Saturday, 17 November 2012

Silent Hill (2006)

“ God is not here…”

It’s a little odd to be reviewing a film based on a computer game I’ve never played, but there we are. I used to play computer a lot until the early ‘90s, but then my teenage self discovered Nirvana, Metallica, and all sorts of other bands. Immediately the purchases of computer games ceased to make way for CD’s, and that’s how things have remained ever since. I’m not saying I haven’t played any games at all in the last eighteen years or so: I have an on-again-off-again Civilization III habit, and obviously there’s Angry Birds. But I’m essentially not a gamer. So let’s just say I’m aware this film is based on a game, right down to things like camera angles, but leave it at that. I’ll just treat this as a film and ignore its origins.

Oh, and I’m back, incidentally. I’m now settled into a new flat with the very lovely Gem, who is wonderful enough to tolerate my blogging. I won’t be blogging quite as often- I want to spend time with my gorgeous lady, after all- but expect multiple posts a week and we’ll see how it goes. Also, the proportion of films to television is likely to change. Anyway…

This is a very well directed and rather odd film full of weird and cool CGI monsters (I luuurve Pyramid Head! and a positively frightening attempt at an American accent by Sean Bean. But it’s fundamentally about a weird and very American religious cult straight out of seventeenth century Puritan New England, will a bit of Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man thrown in; this often feels half horror flick, half The Crucible. It’s a fascinating peek into how the dark, small town prejudices that lead to the Salem witch trials so pervade the American imagination and seep into popular culture. The true monster in this film is religious conformity and theocracy; there’s a very secular message in which reason is opposed gto superstition and revealed truth.

All that said, though, most of the coolness revolves around the monsters trying to get people in deliciously disgusting ways. The monsters with gas masks, though… possibly influenced by a certain Doctor Who story, methinks! There are also nice plot twists, most obviously the whole changeling thing, but also the uber-cool ending: her husband can’t see her because she’s dead.

Perhaps the CGI could be criticised for being unrealistic, but realism isn’t the be all and end all, and it’s not inappropriate to have a kind of computer graphics feel in the circumstances. Besides, lack of realism means the gore can be pushed further, especially at the end, with the gloriously sick crucifixions and barbed wire tortures.

I rather enjoyed this, which is a good thing as I’ll be watching an awful lot of horrors in the near future, courtesy of the DVD’s from my lovely girlfriend.

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