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I first was introduced to the Silent Hill games when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I only seen what friends had shown me of the game, since it was way too terrifying for me to play on my own. I saw the Silent Hill film right when it had come out in 2006, and at the time I thought it was good, but nothing extraordinary. Now looking back a decade ago to that film, I think it is the best film based off of a video game ever released. (I think it is good to bring up here that I am currently working my way through Silent Hill 2 the game right now.)

There have been many attempts to make films that are based off of video games that were hits, but that just didn’t translate to the big screen. You have films like Mortal Kombat 1-3, Tomb Raider, Street Fighter, Adam Sandler’s Pixels, and worst of all the 1993 Super Mario Brothers film. Although the Mortal Kombat movie was pretty great, it’s “bad-good.” The Mortal Kombat film is campy, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I think that is what gets it by after all of this time. But there isn’t anything genuinely valuable or defendable about these movies in my eyes.

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The Silent Hill film isn’t a direct replication of the games. It has some influence from Silent Hill 1-3. Some of the character’s names are changed, and the story is changed as well. Instead of pagan cultists like in Silent Hill 1, the town is run by christian religious witch burning zealots. There are some nods to the video games in the movie tho. When the main character Rose Dasilva approaches the “lying figure” or any other monster in the movie, her cell phone and radio starts to emit white noise, just like in the games. There is also a scene where Rose is staring at a map trying to memorize each turn she has to make in order to make it to Alessa’s room in the hospital. This map scene was especially a nod to gamers because she is verbally saying each turn she has to make, exactly how a gamer would while they are accessing a map to the area and trying to memorize their path. But where this game truly shines in its success in replicating the games is the atmosphere. Christoph Ganes was very successful in replicating the look and feel of the games. The set and costume design are absolutely on point. The rusted hellish look of the buildings perfectly captured the look of the game. The nurses and especially pyramid head were an absolute triumph in terms of how they looked. The scene where Rose has to walk passed the nurses in the hospital on her way to see Alessa is absolutely great. The way the nurses were filmed and then had their movements played backwards definitely captured the unnatural look of how they move. The scene where pyramid head literally rips the skin off of Anna (the religious cult member met by Rose previously) is the most metal thing I’ve ever seen (next to the church scene where Alessa gets her revenge.)

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The truly fascinating thing to me about this film is its very deep philosophical ventures. This movie transcends what most video games movies do in its philosophical efforts, as well as some movies in general. I always find myself compelled by the way “good” and “evil” are portrayed in this film. Religion is supposed to be a safe haven for those who are lost, but not in this world. Religion is a vehicle for evil in this film. You can even say one of the film’s protagonists is the dark half of Alessa, who may be a demon or the devil itself. What happened to the character Alessa in this movie is so bad that an evil power was the only thing that could give her retribution to the people who burned herĀ for being “unpure” for circumstances out of her control. Alessa was born out of wedlock and her mother would not tell the community who the father was. Then after being ridiculed and ostracized for this, Alessa was sexually assaulted by a janitor at her school. Then to make her situation worse, the religious zealots of her town burned her to cleanse her “unpureness.” After being rescued by the police and having received third degree burns from her “cleansing;” Alessa made a deal with the devil (or a demon) to sink the townspeople who harmed her so horribly into a nightmarish hell, so they could share her pain. There is a scene in this film where officer Gucci says the Rose’s husband (Sean Bean) that there are “different forms of justice, Chris. See, you got man’s, God’s and even the devil’s. Certain forms you just can’t control.” This quote really gets to the heart of the film for me. This film is about “the devil’s justice,” and even more than that, this film shows that evil and good aren’t so clean-cut. The world isn’t black and white, it is shades of grey. Some things that are good are capable of evil, and some things that are evil are capable of good as well. These lines can easily be blurred.

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Silent Hill may not be an exact replica of the games, nor should it be. There are certainly some corny things about this movie. Especially the opening scene where Sharon screams “Silent Hill!” That scene is so cheesy to me. But really when it comes down to what matters, that movie delivers the goods. It has horrifyingly scary imagery, it is suspenseful, it has an intense dark atmosphere, and it keeps the original music from the game. But most importantly it has something to say, and that is the thing that keeps that ship floating.

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