Silent Hill (2006)

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Released 5-Dec-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 120:33
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (88:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Christophe Gans
Studio
Distributor
Pathe Films
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Radha Mitchell
Sean Bean
Laurie Holden
Deborah Kara Unger
Kim Coates
Tanya Allen
Alice Krige
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $39.95 Music Jeff Danna
Akira Yamaoka


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    When Rose and Christopher Da Silva's (Radha Mitchell and Sean Bean) adopted daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) starts regularly sleepwalking and waking up from distressing nightmares screaming "Silent Hill", the pair investigate. They find that a ghost town named Silent Hill exists near the orphanage they had adopted Sharon from as a baby. The town had been abandoned some thirty years earlier when a coal mine below the town had caught fire as the resulting fumes rendered the town uninhabitable. Many residents had perished when the fire first erupted.

    Rose takes Sharon to Silent Hill, against Christopher's wishes, in an effort to discover what is tormenting the girl. En-route she is pursued by a motorcycle-riding police deputy (Laurie Holden) and the pair of vehicles suffer independent accidents when they see a ghostly figure bearing an uncanny resemblance to Sharon crossing the road. When Rose regains consciousness following the accident she finds herself on the outskirts of Silent Hill, but Sharon has gone missing. Rose teams up with her pursuer to find Sharon only for the pair to find that their accidents have taken them to a limbo-like plane of existence inhabited by a wide variety of grotesque creatures and cult-worshipping puritan townsfolk. The pair will have to unravel the secrets of the town in order to save Sharon and themselves.

    Meanwhile, Christopher travels to Silent Hill, albeit in the real world, to investigate the disappearance of his wife and daughter.

    Brotherhood of the Wolf director Christopher Gans spent five years convincing Konami to sell the rights to bring this popular game franchise to the silver screen. Having seen many rival video game franchises brought to ridicule by woeful adaptations, Konami were reluctantly convinced after Gans produced a self-financed demo reel for the film. Given the quality of the finished film, I only wish more video game companies approached film adaptations with such scepticism. This is one of only a handful of video games that has turned into a decent film. Having Pulp Fiction author Roger Avary writing can't have hurt either.

    Silent Hill is a macabre visual masterpiece. The grim sets and grotesque creatures are almost enough on their own to make the film worth a look. Furthermore, the production design captures the spirit of the games perfectly. This visual feast helps make the movie genuinely psychologically scary.

    The dialogue is rather clunky and the acting is a bit of a mixed bag, but the artistic direction, production design and engrossing story do an excellent job of masking these shortfalls. Alas, they cannot hide the awkward nature of the Sean Bean storyline, which seems drawn out for no reason other than to give Bean more screen time, and the slightly overlong runtime.

    The film loosely follows the plot of the first Silent Hill game and has elements of the other games spread throughout. There is certainly enough respect given to satisfy all but the grumbliest of fans of the games.

    Silent Hill may find itself buried among the glut of soulless slashers that have found their way to multiplexes of late, but it deserves greater recognition. Silent Hill is highly recommended to anyone looking be creeped out and have their pants scared off.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in a 1.75:1 aspect ratio, not its original 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The cropping is occasionally noticeable and more than a little disappointing.

    The image is quite sharp and not really affected by grain. The level of shadow detail visible is not all it needs to be for a film with as many dark scenes as Silent Hill - it's not awful, but could look better. The level of brightness appears to have been increased slightly to compensate for the inadequate shadow detail, which appears to have introduced a moderate degree of low-level noise. Aside from appearing a little bright, the deep red and brown filled colour palette comes across well on the disc.

    There are no significant MPEG compression-related artefacts noticeable throughout, nor any film artefacts.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs at 88:24 and was not noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is excellent.

    The film features English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio tracks.

    The dialogue is clear, well synchronised and easy to understand at all times.

    The film makes excellent use of the haunting score used in the Silent Hill games and features additional score material from the same composer, Akira Yamaoka. The score is rather minimalist and features an assortment of rather unconventional industrial sounds as well as traditional instruments such as piano and violin.

    The film makes excellent use of the surround channels. The engrossing audio adds significant atmosphere to the grim visuals. There is excellent use of the LFE channel for delicate effects as well as deep rumbling of the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The disc opens with an annoying anti-piracy trailer that cannot be skipped.

Menu Audio & Animation

    Appropriate, though fairly routine, animated menus.

Path of Darkness - Making Of Featurette (58:36)

    A thoroughly engaging "making of" featurette that covers the background story, cast, set design and construction, and the creature development, choreography and animation. This featurette is incredibly thorough and, surprisingly, manages to pack nearly the entirety of its lengthy running time with worthwhile material. It is actually quite surprising how much of the film was not CGI!

Trailer (2:21)

    A rather generic trailer, presented in a 1.78:1 aspect and not 16x9 enhanced.

TV Interviews With Cast and Crew (4:45)

    A handful of interviews mixed between snippets from the movie. This short featurette does not really add anything more than the "making of" featurette, so little in fact that it probably should have been part of that featurette.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 edition of Silent Hill misses the trailer and brief cast interviews found on the Region 4 edition. It more than makes up for these fairly trivial omissions by presenting the film in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio and providing English subtitles. Sadly, this is another winner for Region 1

Summary

    An engrossing macabre thriller/ghost story. Silent Hill stands as one of the handful of video game adaptations worth watching, and for my money it is the best yet.

    The video has been cropped significantly from its theatrical aspect and has trouble capturing the darker scenes accurately. This makes for a disappointing transfer, though it is far from a complete write-off. The audio transfer is excellent.

    There is a significant swag of extras, the cream of which is a thorough making of featurette that runs for nearly an hour.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
A movie based on a video game worth watching - REPLY POSTED
I blame Avary -