Konami’s “Silent Hill” series is one of the first horror franchises in gaming history — or any medium, for that matter. “Silent Hill 2,” for example, surpasses many horror films in terms of fright, suspense, and even emotional resonance. So a live-action film adaptation of “Silent Hill” has a lot to achieve. Thankfully, director Christophe Gans and co-writer Robert Avery actually pull it off.
Aesthetically, it looks exactly like the games – from the atmospheric, misty landscapes, to the dingy, run-down locations, to the cruel and horrifying creatures. The creature designs are particularly impressive as they used very little CG to create them, instead opting to use handy makeup effects whenever possible.
The acting is also great. It stars Australian actress Radha Mitchell (“Pitch Black”) as the mother who searches for her child in the haunted town of Silent Hill, and Sean Bean as the equivalent of the game’s Harry Mason (who, in this version, plays Christopher Da Silva is called , and which doesn’t go to Silent Hill either). Even child actress Jodelle Ferland does a great job with a challenging, nuanced role.
Additionally, the changes the film makes to the game’s plot ultimately fit the story they’re telling (e.g. the parent character’s gender change and the normally villainous Delilah more likable), but more importantly, those changes don’t take the essence of the games away at all. The film is still a chilling horror story, and an effective one at that. And, hey, it wasn’t a prequel.