Harry gets the creeps from SILENT HILL!
Leave it to Roger Avary and Christophe Gans to create a modern Fulci-esque descent into madness and melancholy out of a video game.
What I love about Fulci’s GATES OF HELL and THE BEYOND is that while not the greatest narratives – with their soft focus floaty cam dream look backed with a score that caused cold shivers and surrealistic nihilistic visages of Hell on Earth… or at the very least, the nearest adjacent dimension.
SILENT HILL has always been a variation on this as a game, but here in a narrative – you have Radha Mitchell just needed an Italian accent to complete the updating of that aesthetic. The gore, well… it’s CG – or seems to be, but don’t let that deter you… The overall effect is one of decaying atmosphere and the terror of an upside down world that just never makes sense.
This isn’t a slam bam BOO horror flick. It is one where a siren rings out and signals the rotting of an ashen world. Why does the siren sound? Who is sounding the siren? I don’t know, but I do know you’re about to be scared shitless if you get caught in the wrong locale with it pierces the ominous ashen quiet of Silent Hill.
The visual nature of the world is straight from that remarkable game, as is a lot of the music, which is by Akira Yamaoka, who put together the music for all 4 SILENT HILL games. There are times where merely the tonal keys that Yamaoka hits raise the hairs on your neck and send a tingle down your spine… or at the very least – it sure as hell happened to me.
As for the creatures – PYRAMID HEAD has two fantastic scenes. The “through a door” and the “chapel steps” scenes – and they are the stuff of nightmares. Ripped of color till the Bava-ian splash of blood flutters across the screen. There’s gorgeous bloody opera moments – like the little girl dancing beneath the hema-shower of a sinner shrew.
Taffy-man and his stringy pully icky yuckiness… ewww… His look is just disturbing as… well hell.
The skin-wrapped nurses and their synchronized spasmodic reaching for the light are just erotically fetishistic, but at the same time sickly fucked up.
The Bathroom Contortionistic Cunnilinguist is seven layers of fucked up. First off – he’s on a fucked up bathroom floor. Ew. Then he’s blindfolded and still headed in your direction. Next he’s tied up with barbed wire. OWWWW… Then there’s that black wagging tongue that’s acting like it’s tasting the air for you. He’s devoid of color like this pepper steak that my friend Roland had last week, just grey with spots of black kernels. And the last two, I’ll let you find out for yourself. But EWWWWW!
Then there’s that creepy fucking wicked talented dwarf girl from SCHOOL OF ROCK that’s the cause of all this fucked up nightmare shit. If a little girl wanders away, first thing you should know is… DO NOT GO AFTER THEM! Let them discover the big bad wolf, the wicked witch in the gingerbread house, the huntsman’s knife… Little girls need to stay put – or suffer the horrors of the world. At least in horror films.
I could go on and on about this film, but there’s a whole host of reviews already up from the rest of the AICN crew, but I just feel that this is a film made with passion – that isn’t your standard run of the mill horror. Instead of boos, it’s about creeps. Lurking menace and discomfort. It isn’t about 5 teenagers on vacation getting picked off in the order of disrobing. It isn’t a happy tale. It is dark despair and about forever melancholy and loss. It’s about doors that shut by themselves on a still aired day, and scents that breeze past you when noone is there.
Is it perfect? No – there’s an explanation scene that I despise and would have removed in a heartbeat as it absolutely is not necessary and grinds everything to a screeching halt. But the pick up from there is great.
Do I like it as much as BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF and CRYING FREEMAN? Absolutely – each of Gans’ films have been remarkably different and singularly imaginative and tonally different. Where he goes from here is anybody’s guess. Support the film, it is something different for modern horror and for the realm of video game adaptations!