Latest Movie News Headlines

The UnPopular Opinion: Silent Hill

Aug. 1, 2012by: Alejandro Stepenberg

Immortals new UnPopular Opinion header

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

**** SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

There is a debate between video game fans and filmmakers that will probably rage until judgement day - namely, how to adapt our beloved gaming properties into proper films.  The majority have failed miserably, a few have only mostly failed, and a few have gone so far beyond their source material (Uwe Boll anything) as to be nearly unrecognizable.  And then there are of course those that sounded good - a Halo as guided by Peter Jackson, Gore Verbinski being behind BIOSHOCK - that never even came to pass.  But the debate, in my experience, basically seems to boil down to whether filmmakers actually understand the source material they are drawing from. 

And the general consensus is that they don't.  But the problem, I think, is that you simply cannot adapt a video game's entire tone or experience into a film.  It just doesn't work.  The capabilities of the mediums are drastically different.  So where does that leave us? It leaves us with the idea that an adaptation of a video game would best succeed if the filmmakers behind it took the elements at the heart of a game's experience (whether those be emotional moments or twisted world-building or absurd action or fascinating characters in extraordinary situations) and transplanted those elements rather than trying to bring along the whole damn thing the same way you would a book or a TV show or a comic.  It seems obvious, but a fair amount of people have missed the boat thus far, and so here we are.

Silent Hill unpop 3

"When you're hurt and scared for so long, the fear and pain turn to hate and the hate starts to change the world."

Which in turn brings us to SILENT HILL.  Is SILENT HILL a great video game adaptation? Not really.  Is it a great movie? Maybe it's not that either, but what it is is pretty damn entertaining and creepy as hell.  And therein lies the rub: watching this all-in-all slick horror flick only reaffirmed in my mind the belief that when you adapt something, that adaptation can no longer be compared to the source that inspired it.  In the same way as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or countless other examples, once the commitment is made to transfer a particular piece of storytelling to celluloid, it becomes its own entity and should, in all fairness, be judged only on its own terms.

So as a "Silent Hill story", Christophe Gans and company lose a lot in the translation of the deep power borne by the video game series.  But as a plain old horror movie that happens to have seeds of visual, aural, and thematic inspiration taken from a preexisting series of stories: I think it succeeds pretty damn well.  Now, you may ask what the point is of even doing an adaptation at all if you're not going to really well and truly honor the source material.  Yet I think, that in this case anyway, Gans and company did very much try to and it was just our tough luck that they didn't quite get what "Silent Hill" was as a video game.  You can see that they tried - it's right there on the screen.  And thankfully, even if it wasn't a true "Silent Hill story" in execution, we still got a fun little horror flick well worth watching.

Silent Hill unpop 1

"You've darkened the heart of an innocent and now you cower in the face of Alessa's revenge."

The reason I say that SILENT HILL isn't the best "Silent Hill story" is that Gans and screenwriter Roger Avary (PULP FICTION, BEOWULF) treat SILENT HILL more as a parade of horrors that all stem from the truly tortured soul of one very sad and angry little girl rather than a disturbingly twisted deconstruction of the protagonist's own demons.  Rose has no need to be in SILENT HILL other than to save her daughter, her presence and efforts in time causing her to become another victim to the darkness in Alessa's heart.  And while choosing that former route takes SILENT HILL away from the meaning behind the games, committing so strongly to the latter is what gives us the good movie that SILENT HILL ends up being.

The transformation effects on the environment are top notch both in technical execution and in general creepiness, the situations in which Rose finds herself are often downright scary, and the perfomers/tech chosen to realize the twisted creatures that call Silent Hill home succeed impressively in creating some truly memorable encounters.  And really, isn't that all any good horror movie can ever ask for? Coupled with a score (culled from the games) that is solidly put together and a cache of actor performances that bring life, humanity, and energy to an exposition-laden script, SILENT HILL all of a sudden ascends the ranks of both video game adaptation and popular horror movie to provide something that succeeds at being equal parts scary and entertaining.  Which is, again, a standard that I know most horror movies always try their best to shoot for.

Silent Hill unpop 4

"You burned in the fire that you started and nothing can save you because you're already damned!"

The main sticking point I have with SILENT HILL, and perhaps this is where the majority of naysayers also fall, is not with the movie it is but the movie it could have been.  But instead of being well and truly a product of the "Silent Hill" sensibility the games have always adhered to, Gans and Avery went for something different.  Not something worse, just something different.  Something bigger than the internal demons of any one character, and in doing so made a horror movie that is about a whole lot more than the fears of a single soul and how they confront those fears.

