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Rose, a desperate mother who takes her adopted daughter, Sharon, to the town of Silent Hill in an attempt to cure her of her ailment. After a violent car crash, Sharon disappears and Rose begins her desperate search to get her back. She descends into a fog of smoldering ash and into the center of the twisted reality of a town's terrible secret. Pursued by grotesquely deformed creatures and a townspeople stuck in permanent purgatory, Rose begins to uncover the truth behind the apocalyptic disaster that burned the town 30 years back. Dare to step inside the horrific town of Silent Hill, where darkness preys on every soul and Hell's creations await around every corner. But know that once you enter...there is no turning back.
For more about Silent Hill and the Silent Hill Blu-ray release, see Silent Hill Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 27, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Jodelle Ferland
Director: Christophe Gans
» See full cast & crew
Silent Hill Blu-ray Review
'Silent Hill' features a noisy soundtrack.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 27, 2009
Video game-themed movies are one of the most sought-after commodities by Hollywood studios, yet the genre remains perhaps the most confused and even vilified of them all. For every hit -- a Resident Evil, for instance -- there seem to be a dozen total flops that neither stay true to source material nor provide even a semblance of a sound foundation, decent acting, or even a moderately strong plot. Even those video games-turned movies that actually work well enough on the silver screen are bolstered generally from comparisons to other, similar films, making it easier to forgive the minuses in the better efforts, though as a general rule even the best of the best of game-based films pale next to the better efforts when analyzed in a broader spectrum and against a more diverse population of same-genre films. Director Christophe Gans' (Brotherhood of the Wolf) Silent Hill falls into precisely that category, the film one of the stronger video game-based outings but a decidedly tepid picture in the greater realm of Hollywood Horror. Incredibly atmospheric, strongly crafted, well acted, and boasting a haunting score, Silent Hill works well to a point, considering the onset of several problems later in the film that even the aforementioned strengths cannot mask.
Rose (Radha Mitchell, Man on Fire) and Christopher (Sean Bean, Flightplan) Da Silva are struggling with an adoptive daughter, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), who suffers from traumatic nightmares revolving around the mysterious West Virginia ghost town of Silent Hill. In an effort to find answers, Rose and Sharon travel to the town where, after an automobile accident, Rose awakens to find her daughter missing somewhere in the ash-laden landscape. Her problems are compounded by the presence of an aggressive police officer named Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden, The Mist) who at first doubts Rose's story but soon allies herself with the frightened mother when the town's grotesque inhabitants and shifting realities place them both in immediate danger. As they fight for survival and search for Sharon, they uncover the town's disturbing past and fight to preserve themselves in the midst of monsters, mayhem, and malicious secrets.
Without question, Silent Hill greatest strength lies in Director Christophe Gans' visual approach to the material and the sometimes unbearably atmospheric and incredibly creepy world that defines his film. The film uses visuals and sound alike to engender in the viewer an incredible sense of uneasiness whereby the movie grabs the attention and, for the first half, anyway, refuses to relent in its broad array of unnerving sights and sounds that make it one of the creepier -- but not necessarily intense -- Horror pictures in recent years. The palpable sense of fear and unease is genuine and not forced; Gans uses perspective, environments, digital effects, and a tremendous cacophony of musical cues and sound effects to generate a splendidly frightening world that seems to become more ominous with every turn. Whether longtime players of the video game or Silent Hill novices, most audiences will appreciate the director's vision and ability to engender an honest and terrifying environment that, for once, uses jump scares and other standby diversions to pitch-perfect effect.
Unfortunately, Silent Hill's atmosphere only saves the movie for so long; the inevitable shift in tone from an emphasis on creepy locales and scary monsters to moving on with the story and unraveling the secrets of the town results in a lackluster second half that's marked by a sluggish pace and a disjointed plot that never recaptures the spellbinding sense of sheer terror that defines the film's better half. Still, Gans never takes the foot off the pedal in terms of his craftsmanship behind the camera; Silent Hill's visual delights remain strongly and intensely realized throughout, and there's never any doubt that the director's sense of visual storytelling is a tremendous benefit to an otherwise decent but ultimately somewhat tedious and tiresome picture. At over two hours in length and for a film of so little substance outside its visuals, Silent Hill meanders on for far too long as an engaging yet unsettling atmosphere gives way to jumbled plot lines and superfluous characters and side stories. Notable among the film's generally meaningless additions and characters is the part of Christopher Da Silva; while he provides the needed juxtaposition to the film's somewhat surprising finale, the character-at-large seems not completely superfluous but certainly force-fed into the plot in a greater role than needed; nevertheless, veteran Sean Bean turns in a decent effort that's about as sound as one could expect of a character that's, by and large, of tertiary importance but given a prominent role in the picture. Generally, the remainder of the case -- Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, and Alice Krige in particular -- turn in solid but not exactly notable efforts.
