Mood and style, check.... everything else... well...

I feel that it’s generally accepted that the 2006 release of Silent Hill, made by French director Christophe Ganz, is considered one of the more successful - at least according to the general masses - video game feature films. While it is well established that bar isn’t exactly set very high to begin with, the film rises to upper ranks of comment simply because of the visuals within and the world it builds. However...

Game Over #13: Silent Hill

Dir: Christophe Ganz

Released: 2006

Box Office: $97,607,453 Worldwide

Still find this poster exceptionally odd even for the film... in fact all of the posters were rubbish.

As I established in the article on the film’s 2012 sequel - Silent Hill Revelation - a few weeks back, the more I thought about it the films based on the game, it became clearer that perhaps Silent Hill isn’t one of the best choices of features to adapt. I feel that this is due to the complexity and combination of factors that makes it a game is so often open to levels of interpretation.

Thus “Silent Hill” as a feature requires a lot of scenes of information, backstory and discussion that the games are able to do in a variety of different ways... however within a film these can only really be shown in much more very specific ways. This makes the chances of a film to have to explain a lot or risk being confusing, what can a very tricky balance that is hard to get right.

In some ways a lack of specific background should make it easier to adapt a game but the more I look at it, with such specific iconography the more Silent Hill seems to work better as a combination of its elements in video game form than it could possibly ever be in any other medium. However making these points comes with the slippery slope of the entire point this idea has of potentially applying to any video game feature film, and the point of why they’re so seemingly hard to get right. So what does this really mean for this movie?

All that scribbling in the book has her tied out.... at least its like the opening CGI in the original game...


I’ve seen this film perhaps more than any other on the list so far, but for this feature this week I feel I need to treat it like I’ve never seen it before. Likewise it’s nature makes me think at least as I write through the film I need to try and look at it from the both perspectives of someone who knows the games and also possibly someone who doesn’t as well. Because I think these all change the outcome on how the film really comes across. Maybe I should be doing that with all of these articles, but I feel particularly strong about Silent Hill’s choices more than any others so far because of the same reasons I’m not sure it’s a good choice for a film.

I think I left my blade here, but I’m not entirely able to see it...

The confusing nature of the film starts off immediately, when the stakes are seemingly low but the back and forth of the narrative will keep a lot of people just asking questions. If you’ve played the games then you immediately come into the “conversation” the movie makes with it’s themes knowing more than the average viewer would, however by the end of the film they probably won’t be that much more enlightened on this. This is a warning for anyone not familiar with the games, you’re just going to be confused for most of the film and then even at the end you’re probably just going to have more questions.


(I’ve had feedback about the film recaps, if you’re not interested in the basic coverage of the film skip the next section - separated by the next three star horizontal rule for my summary).

The opening of the film finds parents panicking and missing their child who seems to have gone sleepwalking. Of course the fact she’s spouting “Home, Home, Silent Hill” when found is a given for some level of mystery - considering the audience who are watching a film called Silent Hill after all. But it’s certainly an odd way to start the film.


Anyway, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland - as opposed to being called Cheryl as she was in the game) is the child who’s gone missing in this case, sleepwalking her way from their house - through some woods, under/across a very busy road, and stopping at the edge of a giant waterfall canyon - highly conveniently allowing her parents, Rose (Radha Mitchell) and Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean) to catch up to her.

The caving trip went horribly wrong when we came across this...

What the movie setups early enough is a visual link to the game series when we see downward into a giant canyon as it changes into an almost endless cascade of metal, which we zoom into and see a creepy looking child doppelganger standing at the bottom of.


This doesn’t do in images how weird this looks...

Of course just before Sharon is about to fall into canyon Rose runs in and tackles her away from the edge, in a bout of movie “right time, right place.” When Chris shortly later arrives (crossing the busy highway in a weird composite shot) their conversation implies this isn’t the first time she’s said or done things like this. One would start to think maybe building a fence around the house would be a good start if this is a frequent occurrence.

Always look on the bright side of life...


Just for added omens, the image cuts wide including a lit up cross in the background - putting some level religious subtlety - or rather lack there of - into the face of the audience just before going to the films title screen. This however isn’t the last connection the film tries to make overly overt, as in the following scene Rose has now taken Sharon, without Chris, on a road trip continues this trend.

