Yet another video game gets the big screen treatment. This time it's Konami's wildly popular Silent Hill getting the adaptation from Brotherhood of the Wolf director Christophe Gans. History proves that very few of these format swaps work and Silent Hill is definitely no exception. Success of a video game to big screen adaptation can be measured by whether or not someone who hasn't played the game can appreciate the movie? While the film apparently offers enough bones to satisfy the console loyalists, there's not enough meat to excite the non-gamers. To his credit, Gans does create some genuinely skin-crawling moments, but after the film's first half, he slips into a confusing mélange or metaphysical mystery and self-indulgent cinematography. Gans clearly couldn't find a way to cleverly incorporate some of the game's puzzles, riddles, and clues into the movie. The results of his efforts stand out like a sore thumb, making non-gamers feel left out of the party.

The story centers on Rose (Radha Mitchell) who, desperate to find a cure for her daughter Sharon's (Jodelle Ferland) mysterious illness, flees with Sharon to Silent Hill, the name of which her daughter mutters during nightmarish bouts of sleepwalking. Rose finds the local population a little less than willing to help her find the place, but once she arrives, a mysterious hooded figure steps in front of her car causing Rose to crash. When she awakens, Sharon is missing. Rose and a mysteriously inquisitive motorcycle cop (Laurie Holden) begin a search for the missing girl, but only find themselves in one dangerous situation after another. A convoluted backstory involving witch hunters, falling ashes, an abandoned schoolhouse and a dark and eerie hotel, all do nothing to bring the story into better focus. In fact, the further the plot advances, the more muddled the story becomes.

The film's closing scenes are meant to lay out the basics of the plot that unfolded before us. But unfortunately, what unfolded before us stopped making sense the minute Rose arrived in Silent Hill, and no explaining is gonna save the day at this point.

All is not lost however. Gans does a marvelous job with the visualization and animation of some truly frightening creatures and situations including an ogre with a pyramid-shaped head and a knife that makes Crocodile Dundee's look like a toothpick. And unlike in most of today's dime store horror films, Gans successfully creates fear that comes not from a cat lunging at the screen, but from what we feel and sense. He has a unique sense of style and flash that brings interest to an otherwise garbled mess of a screenplay by Roger Avery.

The first 90-minutes of Silent Hill are gripping, suspenseful, and terrifying. We deserve a believable payoff and with one, this could have become a truly remarkable horror/sci-fi flick. But as it is, the last 30-minutes become so abstruse and downright excessive as to ruin the whole barrel of apples.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1.

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; making-of featurettes; previews.

* Featurettes
o Path of Darkness: Making Silent Hill - On-set interviews with the main cast and crew members. Also contains lots of on-set production footage including the film's special effects.
* Trailers - Sony trailer collection including Ghost Rider, Casino Royale, Basic Instinct 2, The Benchwarmers, Underworld: Evolution, Ultraviolet, Hollow Man 2, Population 436, The Woods, The Boondocks, Quinceanera, and The Fog.

Number of discs: - 1- Keepcase Packaging