Silent Hill Blu-ray, Video Quality
Silent Hill arrives on Blu-ray with a messy 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer. While the film's few bright outdoor shots offer fair clarity, sharpness, depth, detail, and color reproduction, the many murkier locales scattered about the film fail to impress. Aside from the image as a whole looking artificially smooth and unnaturally flat, blacks appear pale and dingy rather than unsettling and inky, the latter serving as the transfer's primary flaw considering its generally dark atmosphere. Additionally, distracting blocking seems an ever-present issue throughout, particularly in the film's darker corners. Fine detail, too, fails to impress; there are a few objects -- chipped paint, rusted metal, random debris, and general grime -- that can boast adequate texturing, but such are the exception to the rule. Many of the details in the far reaches of the frame appear smeared and indistinct as well. Flesh tones can look ghastly, but that seems more a result of the film's tone rather than an issue with the transfer. All told, Silent Hill makes for one of the lesser Blu-ray releases on the market from a visual point of view.
Silent Hill Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Sony scares up a most impressive PCM 5.1 uncompressed soundtrack for this Blu-ray release of Silent Hill. Unlike the disappointing video transfer, this soundtrack excels at every turn and never once presents any major causes for concern. First and foremost, this is an incredibly loud soundtrack; listeners with a set reference volume might find it a bit too much at normal levels. That said, it's a full and enjoyable experience, from the most innocent of atmospherics to the more aggressive and gut-wrenching Horror sound effects. The film's opening scenes before the arrival at Silent Hill do feature a smattering of fine sound effects at varying levels of intensity, delivering a mixture of quiet ambience and somewhat more obvious directional effects, but it's not until the action shifts to the ashen town does the track start to spread its wings. Deep and rumbling sounds often penetrate the soundstage to chilling effect; bass is incredibly deep and prodigious throughout, only adding to the visual intensity and horrific images that define the picture. Indeed, there's an entire range of sound effects that come together to enhance the picture's atmosphere; of note is the disquieting presence of an alarm klaxon that blares out its ominous warning with a lifelike fidelity that engenders a true sense of fear with every pronouncement. Additionally, various creatures squirm about and shriek with a spine-tingling high pitch that literally sends shivers through the body. Every sound -- those front-and-center and those others that support the atmosphere throughout -- blends seamlessly, and Silent Hill never feels cramped or phony; instead, there's an unnerving sense of space and realism to the entire track, and along with focused and clear dialogue reproduction, it makes for one of the most aurally impressive Horror soundtracks available.
Silent Hill Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Only 1080p trailers for Basic Instinct 2, Underworld: Evolution, and Resident Evil: Apocalypse are included.
Silent Hill Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
2006's Silent Hill may be one of the better of its kind, but in a broader sense, Christophe Gans' film is rather superficial. By no means a great movie but one that's nevertheless sufficiently creepy and intensely atmospheric, Silent Hill seems ultimately a take-it-or-leave-it type that's a solid genre entry within the strict confines of video-games-turned-movies rather than the greater collective of Horror-at-large that's worth checking out but not particularly memorable for other than its effective visual and aural tone. Likewise, Sony's Blu-ray release is decidedly serviceable but not much more. Featuring a disappointing 1080p video transfer, a strong lossless soundtrack, and nary a trace of film-related bonus content, Silent Hill is worth a rental as a film good for conjuring up a few scares in the after-hours.
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Silent Hill Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Silent Hill: Revelation - October 9, 2012
Lionsgate Films UK have made available three new stills from director Michael J. Bassett's highly anticipated Silent Hill: Revelation (2012). The film stars Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell and Carrie-Anne Moss, and is set to open in theaters across the United Kingdom ...
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