Their break stop under a tree has Sharon drawing in her book, while Rose ask-splains to her about the fact they’re going on a trip to Silent Hill, a place that Sharon sleepwalks and talks about a lot. Sharon doesn’t seem to have any memories of doing this, but Rose says this is why they’re going to the place to see why and if she can remember. After both drifting off to sleep under the tree, until a passing truck wakes Rose up, and they head back to the car. Here they walk past a sign quoting part of Corinthians 6:2-3, because there indeed is no subtlety so far in this film.

Too much judgement taking place.


Back with Christopher - trying to call her phone again, upset and unsure of what’s going on. He realizes their laptop is left open, and checks the browser to find a search of Silent Hill is left open, which shows it to be one of the ghost towns of America, located in West Virginia. The pages he looks through show that the town caught fire and that there is still an underground fire in the town to this day. So we now have out background in place on the town at least. I’ll come back to this, because it raises questions about one of the films lasting legacies.

Good thing he didn’t find the websites open were a bunch of porn or something I guess?

Rose and Sharon make their way towards Silent Hill, but stop once again - this time for petrol, and when Sharon’s drawings are found by Rose, and freak out both her and Sharon, who doesn’t remember drawing them. But her reaction grabs the attention of a police officer who also pulled up as something suspect. All the locals seem at odds about the town’s existence when Sharon, and later Chris - when he arrives and has to bribe someone for the info - which has less to do with it’s spooky nature and more the toxic fumes you might inhale from the burning coal underneath.


You know it’s gone wrong for her when she has no legs... I think the tiger ate them.

When Rose tries pay for the gas via card, she finds Chris has blocked them - before he calls her again a few minutes later in a bout of high convenience - which ends up in an argument about Sharon’s condition when he shortly after calls. We learn that Sharon was adopted from West Virginia, which makes the link between her to Silent Hill more clear to everyone.

The cop is still hanging around trying to get info from Sharon, who won’t talk to her, and Rose who basically gives her enough attitude to make herself look more suspect to the cop, who takes down the plates and eventually pulls the car up close to Silent Hill. Rose sees a sign pointing to a turn off, and of course decides it would be brilliant to take off and then attempt to outrun the cop - even though she has no reason other than a not entirely that serious disagreement with Chris over this.


Alpha team is flying around the forest zone located in northwest Raccoon... oops wrong game...

Rose crashes through a gate blocking a bridge before the town, and after being distracted by radio noises, ends up avoiding a girl in the middle of the road, crashing and knocking herself out on the steering wheel - almost all directly lifted from the opening of the original game.

When she awakes, the scene is grey, foggy, and something is lightly falling from the sky. The passenger door is also open and Sharon has vanished. Rose gets out of the car and runs down the road looking for help. No one is around however, and then Rose realizes the stuff lightly falling from the sky and covering the ground is ashes. She passes a sign welcoming her to Silent Hill, and continues to head in towards the town.


To be fair she’s already been there a while... your welcome is a little late.

In the town Rose can barely see far down the foggy streets, the vintage signs still hanging since the town was abandoned and left empty. She ends up chasing a small girl through streets, alleys, and various side roads, before following her down a darkened stairwell walkway. At this point every audience is saying “don’t go down there” because clearly bad things are about to happen. Which is what happens. Sirens go off, the world changes, and Rose is attacked by strange grey child creatures - before they eventually seem to burn up and vanish while Rose passes out on the floor.

It might be hard to see but they capture the feeling of the game so well here...


Rose wakes up to the sound of Johnny Cash singing Ring of Fire playing on an old record jukebox (the song is the only one on the soundtrack not from the games as well) back in the other grey ash world. Returning back to where she was being chased, she finds rather than where the metal fences were, it’s now an open lot in foggy daylight with a few broken wooden fences and nothing else is there instead. At this point I’m not sure if the regular audience would be keeping up with this without knowing the games (if you saw this without playing the games - comment below!).

Rose is in there somewhere...

Rose eventually ends up finding the roads out of town obliterated, runs into a strange ragged looking woman who speaks in riddles and seems to think her missing daughter is also Rose’s missing daughter (not a good sign) before Rose decides the best idea is just to go back to the Jeep she crashed on the edge of town.


Monsters? You serious?

