Why the Silent Hill Movie Works | Cut/Scene #4 | NowThis Nerd

Hey everyone, I’m Andrew, and I’m finally back with more Cut/Scene Yay! Our last few episodes have focused on some of the worst videogame movies ever made, but today, I want to touch on one of the better ones: 2006’s ‘Silent Hill

’ Konami’s survival-horror classic made for a better movie than most, and for a while, it actually gave us hope that films based on games could break the curse Sure, it was never going to win any Oscars, but there are a few factors that put ‘Silent Hill’ a cut above the crap Today, I want to talk about Why the ‘Silent Hill’ Movie Works First things first: They Took It Seriously Hollywood still hasn’t figured out videogame movies, but as much as modern attempts like ‘Tomb Raider’ or ‘Assassin’s Creed’ failed to start a revolution, things aren’t nearly as bad as they were in the mid 2000s Did you have a nightmare? After surviving the first wave of awful ‘90s adaptations, we all thought “‘whatever’s next can’t be as bad as ‘Street Fighter,’” Things can't get worse! I was wrong, it got worse but instead of improving, it seems like game movies got even worse

Hey! Cut it out! It's your fault The only series to get any traction was ‘Resident Evil,’ and Hollywood seemed to take the wrong lessons from Paul WS Anderson’s neverending franchise The films that followed tended to be CGI slogs where scantily clad heroines Matrix kicked their way across your beloved childhood games, but ‘Silent Hill’ tried to do something different

It’s a slow, somber film, that tries to emulate the same movies that inspired the games in the first place, from the small-town surrealism of David Lynch, to the trippy terror of ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ ‘Silent Hill’ was directed by Christophe Gans, the man behind ‘Brotherhood of the Wolf,’ with a screenplay by ‘Pulp Fiction’ co-writer Roger Avary Not exactly Scorsese, but hey, this movie came out during the reign of Uwe Boll Basically, my message is screw yourself So I can appreciate people behind the camera who, A

) Have actually made decent movies, and B) Don’t have the utmost contempt for the source material Boll, I'm Vince Desi What the heck did you do to my game 'Postal?' I dunno what your problem is! The movie's great! Both filmmakers were huge fans of ‘Silent Hill’ games, Gans had actually lobbied Konami for five years trying to get the movie made And, once he finally got the greenlight, he wanted to make it work

It's something frightening, something disturbing, something very beautiful It's not just about fear, it's about emotion There's not so many games that make you cry It’s not a perfect transition from console to screen, but the ‘Silent Hill’ movie succeeds because it Respects the Source Material The ‘Silent Hill’ games are steeped in esoteric lore, involving cults, killers, alternate dimensions, and omnipotent dogs in flying saucers There are 8 main games in the franchise, a lot of which barely connect to each other, especially once Konami starting farming the series out to Western developers

The movie uses ‘Silent Hill 1’ as a starting point, and, besides gender swapping the protagonist Harry Mason, it sticks reasonably close to basic plot A girl named Alessa was burned as a witch by a cult, unleashing her psychic powers to split the town into separate supernatural dimensions Rose brings her daughter Sharon to Silent Hill in search of answers, and discovers that her child is the reincarnation of Alessa’s essence Where's my child? She's not your child She's hers

The little girl is what's left of her goodness Again, it’s not 1:1 with the original, but it’s close enough, and the movie more than makes up for the differences with its excellent renditions of Silent Hill’s trademark monsters From the bubble head nurses to the Lying Figures, the movie perfectly captures the inhuman horror of the original designs, with a bare minimum of CGI Every creature in the film was made with practical effects, using camera tricks like running the film backwards, with performances from dancers and contortionists to give them that otherworldly eeriness Most of the monsters come from the legendary ‘Silent Hill 2,’ which actually doesn’t have a ton to do with the first game

