to see many of our favorite settings and it all makes sense). Please though, to those who saw the movie. Get this: *SPOILERS* The movie does NOT end with Theyve been dead all along. Please trust me when I say this. Even though I never got that when I saw the movie, Ive read it in way too many places. The theory of them all being dead makes absolutely no sense (characters die after being dead? Huh? Remember everything happened in the real world too). Rose and Sharon are merely trapped in another dimension. A dimension that was created by Alessa/Demon IN Silent Hill during the fire. This dimension is NOT the land of the dead. Someone who dies in the real world will not go to this world. Rose and Sharon might not be with Christopher, but theyre still alive. This is not a twist; its just a bittersweet way to end it. Theres no way out of this dimension, theyre staying there. Hopefully youre not shaking your heads and thinking how wrong and delusional I am and believe me. Because that seems to be a big problem most people have.

In the foggy world of Silent Hill, we encounter several faces. Its quick that we become acquainted with these characters. Its amazing how the main players of this party (Rose, Cybil, Dahlia, Christopher, Christabella and Alessa/Sharon) have each a unique point of view, an intriguing tie to the towns history and their own tragic back story in the cases of Dahlia and Alessa. Everyone goes through an arc, everyone learns, everyone changes and well get an interesting perspective from each about the themes in the movie. Religion and motherly love are focused on and tied to every characters arc with some tints of loss of innocence. There was absolutely not one character that I didnt love. Rose was of course my favorite, but Cybil was absolutely amazing and Dahlia was such a heartbreaker I couldnt help but like. Sure, the villain is a total bitch but I kinda saw her perspective and understood where she was coming from (that climax made me sweat cold). I still am not sure about the problems people had with Christopher and his subplot. It exposed some of the vast backstory but still shined character (loved Gucci), I dont see a problem. It helped the finale turn into the bittersweet punch in the gut it was.

About the acting, here it comes again. Fell in love with every single player in this movie. Yes, even Jodelle Ferland. I thought she was just amazing in her three roles (her screams in the climax made it just be more and more gut coiling). Radha Mitchell was fantastic and theres not much to say about her. Shes one of my new favorite actresses. Ever. Laurie Holden kicked ass and her final scene was heartbreaking. Alice Kirge and Deborah Kara Unger pinned their roles like champs. They shined in every moment they were onscreen and became two of the most memorable characters (Christabella was awesome and Dahlia kicked ass). Sean Bean appeared in the movie enough to have to support an awesome character and the ending broke my heart. Kim Coates has the exact same story. Loved the entire cast without exception.

Scary? Dont know about scary because I havent really been SCARED in a movie. But trust me: this movie is disturbing and really fucking creepy. No boo scares; its all about the atmosphere and the extreme intensity of the scenes in the rusty otherworld. The school and the Gray Children scenes are right out of BLOODY NIGHTMARES. Especially the school scene, which just seems to go on forever, hitting you continuously with a new threat and an uglier creature (when the Janitor began to SCREAM blindly I almost lost it) every few seconds. Just amazing. And what can I say about that extremely tense climax in the church in which youll either be digging your fingers into the couch or cheering at the events unfolding (I was doing the former). The climax is another extended scene that never lets go off yer jewels. It all concludes with an awesome shot that opens to the films finale, which left me thinking that the melancholic tracks of the movies score couldnt be more fitting. What a bittersweet, misunderstood finale.

I think its useless to mention that Christophe Gans eye for visuals is flawless. Theres not one shot in this entire movie that didnt convey the sense of isolation, loneliness and glum until of course, he breaths life into the videogames by adding perfect recreations of game set pieces and camera movements (all about the alley). Not only that, but us SH fans will nerdgasm over the extensive amount of subtle references to all four games. The music, composed by Akira Yamaoka but re-arranged by Jeff Dana worked amazingly well. Danna picked the perfect tracks to play in each scene (Promise (Reprise) was extremely beautiful), tweaking some of them into reorchestrated versions of their former selves (Dance With Wind Night was amazing) and that renders me a satisfied panda.