After seeing what Chris is up to at the petrol station from earlier, Rose finds drawing around and in the Jeep pointing her to the the school in the town, and tries to ring Chris to tell him she made a mistake and that she is heading to the school. The car won’t start and to make things more difficult the police officer she left behind has caught up after she also crashed and knocked herself out. Officer Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden) arrests Rose, ignoring her protests over Sharon, and without a car or bike plans to walk them both back to her station the next town over.

Dude creeps me out just in image form...


The back and forth story with Chris continues, where he gets Rose’s message - scrambled but not enough to not hear about the school, and ends up arriving at the gate she smashed through to find police blocking the road. Inspector Gucci (Kim Coates - in his signature ambiguous creepy mode) escorts Chris into the town to look for Rose and Sharon, and gives backstory on the town - but you can tell there is things he’s not telling Chris about in the scenes later that cut back and forth between Rose and them.

Cybil added for scale.

Rose and Cybil come across another massive hole blocking their exit and so turn around back to town, only to run into a creature in the fog which attacks Cybil by spitting at her and allows Rose to escape, albeit still handcuffed. Cybil kills it only to notice more of them, and Rose follows the bus run eventually making her way to the Midwich Elementary School.


Inside she somehow knows to check the office for keys and a torch, avoids some guys in mining gear, complete with masks, before finding out about Alessa Gillespie. At this point we see an old film flashback of Alessa being taunted by girls in the classroom chanting “Burn the witch! Burn the witch!” But it’s unclear as to if somehow Rose is seeing this as some sort of vision because later on she comes across Alessa and is able to tell the difference between her and Sharon even though they almost look identical.

The kids were mean but to be fair they weren’t that far off....

Anyway, Alessa runs off which leads Rose into a bathroom, and after some gross out scenes involving a wired contorted body which holds an object/clue Rose needs, we get the world transition scene - which is the second most iconic thing the film has given.


Again the peeling effect just isn’t in good in photos as it is in video form...

The body is now alive which Rose runs away from, only leading her into more freaky scenes and creatures, including insects and the Pyramid Head - known to game fans, but probably entirely confusing to audiences other than some tall guy with a giant knife and metal head. Thankfully due to the head it seems like he can’t see that well.... Rose is eventually saved by Cybil - and the convenient timing of the world changing back - and the two head to the hotel from the clue Rose got from the body earlier.

Leader of the bugs.


While this was going on Chris, with Gucci, has made it to the school but it’s clear he’s not seeing the same place as Rose and the general audience is probably now hopefully getting the idea there are at least three worlds in play here- at least the film makers think they’re doing this because I’m sure it could still be confusing for some people. Chris ends up being taken back to his car on the bridge and told the police will handle the rest of the search.

He instead takes it into his own hands, knowing Gucci is hiding stuff - and breaks into a nearby archives in Brahms, the nearest town to Silent Hill, and searches files until he comes across a file on a missing girl. This was from when the town burned in 1974, who’s photo bears a striking similar look to his daughter... which he then inquires about with the orphanage nearby.

It’s accurate... no one likes school photo day.


Rose and Cybil make it to the hotel, where a red haired woman called Anna (Tanya Allen) is throwing things and fighting with Dahlia (Deborah Kara Unger), the ragged looking woman Rose saw earlier, which starts to tell us about the others trapped in the town and the “church” they’re part of. They find another drawing left for Rose, and follow it to a hidden hotel room - 111 - which in turn leads them into another building which looks like it’s where the fire started in the 1970's. Rose is distracted by the same running girl and separates, eventually making her way over a giant hole in the floor to the girl - who ends up being Alessa, which as mentioned earlier Rose seems to now know - and then catches on fire before vanishing into nothing.

I think you have something on your arms.

Rose ends up explaining Alessa to Cybil, and Anna already knows the girls name - but before anything can be explained, the “darkness” is arriving again, complete with scared birds and sirens. They all escape to the church grounds. At this point we see Dahlia can exist outside, and tries to convince Cybil and Rose not to go inside - but the rest of the people left in the town seek refuge in the church.


The birds know whats going on before everyone else of course...

Anna continues to throw things at Dahlia, but is grabbed and killed by the Pyramid Head when the world changes, while Cybil and Rose join the members in the church in time to be called witches, but saved - at least for now - thanks to the leader, and Dahlia’s sister, Christabella (Alice Krige).

