Having seen Christophe Gans’ Silent Hill (2006) a few more times since its release, I’m no longer much bothered by its somewhat clunky opening (though it still is clunky), but I still dislike its pointless final scene intensely. That said, I definitely believe this is one of the best horror films of the 21st century—certainly, it’s one of the creepiest. It also proves that—despite most evidence to the contrary—that it is indeed possible to make a good film out of a video game. More, it makes it clear that you can make a film out of a video game that requires no familiarity with the game. The premise of the film—a little girl is mysteriously connected and drawn to a supposedly deserted town where a coal fire has been burning beneath the surface for 30 years—is strong, but the execution of the horrors hidden in that town (or, more to the point, the alternate reality of that town) are among the most effective imaginable. The explanation of it all—or parts of it—are pretty obvious, but the things we see are nothing short of nightmarish. It’s a nightmare with the advantage of a sense of solidity, since the film eschews CGI work whenever possible, using it only as a last resort, or in intelligent conjunction with more traditional effects work. If you’ve never seen this modern gem of horror, you should. If you have, you should give it another look.
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