I know Im gushing and jizzing all over this faux review. I cant even properly review this movie so dont expect a rating because personally, 10/10 doesnt seem enough and I cannot be impartial to it and give it a fair rating considering any flaws it probably has but I couldnt see, even if I tried. Watching this movie was as if a 70 year old virgin had sex for the first time with the woman of his dreams. Unforgettable, I could swear I had tears in my eyes when the credits began rolling. Silent Hill was everything this die hard Silent Hill fan expected and more.

And Im done.

Extras:
Find a plot guide for the movie here: [link]

Find a complete compilation of the movie's soundtrack (mp3) here: [link]

*note* You'll have to copy and paste the COMPLETE URL to be able to access the page.
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+0
2:40PM on 04/26/2006

Waiting so long for this..

The Silent Hill games are one of my favorite series -- so of course, when I first heard speculation about a Silent Hill movie years ago, I was pretty excited. When I heard Christopher Gans was directing (no one else seemed to like Brotherhood much, but I thought it was brilliant) and Roger Avary was writing (come on man.. it's Roger Avary), I got very, very excited. It was like -- "How could such a team screw this up?" I'm not sure.. when I heard Sean Bean was in it, I was even more stoked.
The Silent Hill games are one of my favorite series -- so of course, when I first heard speculation about a Silent Hill movie years ago, I was pretty excited. When I heard Christopher Gans was directing (no one else seemed to like Brotherhood much, but I thought it was brilliant) and Roger Avary was writing (come on man.. it's Roger Avary), I got very, very excited. It was like -- "How could such a team screw this up?" I'm not sure.. when I heard Sean Bean was in it, I was even more stoked. I saw photos of the leading lady and was like.. "Oh yes.." -- she just 'looked' the part. And the flash trailer was so promising.. it looked like something out of the games. And then game the real trailers. And the clips. Clips of acting. I got very frightened, but not in a good way.. honestly, I wasn't a fan of almost anyone's acting in this film. The crazy church lady did good, and a few lines here and there were alright.. I think the film would have been actually much better if they had taken out 85% of the dialogue.. just because it was that bad. The delivery AND the lines.. Avary, what were you doing, sleeping on the job!? He usually does an amazing job but.. I just don't get it. It looked amazing, but the acting was terrible.. man, that little girl.. the cop.. the mentally addled villager girl.. AND ALL THE VILLAGERS. Even the story.. it's better when you don't explain everything. I don't know.. here go three years or so of hopes and expectations deflating on the floor. Good effort guys. Well.. I think it was a good effort.. actually, I didn't really see much effort besides the visuals.. sigh. And I can't tell you how much I want to like this movie, but I just.. can't. (P.S. -- How weird is it that the Dark is so similar.. I watched it right after Silent Hill, as netflix just dropped it off.. whoah!! Watch it and see what I mean.. except, the acting was way better in the Dark.. even with shitty dialogue.)
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+0
5:32PM on 04/24/2006

SO MUCH POTENTIAL.....

The beauty about the Silent Hill games (I'll agree with jeromycraig - the second Silent Hill game still haunts me to this day)is the atmosphere in which the gamer is placed. Gans did a great job with set design and also created great "scary" surroundings, but that was really the ONE good part about this film. Sure, the creature work was pretty good (love the nurses), and the soundtrack was great, but overall, this movie just didn't scare me or even make me nervous, which is, in my opinion,
The beauty about the Silent Hill games (I'll agree with jeromycraig - the second Silent Hill game still haunts me to this day)is the atmosphere in which the gamer is placed. Gans did a great job with set design and also created great "scary" surroundings, but that was really the ONE good part about this film. Sure, the creature work was pretty good (love the nurses), and the soundtrack was great, but overall, this movie just didn't scare me or even make me nervous, which is, in my opinion, the job of a horror film. I had such high hopes for this film, especially since it was rated R, and was very disappointed with the results. I was hoping for something that would scare the pants off of me and this movie just didn't deliver. I guess if I want to be truly scared I'm just going to have to replay the games!
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4:55PM on 04/24/2006

Loved, loved, loved it...