After some overly long scenes of praying in the church we start to feel like we might have some more gaps in the backstory explained to us, however they might come via the unlikely source of Chris visiting the orphanage and then being arrested by Gucci. But while it seems Gucci might fill those gaps in the story, he ends up basically telling Chris to ship out and still let him deal with the issues of the town. At this point, the audience who have no idea on the games have probably checked out on the film because nothing has been explained in well over an hour of run time.


Even Krieg thinks this woman is so evil she nearly didn’t take the role... that says a lot...

Back at the church Christabella and the rest agree to show Rose the center of the darkness in the town if she wants to try get her daughter back. In the commotion caused earlier, Rose had lost her amulet with Sharon’s photo on the floor, which Christabella collects on the way out while flanked by some of the men suited up in the mining gear. The location they, Rose, and Cybil walk to is an old hospital. Christabella tells Rose to memorize the map of the hospital inside, and to head to room B151.

To be fair this is quite close to the game idea of looking at maps...


Christabella leaves them and plans to depart with her guys once they enter the basement, blatantly telling them she’s not expecting to see them again. Rose memorizes the map (she reads this out loud including rooms like 4A, etc. I’m amazed they avoided sneaking in here descriptions as “...left, left, right, right, 4A, 5B..”. as if it was part of the Konami Code). The men pry open the lift to allow them in, and give Rose a torch.

Christabella tells her the elevator will work if the demon wants her, then tries to return the amulet that Rose dropped... only to have it unfortunately pop open in her hand and see recognize Rose’s girl is the new form for Alessa. She calls them witches and orders and attack. Cybil moves them towards the elevator for Rose to get inside and, blocking and attacking the me, then sends Rose down by herself.

Cybil kills one with a heavy bash to the skull, before pulling her gun out on the other three and Christabella - which turns out to be empty, allowing the men to come in and attack her, beating her repeatedly until she’s on the ground and then even more so. It’s feels fairly brutal and has a lot of impact, I have to give the film makers credit on this.


Next time she’ll bring more ammo....

Rose makes her way down a giant elevator drop arriving in the basement, where she finds a burnt and steaming hallway leading to other parts of the hospital. She uses her memory of the map to move around until she comes to a hallway blocked by nurse creatures holding knives, scalpels, and other bladed weapons. They’re attracted to sound and light, so Rose has to turn off the torch and move as slowly as possible through them creating a unique and interesting tense scene.

The nurses rave at the hospital went down as a success...


One of them lurches out at Rose, who avoids it, but they end up hitting each other instead which sets the whole pack off - slicing at each other. Rose crouches and moves at leg height until she can get out, and leaves the torch behind as a useful distraction to them while she runs off.

It’s so warm....

Bursting into a bright white room, Rose - and the audience - is given a sit down flashback story which explains Alessa and Sharon’s roles and what caused the town of Silent Hill to catch on fire. Needless to say it explains some things about what’s going on, but not everything. Once it finishes Rose is in the burnt out hospital room, with Alessa’s nurse.


There’s something in your eye I think....

Rose is confronted with Alessa, or rather the dark side of Alessa. Alessa herself is still burnt and in the bed. More flashbacks now explaining how the good part of Alessa was bundled off to the orphanage for someone to adopt, and was Sharon who is still here in the town. While they have been trapped in the hellish town, Alessa seeks revenge on those who wronged her directly and she wants Rose to help because she can’t enter the church to attack them - by merging with Rose and allowing her to return to the church.

The we demand satisfaction smile... one step removed from the glove slap...


After all this time we find out that Sharon has just been hiding in an upstairs room above the old drug store on the main street - that Rose has gone past a few times, seemingly placed there by Dahlia. The members of the church have tracked both of them down however and smash into the room she’s in and while Dahlia tries to help - men and Christabella surround them.

We catch up with Christopher who’s now being driven back out of the region (past the religious sign from right at the start of the film) and told to go home, with Gucci reiterating that Cybil is an excellent officer and will likely bring them back.

I don’t think they see the irony of building this thing in front of that painting...


