Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Silent Hill Revelation

Since how I just recently reviewed the first Silent Hill film, I feel that a good way to wrap things up on the Silent Hill front to do the films sequel, Silent Hill Revelation. Currently, I have no plans to write on any of the other games in the series. Simply because, like I stated in my previous post, gaming has started to dwindle out of my entertainment needs, therefore I feel as though they wouldn't be getting a fair and honest review if I do so.

Revelation was released on October 26th 2012, just in time for Halloween. The film was written and directed by British director Michael J. Bassett, and stars Adelaid Clemens, Kit Harington, Carrie-Ann
Moss, and Sean Bean, with minor appearances by Malcolm McDowell and Radha Mitchell. The music was by Jeff Danna, who this time around composed some original pieces in addition to some of Akira Yamaoka's work from the game series.

The plot follows an older Sharon Da Silva, who while still at a young age, was able to be released from the netherworld that she and her mother were trapped in at the end of the first film. We learn that Rose was able to send Sharon through to our reality using a piece of a medallion called the Seal of Metatron. However, since it was only a piece of this medallion, Rose was forced to stay behind in the netherworld, leaving Sharon in the care of solely her father, Chris.

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, we learn that Sharon and Chris have been living under assumed names of Heather and Harry Mason, and been moving from town to town to prevent any remaining cult members from finding them.

However, due to a detective hired to find Sharon, the cult was able to track the both of them down. The cult then abducts Chris with the hopes of Sharon following and entering the town by her own free will.

I'll admit that I am in the minority for enjoying this film. Many people felt this movie was terrible, either from the idea of plot was lacking, or they thought the acting was unbearable. While yes, there were some changes to some plot elements, personally, I didn't mind these changes and I honestly felt that they worked here. And truthfully, I even enjoyed the acting, especially that of Adelaid Clemens.

One change made in the film, which was the most prominent, were motivations of the cult. In my Silent Hill review, I stated that the cult was comprised of nothing more than witch burning puritans who killed Alessa, and then eventually tried killing Sharon, in order to "cleanse" the world of her wickedness. Revelation built on that, stating that cleansing the world of Alessa and her "evilness" through fire would give birth to their God, and bring forth a new world. I felt that this felt a slight more depth than just the typical story of witch burners that everyone grew up learning about in school.

In a lot of ways, I prefer this film over the first. I rather enjoyed the plot, and found it to be a great adaption of the third game in the series. Much like the first film, not once did it ever feel as though it was a persons play through, however there are many elements (and even a few Easter eggs) that appear in this film that would be instantly recognized by a fan of the games. I even liked the slight change in tone over the first, this one having a slight bit more grittiness to it over the original.

I was also happy with the music appearing in this film. I was pleased to hear the new pieces of music fit in perfectly with the film, and to hear them interlaced with the pieces from the game. Jeff Danna did a great job at creating a atmospheric blend of sounds to create an awesome soundtrack.

In closing, this is one that I would suggest to anyone who is into horror. I know that the film was not well received by critics and fans, but honestly it wasn't half bad at all. Like the original film, there is plenty of blood and gore, but here it actually works. This may not be for the Paranormal Activity crowd out there, but the Evil Dead or Hellraiser fans may be more inclined to give this one a go.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A random thought

As I'm sitting here, adding the final touches to my Silent Hill Revelation post, I find myself compelled to write something that is not review related. Not about anything in particular really, other than the fact that I want to write some and not have to worry too much about why I did or didn't like something.

In the past few weeks, I found myself in somewhat of a mental position that may cause a rather slight shift in how I'll be planning on what I'll review in the coming weeks and months. That is, I find myself playing video games far less than before. Before, video games, in addition to my love of music and film, were a typical form of entertainment for me. However, now I find myself shifting away from that due to nothing more than just a general lack of interest in the medium of video games.

Because of this, you will see less reviews on video games (not that I had to any other than my review on the original Silent Hill). Instead of seeing a review on Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, for example, you may get a review (a legitimate one, at that) of Resident Evil Apocalypse.

Another random thought: I am ready for summer to be done with. I have a rather low tolerance for heat, but that may have been said by every other person who, like me, chooses black as their preferred color of head-to-toe clothing. I am not your typical Californian, as in I am not a beach goer and I don't like being fried in the sun. Rather, I am a person who enjoys a cool day, watching the gray clouds absorb the sky, all the while enjoying a good horror or dark thriller novel or film.

I know this sort of post is almost routine for me now. Last October, I had a post praising the end of summer and looking forward to the coming of fall, which I may even do this year, who knows.

Anyways, I plan on having the post on Silent Hill Revelation finished and posted in the next day or two. After that, I may not be doing that many Silent Hill related posts unless I find that a third film is in production or in the very off chance I decide to review the second and third games (but don't hold your breath, sorry guys).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Silent Hill, a Film Review

I will tell you right now, this review has been, for a lack of a better term, cursed for me. Way back when, before I initially deleted the blog (and before realizing how much of a mistake that was), this was the review that I was working on. After reviving the blog, and after writing about the game, I started the review of the movie with intent of creating a small series of blogs focusing on the game-to-big-screen aspects. It obviously never got finished. For some reason, I just find this movie to be very difficult to review. Not that it was bad, quite the opposite in fact, this movie was fantastic.

