Joystiq Review: Silent Hill (the movie) [Update 2]

I just got back from checking out Silent Hill, the latest game-to-film adaptation, and I have to say ... it wasn't that great. Sure, it is pretty and has some great audio, but the story and acting are lame. Here is quick and dirty of the film (warning: a few minor spoilers lie ahead):

Best line: "Look at me, I'm burning!"

What Works:

  • The audio: ... and by audio, we mean everything that was not dialogue. The music, while cheesy at parts, really fits the movie well. The sound effects are very creepy, and the filtering is effective when used (although we would have loved for the sound to be more disturbed).

  • Pyramid Head: In what little time he was on screen, Pyramid Head really stole the show.

  • The Setting: As we have seen

  • The previews: Seeing glimpses of The DaVinci Code and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest made us giddy.

What Doesn't Work:

  • The dialogue: Laughable at best. We feel sorry for everyone with a speaking role -- especially Sean Bean (but we will get to that in a second).

  • The introduction: Instead of trying to actually explain the situation (or why we should care), the film begins with a melodramatic scene involving the main actress in scantily clad clothing. We could have used a 10-minute prologue showing what brought about this trip to a haunted town.

  • Too Long: Even without an introduction, the film clocks in at 120 minutes -- we can think of at least 112 minutes that one might have cut out.

  • Needs more Boromir: Seriously, Sean Bean had no point in the movie at all. If they had given him a long sword and the Horn of Gondor, to ride into Silent Hill and behead all demons in heroic vigilance, it just might've saved the film.

See Also:
Silent Hill Film by Centralia, PA
Silent Hill director is a gamer, fo' real
Silent Hill billboard welcomes you to ... Culver City
Cinematical's (more positive) review of Silent Hill

Update 1: mixed up 'epi' and 'pro' -- fix-ed

Update 2: My experience with the Silent Hill series is, admittedly, minimal -- I watched a bunch of friends beat the first game years ago, but have never myself played it. I judged it as a horror movie more than a game-to-film adaptation, so in that regard I thought it was pretty bad. However, the group of people with whom I saw the movie also chipped in to help with this review, and here is what they said (all names have been replaced by slasher-film stereotypes:

  • Military dude who is too eager to kill something: Having been a Resident Evil fan, he thought the movie wasn't that bad. However, he also enjoys Catwoman.

  • Conspiracy theorist: Having played all the Silent Hill titles (prefers the second game overall), thought the movie's dialogue ruined the entire experience. He was happy to see Pyramid Head, though, despite the continuity issues with the game's plot.

  • Damsel in distress: As a big fan of horror films, she thought it was disappointing.

  • Weakling who manages to survive 90 minutes into the film: Horror buff and Silent HIll fan. All he could say was "baaaaaad."