Silent Hill - DVD

Okay, we all probably remember getting scared playing the first episode of this horror game, but like so many before it, Hollywood has once again turned to videogames for inspiration, so does Silent Hill work as a movie? We get ready to hide behind the sofa.

Forget hills, climbing Everest would probably be easier than working out what the story is in this abysmal horror-thriller from “Brotherhood of the Wolf” director Christopher Gans.

Keeping in line with the videogame, ass-kicking cop Cybil (Holden) sums things up pretty well early on when she asks “what the f**k’s going on here?” a question which none of my fellow cinemagoers could answer some 2 hours later. What we can tell you, however, is that Mitchell spends most of the film running around a West Virginian ghost town looking for her 9-year-old daughter (Ferland) while being chased by man-eating cockroaches and midget demons.

Following in the long line of appalling computer game to feature film adaptations such as “Street Fighter”, “Tomb Raider” and “Resident Evil” this is a thoroughly unpleasant, incomprehensible and depressing effort that is about as entertaining as a 2-hour nightmare. When Mitchell first arrives in Silent Hill she says: “Something terrible happened here”. Amen to that.

Things don’t get much better in this anorexic special features package that, other than a meagre photo gallery and the theatrical trailer, has only a 50-minute “Making Of” documentary to offer.

Split into six sections, "Path of Darkness: Making Silent Hill" features interviews with Mitchell, Bean, Unger, and the man responsible for the whole mess - director Christopher Gans.

While most of these feature the usual: “I feel so privileged to have worked on such a wonderful film!” and “When I first started the script I was too scared to read all the way to the end!” garbage, there are some revealing breakdowns of the major CGI action sequences, and creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos explains how some of the most disgusting beasts on display were simply extras dressed up in giant condoms.

There’s also some fairly uninteresting banter about casting, the origins of the script, and how writer Roger Avary attempted to "stay true to the spirit" of the computer game. There is no commentary from Gans, presumably because he was as unhappy with the finished product as the rest of us.

Verdict

When a distributor (in this case Pathe) refuses to let the press see a film before its release it’s usually because they are trying to hide something. Either they want to keep spectacular plot twists (think “Sixth Sense”) quiet or they are worried the critics will slate the film so badly that no-one will risk going to see it. And, sadly, “Silent Hill” falls into the latter category.

Ironically, the story starts with one of the characters jumping off a cliff - the exact same thing we would do if forced to watch this seemingly-eternal garbage again.

Rating: 15
Staring: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Jodelle Ferland
Directed by: Christopher Gans
Extras: 'Making Of' documentary, Photo gallery, Theatrical trailer