I'm not quite sure why I found this review hard. It's possible that it was because in many ways, it's very faithful to the game it's based off of. It's also possible that it was because of the changes that were made, as well. I was fine with many of the changes, but I just found it hard to go in depth of those changes without turning it into another game review or even a "Nostalgia Critic Old vs. New" type of review (Oh God, I can't believe I actually referenced that guy, ugh. I won't do that again). I wanted to give the film a legitimate review based off it's own merits.

But now, after months and months, I'm going to just write it and let the review play out however it plays out. I'll be happy to finally get it out, and please go easy on me on this one, I present Silent Hill.

Coming out in 2006 (wow, I hadn't realized that it came out that long ago until I started writing this, and I actually saw it in the theater), this film was directed by Christophe Gans, written by Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avery (and no, I have no intentions of reviewing Pulp Fiction), and starring Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Jodelle Ferland, Kim Coates, Alice Krige and Laurie Holden.

 The story is loosely based off the first game (hence why I chose that game in particular, all those months ago). Being rather faithful to the game, the story doesn't completely rip it off either. You won't think you're watching someones play through, all the while you will recognize many aspects if you played it.

The main difference is the role of the parent.Instead of the father, Harry Mason, looking for his lost daughter Cheryl after passing through the town of Silent Hill; it is the mother, Rose Da Silva (Mitchell) looking for her daughter, Sharon (Ferland), after taking her to Silent Hill after Sharon repeatedly having dreams of the town.

The husband, Chris Da Silva (Bean), still plays a role here. While not the central character of the film, he still plays an important part as he finds that Sharon, whom of which was adopted as a baby, came from mysterious circumstances.

Other than that, and one major plot point, the story is more or less the same as the first game in the series.

The main thing that initially bothered me (but I later learned to accept and liked) is the major plot point they changed. The following, as usual, contains SPOILERS.

In my game review, I stated that seven years prior to the main story, Dahlia Gillespie had a daughter named Alessa, who had the powers of a god. When Alessa refused to help her mother birth the god of the local cult, Sameal, Dahlia tried to have Alessa killed in a house fire that ended up decimating much of the town. While Alessa survived, she was in pain from her wounds, and Dahlia used this to once again try and force the birth of Sameal while keeping her locked away in the basement of the local hospital.

Because of this, Alessa split her self into two forms, a physical form that eventually gets adopted by the main character Harry Mason and named Cheryl, and another stuck in a horrific nightmare type realm that retains the full identity of Alessa.

Well, the fact that Alessa having the powers of a god and splitting herself into two is still intact here, but the reason of her burining is completely different.  In the film, Alessa was killed against her mothers will by witch burning puritans. They thought of Alessa as evil since she had such a gift, and wanted to cleanse the world of what they thought would happen if she lived.

And much like the game, Alessa survives the attempted witch burning, and is kept in the basement of the hospital, left in the care of a nurse in a red sweater (many fans of the game know who this is). The plot then plays out much like the game from there.


In Silent Hill Revelations, however, they actually went in and made some additions to the story in order to make it a little more in line with the plot of the games, without actually destroying the credibility of plot of the first film. But I'll get to how Revelations did this in my review of that film.

I will admit that one thing that I enjoyed was the inclusion of many of the little things in the series. Such things like a police officer appearing on screen who was only mentioned in easily overlooked note in the game, to the inclusion of certain camera angles that were also present in the original Silent Hill (the best example being when Rose walks down an alleyway, and turns a corner, the camera sits in a top corner of the buildings closely following her movements).

Also another interesting thing I found was that the majority of the music is taken directly from the games, with maybe one slight remix and a Johnny Cash song. Instead of being an entirely new soundtrack with a different composer, the music is Akira Yamaoka's moody atmosphere educing sounds from the game and I found myself picking out the individual pieces as the film went on.

 I was even impressed with the acting. For a cast that is made up of mostly non-horror veterans (with the exception of Laurie Holden, who fans of The X-Files might recognize), they make for a great cast. Also, it's kinda interesting to see Kim Coates not being a total slime ball pervert as I've seen him in other roles. I didn't recognize him in this one, and it took a few viewings before I realized it was actually him that played Tig in Sons of Anarchy (he also played a bit of a crazy dude in Resident Evil Afterlife as well, but I think I recognized him right away in there).

All in all, this film was a great adaption and a truly great way to bring the series to the silver screen. I never felt cheated nor did I feel like anything was forced on me here. I know movie adaptions of video games tend to get blasted, but this one deserves a chance. Personally, in the case of Silent Hill, and even the Resident Evil movies, I find myself preferring the films over the games, simply because I always played the games for their atmosphere and stories, and never for the puzzles and challenges they posed.

Silent Hill is one I highly recommend to those who are into atmospheric and psychological type of horror movies. There is plenty of blood, especially towards the end, but I still recommend it to those who don't normally go for the bloody kind.

Side thought: The first Silent Hill game is probably what really got me into liking stuff on the darker side. I find myself enjoying the movies more than the games now, not because they were "bad games" but rather, simply because I'd rather experience their atmosphere with a bowl of popcorn, not with a controller hoping not to die.