Because sometimes the darkest evil and the most vicious villainy stems from nothing more than the very human sort of fear that arises from the unknown.  Sometimes the nastiest of pain is caused because a community of people are afraid and alone and they don't know how to deal with their feelings.  That's what Gans and Avary seemingly chose to explore, and while in most ways it very much works as a movie in and of itself, I'd argue it even works in some ways as a "Silent Hill" movie.  Just not as the SILENT HILL movie that we all wanted.  And do you know what? I'm a-okay with that.

Silent Hill unpop 2

"Sharon is adopted, but I'm her mother. I knew that the first time I laid eyes on her."
"
She's lucky to have you. Mother is God in the eyes of a child."

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to ajstepenberg@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

Extra Tidbit: It took Christophe Gans five years to secure the rights to "Silent Hill". He finally achieved his aim after sending Konami a video of an interview where he spoke about how important "Silent Hill" was to him. Besides the interview he also sent scenes that he filmed with his own money synched to various pieces of music from the games.
Source: JoBlo.com

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

4:57AM on 08/01/2012
I honestly rank Silent Hill to be the best videogame adaptation. Of course that's not saying much. I do find the Resident Evil films to be fun, but way off course and Doom was a laugh.
Silent Hill had the right amount of creepiness and didn't rely on cheap horror thrills and jumps to scare the audience. The sequel looks like it might detour from the source a little further though and I hope it doesn't kill the possibility of someone getting it spot on in the future.
I honestly rank Silent Hill to be the best videogame adaptation. Of course that's not saying much. I do find the Resident Evil films to be fun, but way off course and Doom was a laugh.
Silent Hill had the right amount of creepiness and didn't rely on cheap horror thrills and jumps to scare the audience. The sequel looks like it might detour from the source a little further though and I hope it doesn't kill the possibility of someone getting it spot on in the future.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:15AM on 08/01/2012
I too loved Silent Hill, thought they did a great job.
I too loved Silent Hill, thought they did a great job.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:39AM on 08/01/2012
Didn't realise liking Silent Hill was an unpopular opinion; I thought it was widely regarded as the best video game adaptation (though that's not much of a claim I suppose!).
I loved the games, they often scared the pee out of me, and I thought the film did well to capture a lot of the atmosphere and aesthetics from the game, so no complaints there.
For me, what I didn't like was that they gave a full explanation of why all of this horror was happening; I prefer it when it's left unexplained
Didn't realise liking Silent Hill was an unpopular opinion; I thought it was widely regarded as the best video game adaptation (though that's not much of a claim I suppose!).
I loved the games, they often scared the pee out of me, and I thought the film did well to capture a lot of the atmosphere and aesthetics from the game, so no complaints there.
For me, what I didn't like was that they gave a full explanation of why all of this horror was happening; I prefer it when it's left unexplained and ambiguous, as that's where the most fear lies (see the Shining, Blair Witch etc). In the games you always got morsels and clues, but it was up to the player to piece it together and draw their own conclusions.
This is why I still say I would love to see Lynch take on Silent Hill; in many ways I see Silent Hill as the Black Lodge...
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:02AM on 08/01/2012
I really enjoyed Silent Hill. I don't know what people really wanted from this. It was dark, gory, creepy, and had a good story.
I really enjoyed Silent Hill. I don't know what people really wanted from this. It was dark, gory, creepy, and had a good story.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:10AM on 08/01/2012

So happy to see some love for this!

This is the only worthy video game to film adaptation made but unfortunatly it always gets bunched with the other crap. I'm a diehard fan of the game series (Silent Hill 2) and although as stated they missed the essence of what the games are about, it totally captured the aesthetics and atmosphere of them, getting the same composer was a big plus. Love this flick.
This is the only worthy video game to film adaptation made but unfortunatly it always gets bunched with the other crap. I'm a diehard fan of the game series (Silent Hill 2) and although as stated they missed the essence of what the games are about, it totally captured the aesthetics and atmosphere of them, getting the same composer was a big plus. Love this flick.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:03AM on 08/01/2012

Is this unpopular?

I know the movie has some detractors, but in my experience, they have been in the minority. The vast majority of film buffs I know really dug this, as do I. It's the best videogame adaptation to date (but I think "Mortal Kombat" {first one} is the second, so what do I know?)
I know the movie has some detractors, but in my experience, they have been in the minority. The vast majority of film buffs I know really dug this, as do I. It's the best videogame adaptation to date (but I think "Mortal Kombat" {first one} is the second, so what do I know?)
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:07AM on 08/01/2012

People really dislike this movie?

