Plot: What’s it about?
Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) finds herself pushed to the brink, as her adopted daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) continues to suffer from unexplained episodes. Sharon sleepwalks herself into dangerous situations, the latest of which landed her on the edge of a steep drop. All Rose can understand from these incidents are the words Silent Hill, which Sharon says during the episodes. Silent Hill is a real place, a town void of residents thanks to a horrific coal fire that still burns underground. With no other options and desperate to help her daughter, Rose loads up Sharon and heads to Silent Hill. Her husband Christopher (Sean Bean) advises her against the trip, but she leaves while he isn’t home, so he can’t stop her. When she is close to the desolate town, a police officer tries to stop her, but Rose speeds off and soon, crashes her vehicle. When she awakes, Sharon is gone and she is alone in this unknown, eerie town. Rose quickly begins to search for her daughter, even as unusual and unexplained things happen around her. Is Silent Hill really an abandoned town as everyone thinks and if not, what lurks within the shadows this forsaken area?
I love horror movies and I love horror video games, but sadly, most video game to film adaptations range from awful to mediocre. Silent Hill takes portions of the entire video game franchise of the same name, with hopes to make our flesh crawl. While I had guarded hopes, Silent Hill is an excellent genre movie and one of the better recent chillers. This is not hack by numbers or little ghost child in the attic type stuff either, Silent Hill is all about the atmosphere. The tone is dark and dread seeps from every scene, just a dismal and eerie texture that never lets go of the audience. The pace is on the slow side, but the atmosphere is so rich, you’ll be too on edge to notice the slower sequences. The atmosphere ratchets up the tension at a perfect rate, so the fear builds piece by piece, each more effective than the last. Not to mention the visuals, which are incredible at times and feature some of the creepiest creatures you’ll ever find. Silent Hill also has a great cast, with Radha Mitchell and Sean Bean at the top, both of whom turn in top notch efforts. This is a slick, well directed chiller that succeeds on all fronts, so Silent Hill earns a high recommendation.
Video: How does it look?
Silent Hill is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The film throws out all sorts of visual tricks to enhance the images, but this transfer never slips and delivers a dynamic, top notch presentation. The colors wander the spectrum from lifeless and dull to bold and vibrant, dependent upon the scene at hand, while black levels remain sharp and flawless throughout. I saw no evidence of compression errors either and aside from some slight grain, I have no complaints with this treatment. I know this had to be somewhat of a nightmare to transfer to DVD, but Sony has done some impressive work and fans should be thrilled here.
Audio: How does it sound?
Although the included Dolby Digital 5.1 option doesn’t reach reference status, it comes close and ranks as a damn impressive audio experience. I think a DTS track might have pushed this material to a perfect score, but Columbia chose not to include a DTS option, though we can hope for one with the eventual two disc re-release. The tense and action driven scenes put the speakers through the paces and then some, with creative and highly effective presence, which adds to the eerie, offbeat atmosphere. The more reserved scenes also sound terrific, while the musical score is tight & immersive here, a very memorable audio treatment indeed. This disc also includes English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes six brief featurettes and that’s all, so I think it is safe to assume a two disc edition will come down the pipe at some point.