I have now deluded myself into thinking that the if the film were any more disturbing, the MPAA would have made it NC-17 for pure concept. And wouldn't that have been a great film to watch?
I have now deluded myself into thinking that the if the film were any more disturbing, the MPAA would have made it NC-17 for pure concept. And wouldn't that have been a great film to watch?
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+0
3:54PM on 04/24/2006

What could have been

It had so much potential but fell flat. Not at one time at any point was in even the least bit scared. I prefer "boo" type scares over "mood" scares but this had neither of them. I didnt have problem with dialogue or acting but the action scenes were a little too sparse. They did leave it open for a sequel so maybe we get to see pyramid head actually do something besides the one kill.

P.s. stay away from Tobe Hooper's Mortuary, wretched, cheesy, horrid, and rent his much better Toolbox
It had so much potential but fell flat. Not at one time at any point was in even the least bit scared. I prefer "boo" type scares over "mood" scares but this had neither of them. I didnt have problem with dialogue or acting but the action scenes were a little too sparse. They did leave it open for a sequel so maybe we get to see pyramid head actually do something besides the one kill.

P.s. stay away from Tobe Hooper's Mortuary, wretched, cheesy, horrid, and rent his much better Toolbox Murders instead.
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1:49PM on 04/24/2006

I agree with Arrow

I didn't have any problem following the plot, but I've played all the games and could fill in the blanks. People who have only seen the movie don't have that to fall back on, and will just be confused. Although I admire him making the movie with an eye toward the fans, Gans should have taken that into account.

Arrow, you've only played the first game? For shame! Silent Hill 2 is one of the most haunting games I've ever played. Get thee to a PS2!
I didn't have any problem following the plot, but I've played all the games and could fill in the blanks. People who have only seen the movie don't have that to fall back on, and will just be confused. Although I admire him making the movie with an eye toward the fans, Gans should have taken that into account.

Arrow, you've only played the first game? For shame! Silent Hill 2 is one of the most haunting games I've ever played. Get thee to a PS2!
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10:55AM on 04/24/2006
At least i'm not the only one that liked it. somewhat. This film seems to be getting the worst audience reation since Blair witch. When I saw it people laughed hysterically and ridiculed the film for about an hour, then all I heard were exasperated groans of, "is it over yet?" For myself, I thought the script had some problems, but dug the nightmare atmosphere. definately could have been better.
At least i'm not the only one that liked it. somewhat. This film seems to be getting the worst audience reation since Blair witch. When I saw it people laughed hysterically and ridiculed the film for about an hour, then all I heard were exasperated groans of, "is it over yet?" For myself, I thought the script had some problems, but dug the nightmare atmosphere. definately could have been better.
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10:48AM on 04/24/2006
I loved the movie through and through. I thought the short scenes of horror worked perfectly. I thought thee acting suited it, beign as the acting in the games was a little cheesy. The blood and gore was perfect. The music (being a fan of Industrial for 11 years) was amazingly perfect. And I couldnt sleep the night I saw it, I kept waking up from nightmares all freaked out. Thats never happened after watching a movie. Maybe the movie hit some nerves that it didnt hit with you guys but it was
I loved the movie through and through. I thought the short scenes of horror worked perfectly. I thought thee acting suited it, beign as the acting in the games was a little cheesy. The blood and gore was perfect. The music (being a fan of Industrial for 11 years) was amazingly perfect. And I couldnt sleep the night I saw it, I kept waking up from nightmares all freaked out. Thats never happened after watching a movie. Maybe the movie hit some nerves that it didnt hit with you guys but it was freakier then Jacobs Ladder, and that movie was the only movie to scare me before this came out. I will need to check out that Organ zat the end though.

Good review, just too bad the movie didnt hav the same effect on ya.
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10:27AM on 04/24/2006
I totally agree with Arrow's review. It's exactly how I feel about the movie. I love the games and the movie was a very true to the source material. Just wish it was a bit scarier. There were few tense moments but the visuals were dead on. I also know what part of the score Arrow was talking about with the organ que. IT was a bit cheesy. Overall I liked it and will buy the DVD.
I totally agree with Arrow's review. It's exactly how I feel about the movie. I love the games and the movie was a very true to the source material. Just wish it was a bit scarier. There were few tense moments but the visuals were dead on. I also know what part of the score Arrow was talking about with the organ que. IT was a bit cheesy. Overall I liked it and will buy the DVD.
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