Agree with all comments below I felt Silent HIll to be a very good movie and defiently translated well from game to movie. I felt though that they tried to crunch to much from Silent Hill 1 and 2 into the movie. I thought the first game alone could have made great material for a movie, but agree that they try to explain everything, some things should be alluded to, so you can make own opinion. Oh and the shadow children in SH1 in the school terrified the shit out of me in the game.
Agree with all comments below I felt Silent HIll to be a very good movie and defiently translated well from game to movie. I felt though that they tried to crunch to much from Silent Hill 1 and 2 into the movie. I thought the first game alone could have made great material for a movie, but agree that they try to explain everything, some things should be alluded to, so you can make own opinion. Oh and the shadow children in SH1 in the school terrified the shit out of me in the game.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+14
9:33AM on 08/01/2012
I didn't know Silent Hill was so disliked, I really dig the movie.
I didn't know Silent Hill was so disliked, I really dig the movie.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:28AM on 08/01/2012

Liked it

I haven't seen it in a long time, but I remember liking it. Sure, the ending is a bit weak and the whole witch hunting cult business is a bit unnecessary, but other than that, it's pretty faithful to the source material and you can tell that the director had great respect for it. It definnitely isn't as bad as the Resident Evil movies. The biggest twist in the movie thoough, is the fact that Sean Bean doesn't die in it! I
I haven't seen it in a long time, but I remember liking it. Sure, the ending is a bit weak and the whole witch hunting cult business is a bit unnecessary, but other than that, it's pretty faithful to the source material and you can tell that the director had great respect for it. It definnitely isn't as bad as the Resident Evil movies. The biggest twist in the movie thoough, is the fact that Sean Bean doesn't die in it! I
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:41AM on 08/01/2012

Unfair Comparison

except for a few hoakie moments near the end I love this pic. But I dont think its fair to lump all adaptations together. Films based on movies have a clearer guideline to follow and are often more firmly rooted in reality, often not the case with video games. With a book, you can make small character developments that have little impact on the rest of the story but give you a better feel for the character. In a video game setting, you have to keep your player riveted and occupied, lest you
except for a few hoakie moments near the end I love this pic. But I dont think its fair to lump all adaptations together. Films based on movies have a clearer guideline to follow and are often more firmly rooted in reality, often not the case with video games. With a book, you can make small character developments that have little impact on the rest of the story but give you a better feel for the character. In a video game setting, you have to keep your player riveted and occupied, lest you lose them completely.
Case in point: Spending the first 30 minutes of LOTR establishing that Hobbits are fat little shits that love to eat, smoke, drink and party is vital to the rest of the tale and why Frodo's accomplishments are so incredible. But most such games would open with a five minute CG cutscene and then straight into acquisition of weapons and quests.
Not saying games arent very deep, Just that, unlike Potter, no one knows Ken or Ryu's birthday or has ever agonized over Solid Snake's choice of prom date, making character development that follows the source material so much easier when dealing with a book.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:50AM on 08/01/2012
I think Silent Hill's production team has a pretty good idea of what the video game was all about. It follows the first game's plot quite faithfully even with the alterations. I loved the movie. But yes, I often wonder if the movie could have been done better. I can't help to think that Sean Bean would have made a great Harry Mason.
I think Silent Hill's production team has a pretty good idea of what the video game was all about. It follows the first game's plot quite faithfully even with the alterations. I loved the movie. But yes, I often wonder if the movie could have been done better. I can't help to think that Sean Bean would have made a great Harry Mason.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:54AM on 08/01/2012
I stated this before, but since it's brought up again, I'll repeat it: As a person who hasn't played the games, I hated the film. However, it seems a lot of people here enjoy it. What bothers me most is that the plot is so thin. The majority of the film is Rose shouting "Sharon! Sharon!" every freaking minute. The few moments that salvage the film from being a total waste is the appearance of the Silent Hill monsters (and those are far and few between). And finally, we get the third act with
I stated this before, but since it's brought up again, I'll repeat it: As a person who hasn't played the games, I hated the film. However, it seems a lot of people here enjoy it. What bothers me most is that the plot is so thin. The majority of the film is Rose shouting "Sharon! Sharon!" every freaking minute. The few moments that salvage the film from being a total waste is the appearance of the Silent Hill monsters (and those are far and few between). And finally, we get the third act with the witch hunt that is more laughable than scary. Overall, I don't see how anyone can enjoy this film, but I'm glad for some of you who did. My favorite VG adaptation is "The Prince of Persia."
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:16PM on 08/01/2012
Sir, I am a die-hard follower of the games. You won't find anyone else more dedicated to the series(at least up until SH4, when it stopped being good) across JoBlo and MFC.