Back at the church the members are making a pyre inside to burn Sharon on, much to Dahlia’s protests. Cybil, still alive although beaten quite severely, is there too - tied to a ladder beside the fire who tries to reassure Sharon that Rose will return. Christabella preaches and sets the pyre on fire, before they lower Cybil on the ladder slowly towards it - using the upward head to burn her as a witch/supporter of Sharon - which they do. It’s really an unsettling scene and demise for such a strong character.

They then tie Sharon to the other ladder on the other side, ready to repeat the process to her. However they are interrupted by the return of Rose who tries to tell them the truth of them being damned/trapped here due to the fire. The members from the Church attack her but she keeps pressing on to confront Christabella, arguing against the crowd until Christabella pulls out a knife and stabs Rose.

The stabbing drops blood and this allows the ground to turn the church into the dark alternate world of Alessa. Rose rises, healed by Alessa, and turns to confront the church members. Alessa herself rises, still in the bed, thanks to a growing almost life like amount of razor wire that she then uses to attack. It’s really not in keeping at all with the rest of the games, and kinda comes from left field. Supposedly they had other plans for the finale but couldn’t do them for budget and shoot reasons. I dunno, it’s a bit odd.


Don’t mess with a woman with a wire levitated bed... it’s a bad idea, I know from experience...

Anyway the church members try to flee but are locked in. The wire lifts Christabella off the ground and slices her into pieces, as the demon child dances in the falling blood. Other members of the church are lifted and killed while Rose goes into get Sharon from the ladder. Dahlia confronts the bed-ridden Alessa, while Rose and Sharon hide in the corner as the demon child version of Alessa comes near, and Sharon passes out.

Peering into your soul.


When they awaken the Church is empty, except for them and Dahlia who is sitting on the steps to the doorway, who doesn’t understand why Alessa spared her. Rose and Sharon return to the car on the edge of town, which starts up immediately this time now that Alessa will let them leave. They drive out of Silent Hill, over the seemingly impassable void, but the fog never vanishes.

Rose calls the house where Chris misses the phone call and Rose leaves a message saying they’re coming back. But Chris can’t talk to her when he picks up the phone and Rose hangs up. They arrive back at home, but the fog is still there and inside the house is empty. We see the other version of the house with Chris inside it, asleep on the couch. They seem to sense each others presence but neither are together. Chris gets up and runs to the door, finding it open... he looks outside but finding no one closes the door... and with a pan to some plants in the rain, this is how the movie ends. Confusing the hell out of almost everyone no doubt.

Close the door, you’re letting all the warm air out.


I’ve already broken rule 6 of my original plan to get one of these up a week by this article. Aside from feedback from several people my choice to go through the films at length after the first week has meant I’ve ended up taking much longer on these than I’d originally planned, with the articles being absurdly long - I’ve paired this back a bit more in the synopsis which I had mostly already finished writing this weeks one when I decided. In future weeks I’ll make them more basic once again to help with the lengths further.

Clearly very bored in class.


But it doesn’t make this section any less detailed to discuss. But this too was part of the issue with this week, Silent Hill inherently is the closest to an actual adaption of a game at this point of my viewing (and I suspect not many others will come close) but as I said in the opening - you have to take that from various angles. And doing so has also slowed my article down this time as I considered the best way to describe this.

Silent Hill is clearly made by people who loved the games so much they thought they’d work at film, and while all attempts are made to transfer that over to the screen - the problem, as I’ve been deducting since watching the sequel - is that while visually and thematically the games may have been successfully moved here, the film just doesn’t allow for the depth at which Silent Hill needs to work as a concept.

The limbo game took a deadly turn when the giant knife came out...


At the end of this film, if you don’t know the games, then you’re going to be confused about a lot of what you just watched and then all you have in the end is a very nice looking but often seemingly “empty” film. So let’s backtrack on the games themselves to explain further.

When Silent Hill launched in early 1999, it was originally looked upon in previews as another in a line of survival horror games, a genre quickly on the rise after the success of Resident Evil in 1996. However what allowed Silent Hill to rise above this (and other issues like graphical limitation) was often what it didn’t show, or setup and didn’t do - unfolding a mystery presented like a lot of it’s western horror novel inspirations. Providing, as far as game went, quite an original title. Made of two parts western horror, one part Japanese - the original game and the first two sequels came from a very specific idea of psychological horror and horror that worked so well.