For example, the Red Pyramid, or ‘Pyramid Head,’ is a manifestation of James Sunderland’s psyche in 'Silent Hill 2' He’s not connected to Alessa, the cults, or any of the larger Silent Hill mythos, really, but he’s become the series mascot, and the movie just wouldn’t have felt right without the big guy literally ripping someone’s skin off You can even hear the film’s reverence for the series, since aside from one Johnny Cash song, every note in the score comes from Akira Yamaoka’s original music from the games Alessa Now, don’t get me wrong, there are major, major differences between the games and the movie, but that’s part of why the film works: They added Their Own Spin Like Springfield, the true location of Silent Hill is shrouded in mystery, although the games eventually placed it somewhere in Maine For the movie, Gans and Avary moved the fictional town to West Virgina, and based it on the real-life tragedy of Centralia, Pennsylvania In 1962, a fire erupted in the coal mine beneath the town, and with no way of putting it out, it’s predicted to burn for the next 250 years The town was condemned, its ZIP code erased, and today, there’s nothing left but condemned buildings, seven very stubborn residents, and a toxic smoke that seeps from the ground and shrouds the town in a sickly fog

Yes, this is a real place that exists It’s the perfect representation of the misty world of Silent Hill, sandwiched between our reality, and the dark world that lurks just below Serious 'Stranger Things' vibes It might not jibe with the game canon, but it’s a great twist on the concept, and an awesome way to represent the lonesome, desolate fog that, let’s face it, was more a product of the PS1’s crappy draw distance than anything else The most immediately apparent change from the games is the gender of its main character

Originally, Gans and Avary wanted the film to exclusively feature women They never found Harry Mason’s devotion to his daughter convincing, and wanted to focus the movie around the bond between a mother and her child That’s a fairly big component of the Silent Hill lore, and today, it would probably be applauded as a bold, progressive casting choice But in 2006, the studios weren’t quite so receptive, and they forced Gans to cram in extra scenes with Sean Bean and a cop It’s the most obvious reshoot since Kate Mara’s wig in ‘Fantastic Four

’ Bean feels like he’s in a completely different movie, and they didn’t even bother to film a scene where he dies He survives in the sequel, too! Good for him, Sean Bean usually dies in everything he's in Whatever happens, don't ever go there! Honestly, it’s surprising he was even in ‘Silent Hill Revalation’ The sequel tries to stick much closer to the game canon, particularly ‘Silent Hill 3,’ but in doing so, the movie becomes basically incompatible with the film it’s a sequel to It ignores the merger of Sharon and Dark Alessa, changes the cult’s entire belief system, and awkwardly changes the main character’s names to make them Heather and Harry Mason from the games

I was Sharon, then Mary, then Kathy, now Heather You were Christopher and now you're Harry Names don't matter It was a commendable effort, but even Jon Snow couldn’t save this movie, Yes, that's Kit Harington in one of his first roles in America You know what? I'm lost

I can't find math and without the subtlety and atmosphere of the first film, ‘Revelation’ is bogged down by a baffling story, bad acting and even worse CGI It failed to live up to high bar set by its predecessor, and killed any hopes of a ‘Silent Hill’ film franchise Of course, ‘Silent Hill’ fans have a lot more to worry about than the movies, Given what happened with Hideo Kojima’s ‘PT

,’ we may never see a new Silent Hill game again, either But hey, Capcom announced a new Mega Man game after we did our video, so who knows? Simon Belmont is in Smash, after all, so Konami hasn’t completely forgotten their video game past, but even if the series is dead forever, at least we’ll have the ‘Silent Hill’ film as proof that video game movies don’t always have to suck CTA: Thanks for watching everybody, it’s been a while since our last Cut/Scene, and we wanted to go a little more positive for this one, Since we’ve been shitting on a lot of movies We’d love to do more, so I wanna know: What game movies do you think we should cover in the future? Prince of Persia? Double Dragon? Max Payne? Leave a comment, let me know, and please subscribe to NowThis Nerd

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