And you ......... got it.

This movie, is a disgrace and an abomination. It doesn't represent the genius of that 1st game, which it was supposed to be an adaptation of, and it's just a pretty crappy "horror" movie in and of itself. The plot makes no sense AT all, the script is abhorrent, the dialogue atrocious, almost
Sir, I am a die-hard follower of the games. You won't find anyone else more dedicated to the series(at least up until SH4, when it stopped being good) across JoBlo and MFC.

And you ......... got it.

This movie, is a disgrace and an abomination. It doesn't represent the genius of that 1st game, which it was supposed to be an adaptation of, and it's just a pretty crappy "horror" movie in and of itself. The plot makes no sense AT all, the script is abhorrent, the dialogue atrocious, almost hilariously bad acting and pretty lousy CGI FX. The games deserved a lot more respect than this movie gave it, as did fans of the horror genre.
1:06PM on 08/01/2012
I tried playing one of the games once and it freaked me out too much to continue. So I'm more or less in the same boat as you in that regard.
I tried playing one of the games once and it freaked me out too much to continue. So I'm more or less in the same boat as you in that regard.
+7
12:03PM on 08/01/2012
Definitely the best game adaptation, quality-wise. The acting is solid, the effects are great, and it has some gleefully twisted scenes (*ahem* barbed wire).

Also: Sean Bean. 'Nuff said.
Definitely the best game adaptation, quality-wise. The acting is solid, the effects are great, and it has some gleefully twisted scenes (*ahem* barbed wire).

Also: Sean Bean. 'Nuff said.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:07PM on 08/01/2012