Or just straight out gore sometimes... that also works.


But the other thing it did was only explain enough of what it needed to, leaving the rest with various clues but open to interpretation. Also the fact it had multiple endings, something films also can’t really do, helped expand the idea and allow gamers to truly question the entire story. For example one ending found the lead, Harry, had actually died in the crash of the Jeep at the start - but was no less plausible an end than the one where he rescued his daughter.

While the first two games were standalone, barring a joke ending, the third game returned to the world of the first in a lot of ways - expanding the lore and concepts, and it was this that really begun to pair back the world into much more explanation. For using the example above, the main character in the third game is the newest incarnation of Alessa that Harry rescued at the end of the first game, now giving us a direct and canon answer that he couldn’t have died, rather a specific ending had happened.

I can only imagine how bad she would smell...


While the Japanese team made one more game quite different than the rest, with only vague nods to the other stories, all other main subsequent Silent Hill titles ended up Western made and either were direct origin stories or directly linked their way into the world of Silent Hill, providing more details at the sacrifice of other mysteries. The explanations were often lackluster - half explained... not vague enough to allow you to draw your own conclusions and feel satisfied, but not well explained enough to be satisfying on their own merits either.

And it’s here I feel the film much in the same way really falls into the same trap.

I do not agree to this wedding... err... execution...


Directly lots of plot beats from the game have indeed been lifted to be placed in this film. The whole mother daughter thing in the film was a father daughter in the original game, but wasn’t an bad change and I can see why thematically, especially with a link between Rose and Dahlia, this is a good choice. The arrival Rose has in the town up until she wakes up in the bowling alley is almost directly the start of the first game as well. The school, also from the games, and the hospital as well. In a lot of ways the various sub-threads in the game as well are quite complex, and some would be needed to be dropped - but there was plenty here without needing to be added to.

But other bits are added to make the film work, and some of them work okay and others are just a mess. For some reason we’ve added in some hints that Alessa was abused by a school janitor, that doesn’t do anything but give reason to have another creature. The Pyramid Head, who was a figure from the second game and had no link to Alessa’s story is now involved - and unfortunately led a trend of the Western led games also copying this inclusion. They also copied the peeling effect from the film - which isn’t the worst thing to duplicate - although this missing the thematic point of why it exists in this film in relationship to fire blistering and peeling Alessa’s skin - duplicating the same error the film makes here by Pyramid Head use. Anyway, in the film there are plenty of others, but they all dilute the films adaption into a messy and often unexplained mess.

There is so much going on in this one image....


In any case it feels like this is certainly a film you’re going to “get” more if you know the games, the first - most certainly, and third as well, which again kinda means it hasn’t been adapted for an audience - and your view on the end result means it’s rather either “translated” to another medium, or really just made for the fans only, limiting its appeal. However then game-fans will be frustrated at a lot of the changes too which leave their own vague outcomes, making it frustrating for them too.

The other main issue is just the pacing and length. It’s a long film as I indicated earlier. Most of the features I’ve looked at so far are 90-odd, maybe 100 minutes or so... Silent Hill clocks in at over 125 minutes (or 132 if you watch the slightly longer cut that is around) and feels like it. There are lengthy scenes of nothing but people doing very little, and the pacing goes up and down often. The deciding to include Sean Bean’s role of Christopher and giving us a counter point certainly benefits the film for clarity but also probably makes a big impact on this. Had these ongoing sections not existed, which was originally the plan, the film may have been even more confusing than it is. But they come with this length burden as well.

The lighter illuminates both the good and the bad....


It’s not all doom and gloom though, the visuals are certainly a standout. All the non darkness world is shot with film, the alternate world with HD video, and all give a really specific look. The production design and art direction is top notch, and the monsters work is exceptional. The CGI is starting to show it’s age, but the general vision the film has is spectacular, video game origins or not - it’s a very well designed film most of the time.

Indeed I’m not trying to say this is a bad film, far from it... it’s got problems but there are certainly many redeeming features. One of the other great things that the film did to tie itself into the world of the games was the sound and music, which worked directly with the excellent soundtracks from the games. They brought Akira Yamaoka’s music from the games released before the film into the films world. It is one of the other things that works to sell this world and, aside from my own familiarity with them, doesn’t seem out of place - working exceptionally well in a place they weren’t originally designed for.

She’s happy about some of the better things in the film... sadly the wire part isn’t one of those but...


I think the one thing that ties the film together though was the stroke of decision making to put the coal fire concept in there. This is something very off the mark in regards to the games, which never had this, but might be the one real bit of genius that ties together things in the game in a way no one would have thought possible.

Taking inspiration from Centralia, PA - a real town which had a coal fire happen underneath it, gives reason for ash - instead of snow - from the skies, the holes in the ground, the fog as steam/fumes, and ties well into the idea that Alessa is burned - which is from the games - causing this as well. Of all the changes the movie does over the games this is one of the better ones, even if the people left in the town hate the connection. The whole thing has become so connected to the idea of the franchise, people think this is part of the games background these days as well so strong an idea it was it’s outgrown the film that originated it.

A Singing in the Rain joke here just seems in bad taste really...


Silent Hill has had a rough number of years since the films release in 2006. Most of the Western made games have released to lowered sales and mixed reviews, the HD collection of the 2nd and 3rd titles was one of the worst remastering efforts ever released to consoles (so bad in fact refunds or replacements were offered), and the glimmer that everyone got of the game heading in a brilliant new direction under the guidance of Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima had the rug pulled out from under it due to massive changes going on at Silent Hill owner/publisher Konami.

Needless to say the reviews of the film weren’t brilliant probably hasn’t helped the whole franchises appeal either. While everyone else agreed the visuals were very decent and the world well defined in that way, the narrative was constantly under attack for being confusing and inconclusive.

The Silent Hill film had so much craft and potential but it’s as I’ve deducted since the sequel, it’s just such a property that only worked it’s best as a video game and not as a feature film.


Mr Bean? Yes, we would like to say congrats on not being killed in this film like usual, we’d like to offer you the sequel...


Adaption? As I was saying..

Silent Hill is both the closest adaption to a game on this list so far and yet it still is mostly a translation only the hard-core are going to appreciate thus also not an adaption. Was it even ever possible however? Well I guess that is up to debate, but you know where I stand.


Positives? Creatively bringing the game world to life.

Just simply being able to take such a visually unique idea and making it work on the big screen is just stunning. It’s important to the idea of adaption, and should be one of the key elements of any adaption from any other medium where possible. Silent Hill knocks it out of the park on so many levels. The use of the games soundtrack also is just icing on that cake.


Lessons learned? Umm....

This is a tough one. Silent Hill faltered by being a tough as to adapt. Is it a question of asking no matter how much you love a franchise, can you adapt it? Maybe. But I’m also convinced seeing how so many of the other elements in this are so good, maybe they still could have made this work by being less confusing, slightly shorter, and well a little more entertaining?


Silent Hill’s feature film wasn’t entirely a mess, but much like the fog that surrounds the town - there isn’t much depth to it other than what your eyes can see directly in front of you, not whats really happening beyond. And perhaps having that missing “level of depth” was just really what this film was lacking.

Next time - The early 90's arcades start to come to life again... get ready with your Hadoken’s. Or not really.... because... well we’ll see.


#14 - Max Payne (2008)
#15 - Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)
#16 - Doom (2005)
#17 - Silent Hill Revelation (2012)
#18 - Mortal Kombat Annihilation (1997)
#19 - Super Mario Bros. (1993)
#20 - House of the Dead (2003)

About ‘Game Over: Failure of the Video Game Feature Film’

A series looking at the top 20 profitable video game feature films to figure out what is lacking and what should be done to make a successful adaption of game to film. There are a set of rules to stick by, so for an introduction on the whole series I’m doing please check out the original post located right here.


About Rob

Movie fanatic, writer and publisher of numerous gaming and movie websites of the past, and former video game guide writer. Started making content in 1997 and ran or assisted with several successful sites, mostly in the realm of Horror and Survival Horror gaming through the early and mid 2000's. Includes sites such as, Streets of Silent Hill,,,, VGN, Gamers Alliance,, and BHXnet/BIOHAZARDextreme among others. Usually under the name Rombie. Still occasionally appears around on old video game and Resident Evil forums and semi-frequently appears on Resident Evil podcast.


All images copyright to respective studio/photography owners. Used under fair use for critical comment on video game feature films only.