I love it

I feel the same way as I do about hitman, I find it really entertaining. Forget comparrissons to the game, the movie scares the sh!t out of me. I mean, visually, it haunts you. As a parent, the thought of what that little girl suffered is horrific enough without the darkness descending. The cast is good, and although I found the ending kind of a cop out, the scale tips more in the plus catagory for me.
I feel the same way as I do about hitman, I find it really entertaining. Forget comparrissons to the game, the movie scares the sh!t out of me. I mean, visually, it haunts you. As a parent, the thought of what that little girl suffered is horrific enough without the darkness descending. The cast is good, and although I found the ending kind of a cop out, the scale tips more in the plus catagory for me.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:10PM on 08/01/2012
***SPOILER ALERT***
I'm not familiar with Silent Hill universe but I find the movie creepy to watch with its atmosphere and music. Production design and creature effects were very good, in my opinion. I think what makes it less popular is its own ending. I think it's confusing.
***SPOILER ALERT***
I'm not familiar with Silent Hill universe but I find the movie creepy to watch with its atmosphere and music. Production design and creature effects were very good, in my opinion. I think what makes it less popular is its own ending. I think it's confusing.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:57PM on 08/01/2012
I loved everything about the film except for the church scenes. The visuals and score (from the games) were perfect.
I loved everything about the film except for the church scenes. The visuals and score (from the games) were perfect.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:42PM on 08/01/2012
Well if you are still jonesing for more silent hill universal is teaming up with the makers of silent hill to do a halloween horror nights house with a silent hill theme this year. If ever you wanted first hand to encounter silent hill with a more surreal experience you can't do any better than halloween horror nights. Great commentary on the movie by the way. It will be interesting to see how the next silent hill movie is when it hits theaters.
Well if you are still jonesing for more silent hill universal is teaming up with the makers of silent hill to do a halloween horror nights house with a silent hill theme this year. If ever you wanted first hand to encounter silent hill with a more surreal experience you can't do any better than halloween horror nights. Great commentary on the movie by the way. It will be interesting to see how the next silent hill movie is when it hits theaters.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+4
4:17PM on 08/01/2012
I really enjoyed the Silent Hill movie, even as a huge fan of the games. I agree with a lot of this, but I don't necessarily agree with the assessment that the games are about the protagonists tortured soul. Certainly, some games are, but not the first or fourth game. In the first game, Harry was more a bystander of what was happening than anything else. The movie translates the first game decently, I think, although the second half is certainly very sloppy. The first and fourth games were
I really enjoyed the Silent Hill movie, even as a huge fan of the games. I agree with a lot of this, but I don't necessarily agree with the assessment that the games are about the protagonists tortured soul. Certainly, some games are, but not the first or fourth game. In the first game, Harry was more a bystander of what was happening than anything else. The movie translates the first game decently, I think, although the second half is certainly very sloppy. The first and fourth games were always about the protagonists being victims of someone elses power and ability to manifest the horrors within Silent Hill. In fact, the story of the first and third game are almost entirely about the powers of this one tortured girl who, because of that fear, manifests the darkness within Silent Hill. So, in that sense, the movie does a good job. This film is one of my guilty pleasure films. Not a great film, but a fun horror film. I especially loved the atmosphere and the creepy monsters that Gans creates. The babies especially still give me the willies.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+4
5:38PM on 08/01/2012
I own Silent Hill and while I agree that it is by no means a superb film it is a great stand alone horror film in a time where all we get is cheap and crappy caught on camera films. As a person who has also played the games I think they adapted it pretty well compared to some of the first 2 games. I liked the atmosphere and the visuals the film had and Mitchell is never too bad to look at. Pyramid Head was also pretty slick. All in all a good ejoyable flick. Around a 6.5/7-10 for me.
I own Silent Hill and while I agree that it is by no means a superb film it is a great stand alone horror film in a time where all we get is cheap and crappy caught on camera films. As a person who has also played the games I think they adapted it pretty well compared to some of the first 2 games. I liked the atmosphere and the visuals the film had and Mitchell is never too bad to look at. Pyramid Head was also pretty slick. All in all a good ejoyable flick. Around a 6.5/7-10 for me.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:22PM on 08/01/2012
Well Hollywood has yet to get a video game adaptation right in the first place.So i just viewed this as more an actual movie & i find it very good, creepy & scary. Which is pretty much what the game is also & damn that music makes it even more creepy. The film had great visuals & effects & one of the weirdest endings period. I may need to watch it again soon.
Well Hollywood has yet to get a video game adaptation right in the first place.So i just viewed this as more an actual movie & i find it very good, creepy & scary. Which is pretty much what the game is also & damn that music makes it even more creepy. The film had great visuals & effects & one of the weirdest endings period. I may need to watch it again soon.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:12PM on 08/01/2012
I always feel like I'm alone in liking this movie. Glad to see there are others out there.
I always feel like I'm alone in liking this movie. Glad to see there are others out there.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:26PM on 08/01/2012
Don't know if I can say the same for the upcoming sequel though...
Don't know if I can say the same for the upcoming sequel though...
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:21AM on 08/02/2012
I love the fact that directors don't try to adapt a videogame frame for frame. I mean, whats the point? If i already played a videogame, why would i want to see the same exact thing on the big screen? What matters in adapting a videogame into a movie is capturing the heart and soul of the game while creating something different for the audience. What classifies a "good" videogame move VS a bad one is how well they can create something different and yet make it somewhat familiar.
I love the fact that directors don't try to adapt a videogame frame for frame. I mean, whats the point? If i already played a videogame, why would i want to see the same exact thing on the big screen? What matters in adapting a videogame into a movie is capturing the heart and soul of the game while creating something different for the audience. What classifies a "good" videogame move VS a bad one is how well they can create something different and yet make it somewhat familiar.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:30AM on 08/02/2012

I Love This Movie

This is one of my favorite movies. I love that it's a strange mysterious creepy horror flick. I saw it in theaters and have it on dvd. And I agreed, Silent Hill is definitely an unpopular opinion. After reading a lot of comments here on other articles about Silent Hill 2, I noticed a lot of them weren't positive. Only a few actually said they out right liked it. Most were negative or just saying it was a "fun movie." It wasn't until I got on the internet, that I realized so many people disliked
This is one of my favorite movies. I love that it's a strange mysterious creepy horror flick. I saw it in theaters and have it on dvd. And I agreed, Silent Hill is definitely an unpopular opinion. After reading a lot of comments here on other articles about Silent Hill 2, I noticed a lot of them weren't positive. Only a few actually said they out right liked it. Most were negative or just saying it was a "fun movie." It wasn't until I got on the internet, that I realized so many people disliked SH. I don't know, maybe since I did not play the video games, allowed me to enjoy the film without critically comparing it to the games.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:49PM on 08/22/2012

I liked this one...

this movie captured many of the elements of Silent Hill, while straying far from the original plot. It was a fair attempt and was creepy as hell.
this movie captured many of the elements of Silent Hill, while straying far from the original plot. It was a fair attempt and was creepy as hell.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:00AM on 08/01/2013
This movie went above and beyond my expectations. It is the best video game adapted movie I have ever seen. It has cool visual effects and a decent story. I loved what happened when that siren went off.
This movie went above and beyond my expectations. It is the best video game adapted movie I have ever seen. It has cool visual effects and a decent story. I loved what happened when that siren went off.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Movie News Headlines


Top
Loading...
JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!